Saturday, January 8, 2011

Chia Seeds

The other day I wrote about flax, but chia seeds, which are native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala, are perhaps even more beneficial.  They are little black seeds without any strong taste to speak of.  They look a little like mustard seeds, and have a longer shelf life than flax.

The omega 3:omega 6 fatty acid ratio in chia is about 3.  This is even better than that of flax, which comes in at about 3.8, which admittedly, is also impressive.  That makes both excellent choices when looking for foods with anti-inflammatory properties. 

Flax

Chia
(If you were wondering about how much that is, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds weighs 12 grams, which is 0.4 oz.)

Both are rich in fibre, and very low in net carbohydrates, but chia seems to have an edge on flax when it comes to the full nutrient picture as it is a rich source of calcium, phosphorous and manganese.  Flax, on the other hand, is a decent source of iron.  It is also somewhat cheaper than chia.

For a more comprehensive look at what both of these seeds can do for you, take a look at www.nutritiondata.com.

Some people like to mix their chia seeds with water to form a gel-like substance which they then mix with their food.

Another method is to simply sprinkle a tablespoonful of seeds over your food, which bulks it up as you digest it, creating a sensation of fullness.

You can also make a delicious 'porridge' using a spoonful of chia, a spoonful of ground flax seeds, some ground walnuts, mixed with a little water or almond milk, and a grated apple or pear.

If you've been buying chia seeds, how do you prefer to eat them?

2 comments:

  1. Have you seen a product called Mamma Chia? It's a sweetened beverage made with chia seeds and fruit juice. Not a health food; I have it only rarely due to the sugar (agave, with its high fructose profile). It's tasty...and the texture of the chia seeds suspended in the fluid is strangely irresistible (or, conversely, it's awful, depending on your tolerance for tapioca-type drinks).

    Your breakfast chia porridge sounds far healthier. :)

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  2. No, I don't know it! Though I stay away from sweetened products myself. Since switching to this way of eating, I have found myself visiting the grocery stores a lot less often than I used to.

    I have always loved squishy foods like tapioca pudding and porridge, as well as that weird chia suspension. This past summer we did a lot of traveling. I brought a bag of chia seeds along, and often had a glass of soy milk with a heaping spoon of chia for a nice filling breakfast. If you stir in the seeds and leave them to stand for a couple of minutes, they soon become gelatinous.

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