Chia Seeds are a powerhouse nutritional food with benefits superior to flax seeds. Chia has a very mild flavor (and no “fishy” taste like other foods high in Omega-3 acids). Chia seed are the highest known whole-food source of Omega-3 acids and are a very good source of fiber, calcium, iron, & manganese. Chia seeds are 30% oil, of which 30% is omega 3 and 40% is omega 6. Chia seeds have a long shelf life (4-5 years). They also have approximately two times the protein concentration and up to ten times the oil concentration of other grains, and are digestible without grinding. Other seeds with harder shells, such as flax seeds, require grinding to make them digestible and have a very short shelf life in the ground form.Chia seeds are raw, low in sodium and cholesterol-free. You can understand why many consider Chia Seeds as nature’s perfect food.
Chia Seeds are mild tasting and easily digestible. The shells are easily broken and can even be swallowed whole.
Chia won’t alter the taste of foods when it’s used as an ingredient. It can be sprinkled on cereal or eaten as a snack. Grinding Chia produces a meal called pinole, which can be mixed with flour into baked goods like biscuits, cakes and breads.
Soaked seeds are gelatinous and used in porridges and puddings. The seeds can be soaked in water or fruit juice creating a drink known in Mexico as chia fresca.
One of the best uses of chia seeds is to convert them into chia gel. To do this you add 1/3 cup of seeds to 2 cups of water, stir well to break up any clumps, and let sit in your refrigerator for about twelve hours. (It will gel in about 15 minutes, but the additional soaking increases the nutritional impact of the gel.)
The difference in nutritional content of white and black chia is insignificant. As a natural product, variations will occur within each growing season for both black and white chia, however the nutritional facts are virtually the same for both chia products. Seasonally, white chia is produced in smaller quantities, resulting in the difference in pricing.
Essential fatty acids are so called because they cannot be synthesized in the body and therefore have to be obtained from foods. Omega-6 and omega-3 are the essential fatty acids for humans and other animals. They are precursors of powerful hormones that affect many biological processes; they help maintain a healthy skin, and are involved in cholesterol metabolism.
Modern diets are very rich in Omega-6, derived primarily from vegetable and animal fats. An imbalance increases the risk of coronary heart disease and also heightens the body’s natural inflammatory processes.
Chia seeds will stay in good condition at room temperature for 4-5 years. There is no need to keep the seed in the fridge, whether kept in sealed bags or not. Natural antioxidants in the seed provides this stability.
Chia has been consumed by humans for thousands of years. It was one of the main foods of the Aztecs and Mayas. The FDA has stated that chia is a food, rather than a supplement, and can be consumed without restrictions.
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