The chia seed (also known as Salvia hispanica, chia pet seed, chia sage, California chia, and California sage) is highly nutritious and has been used for hundreds of years as a herbal remedy. Because they are energizing, chia seeds were once referred to as “Indian Running Food” and the Aztec and Apache warriors would bring the seeds with them while on conquests. Not only were they used to give strength, the Indians would make a poultice from the seeds to treat injuries, including gunshot wounds.
One ounce of chia seeds have 137 calories and although 72 calories are from fat, only 4% are saturated fats. They are high in omega 3 fatty acids (4915 mg) and omega 6 fatty acids (1620 mg) and contain no cholesterol. Chia seeds provide 9% of the daily value of protein (4 grams) and 42% of dietary fiber (11 grams). They are also a very good source of manganese, phosphorus, and calcium.
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
Because chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, they can help promote weight loss, maintain healthy bowel habits, control blood glucose levels, and flush cholesterol from the intestines.
Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are essential fats, meaning our bodies do not produce them, and the benefits are numerous. A healthy balance between the two can help prevent many medical conditions, including heart disease.
The protein in chia seeds are easily digested and absorbed in the body. Protein is necessary to build and repair tissues, including muscle, bone, cartilage, skin, hair, and nails.
How to Prepare Chia Seeds
A common way to consume chia seeds is to make it into a gel. Place 1/3 cup of chia seeds into a container and add 2 cups of water. Whisk the mixture briskly, let it sit for 5-10 minutes, and whisk again. Seal the container and place in the refrigerator (where it will last up to 3 weeks). 3 tablespoons 3 times a day is the recommended dosage for chia seeds. You can incorporate the gel into foods, such as jams, yogurt, and smoothies.
You can also get the health benefits of chia seeds from grounding them into a powder and using them in baking or cooking. The recommended dosage for raw chia seeds is 1-4 tablespoons a day.
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