Chia Seeds – Natural Super Brain Food for all Ages
“Chia” is like a brain pill from Limitless, are tiny greyish-brown seeds collected from a plant of the mint family, native to South America. This potent little seed’s origins date back to the time of the Mayans who cultivated and used it extensively to supplement their diet. The word “chia” itself is a Mayan word meaning “strong”. Mayan warriors and hunters would carry a pouch full of seeds when they were away from home to sustain and nourish themselves when food was scarce (ref 1)
How to use Chia seeds
Chia seeds are a natural plant-based food source and can be eaten raw or prepared in a variety of ways. Compared by weight, chia seeds contain eight times more Omega 3 and Omega 6 than salmon; six times the amount of Calcium contained in milk, is rich in Iron – 3 times the amount found in spinach and has unmatched levels of anti-oxidants when compared to goji berries and blueberries.(ref2)
- eat them on their own – chew just a little bit at a time, with a large glass of water
- sprinkle on salads – for extra nourishment. Just great for fussy kids/adults
- sprinkle on cereal for a big brain power boost in the morning
- sprinkle a quarter teaspoon in a milkshake or fruit juice for a fuller feeling
How Chia seeds can assist in weight-loss
Chia seeds are high energy but are very low in fat and make an ideal addition to your diet if you are weight conscious. Chia seeds are packed dry but become very gelatinous when in contact with moisture. Their ability to soak up liquid is phenomenal and the gel can act as a hunger inhibitor when added to food as it is naturally high in fibre. You feel fuller for longer as it burns energy slowly and evenly. Use liberally as part of a healthy eating regime.(Ref3)
Chia seeds are great for those allergic to eggs or wheat/gluten
The gel is a natural thickener and makes a perfect egg-substitute in cakes, jellies and sauces – great for anyone with an egg allergy. They are also fantastic for diabetics as they have a very low glycemic index and assist in stabilising sugars in the body.
How to make chia gel
The basic ratio of seeds to water is 1:9. You will need:
- a large bowl or jug
- 1 part chia seeds and 9 parts cold water eg: 1 tsp of chia and 9 tsp of water/juice
Stir the mix often to avoid clumping and allow the seeds 30 minutes to absorb the liquid. The gel can be refrigerated for later use and it will firm up a little more when cold.
How to cook with chia gel
Chia gel has very little flavour and is great to add to cooking without compromising on the flavour of the overall dish. It is ideal for sweet or savoury dishes. Here are just a few suggestions:
- Scoop and add 1 heaped tablespoon to replace each egg required in cake recipes eg: 2 eggs = 2 heaped tablespoons of chia gel.
- Soak seeds in cranberry juice or pomegranate juice for a refreshing and healthy jelly dessert anytime. Make sure to stir it often until seeds are puffed to their maximum. Then chill.
- Mix chia gel with freshly stewed apple for a delicious apple sauce with roast pork.
- Make your own mint sauce for your lamb roast by mixing chia gel with freshly crushed mint, garlic and salt.
- Thicken sauces and soups the natural way, without gluten or artificial thickeners
Where to buy chia seeds
Chia seeds are now widely available from the health food/Naytura section of your supermarket, or your local health food outlets. You can also order chia seeds online at various online health food stores.
Supplementing our diet with powerfoods such as Chia seeds will help our bodies maintain good mental and physical health long into the future. Get your dose of goodness today!