When we see the word “chia”, many of us often associate it with chia pets, the clay-shaped animals that had chia sprouts form their unforgettably green fur. While the image of green fur may not stir the appetite, chia seeds are actually delicious and one of the most powerful seeds on the planet!
These seeds come from the plant Salvia hispanica which originated in Central America where it was the staple in the diet of many cultures throughout history. The Aztec, Mayans and Incas supplemented their diets with chia seeds, and according to legend, warriors would use these to help boost their energy for long-distance runs and battles.
In the rugged and diverse terrain on Central and South American one can imagine a warrior did need a nutritional boost whether it was an Aztec running through the Mexican dessert or a Mayan trekking through mountains. Today, we may not need the same warrior strength, but there is no doubt the Omega-3 packed, fiber and protein-rich food can benefit you in MANY ways.
Offering a large nutritional punch in a small size with seemingly endless health benefits, chia seeds are one of the fastest emerging super foods. Their unique properties make them an interesting food to experiment with for cooking, primarily due to the fact they are super-absorbent of any liquid they encounter.
In fact, they are what we call a hydrophilic seed, which means when placed in water (or any liquid for that matter), they will expand up to 27 times their size. That is why chia is the ideal ingredient for the recipe I am going to share with you today.
- Boosts Mineral Reserves
Chia seeds contain a massive amount of minerals in a tiny package. In just one serving of Chia seeds, which is three tablespoons, you get 249 milligrams of calcium (18% of daily value), 4 mg of niacin (20% of your daily value), 92 mg of magnesium (23% of daily value) and 3 mg of iron.
The calcium, as you probably already know, helps maintain the strength and health of bones. Niacin helps the body convert food into energy your body can use. Magnesium helps to rebuild the RNA and DNA of your body boosting energy and revitalizing the body.
Additionally, calcium and magnesium are two of the most powerful acid buffers in the body. Lastly, iron helps energize you by keeping the blood oxygenated and pumped with nutrients.
- Fat (The Good-For-You Kind!)
As some of you may already know, there are fats that HEAL, and fats that KILL! Chia seeds are made with the good-for-you fat, consisting of 50% Omega 3 fatty acid. In fact, chia seeds contain more Omega 3s than salmon, gram for gram! However, it’s super important to keep in mind that the Omega 3s in chia seeds are ALA (Alpha Linolenic Acid), which does not convert that well into the essential fatty acids that we require to be healthy, DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) and EPA (Eicosapenteanioc Acid). ALA needs to be converted into the “active” forms, EPA and DHA, before it can be used by the body, and because the conversions are low, we should seek out additional forms of DHA and EPA to supplement with.
At most, you will convert 5%, but research is now showing us that ALA conversion is actually less than 1%. This is why I highly recommend you supplement with a good fish oil, in addition to the chia. If you are vegan and there are any philosophical reasons for not using fish oil, I respect that and totally get that. In that case, pump up the amount of chia you use daily, in addition to flax seeds, hemp seeds.
You may also want to consider an algae supplement for more DHA, however, there are NO vegetarian sources of EPA, which is the only downfall of a 100% plant-based diet. Remember, EPA is the essential fat that fights inflammation in our body, so we really have to do our best to get the EPA.
Since we need a variety of types of fat for all functions of our body, the diverse fat content of chia seeds provides us with an energetic boost of energy.
- Protein and Fiber
The Chia seed contains the perfect balance of protein and fiber making it a super food that boosts your energy and pumps up your digestion. In one serving you get 7 grams of protein (Chia is 20% protein) and 14 grams of fiber. Chia seeds are one of those foods that when you eat it, you are getting a little something of everything from the nutrition blocks that you need.
- Balances Blood Sugar
Diabetics aren’t the only ones who need to worry about blood sugar, because our blood sugar levels tremendously impact the highs and lows of everyone’s energy throughout the day. Ideally, we want to avoid spikes in blood sugar, because it leads to us feeling drained.
Whenever there is a spike in blood sugar, the body increases the production of insulin, and as a result, we will store fat. Chia seeds help neutralize blood sugar, so as a result, people who eat chia seeds are left with a constant and powerful stream of energy without the added weight gain.
How chia seeds help to stabilize blood sugar levels is through the gelling action of the seeds, resulting in a combination of soluble and insoluble fiber which slows the process of converting starch into sugar. The exterior of the seeds is insoluble fiber while the gel of the seed is soluble fiber. The combination of the two types of fiber means that the starch is more easily digested and converted into energy rather than spiking the blood sugar.
- Alkalizing Effect
If you are on an alkaline diet, the chia seed is a powerful alkalizing food option. This means that the seeds actually help to reduce the acid in the body, which is always off balance thanks to the Standard American Diet.
When the body has a more balanced pH, it has to work less, and there is less stress on the body’s buffer system. This means that you’ll have higher energy and better focus which can leads to weight loss, a healthier lifestyle and greater longevity. Basically, the more alkalized foods we incorporate into our diet, the better we feel and chia seeds are a great food to start out with.
- Fights Off Free Radicals
As a result of modern living, we are constantly subjected to toxins throughout the day by the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink and more. These toxins convert into free radicals that lead to things like cancer, premature aging, disease, inflammation and other debilitating health issues. Since chia seeds are rich with anti-oxidants, they assist the body in fighting the free radicals and repairing damage.
In addition, the antioxidants in the seeds prevent the Omega 3 fats from going rancid.
Due to the high amount of anti-oxidants, chia seeds can last for up two years, stored at room temperature (in a glass jar, with as little oxygen as possible). This is done without a single chemical or preservative.
When you incorporate chia seeds into your diet, the same powerful anti-oxidants that help them preserve throughout time is now part of your diet, so you get the same powerful anti-aging effects.
- Assists in Losing Weight
As the waistline of the world continues to expand, we realize more and more how all the extra weight impacts our long-term health. Not only does the added weight lead to illnesses, diseases and other problems, but it also leaves people feeling sick and tired all of the time.
This is no way to live!
Chia seeds are a natural and affordable way to assist in weight loss by boosting digestion and satiating hunger. Since chia seeds are high in fiber, healthy fats, protein, and are super water-absorbent, they provide the body with all it needs to feel satiated.
Because of the fiber, they also help with constipation. If this is an issue for you, add 2 tbsp. of chia into 6 ounces of water, and let it gel for 10 minutes, then drink. The combination of factors makes chia seeds a super food for weight loss!
- Make Your Bones Stronger
Chia seeds are high in calcium, but they also include other nutrients that are important to the longevity and health of bones. Chia seeds contain protein, phosphorus and magnesium as well as a boat load of calcium. These nutrients help to build strong bones that’ll maintain their health through all phases of life, so it is important to continuously have these mineral in your diet.
The calcium content is particularly impressive in chia, it contains 18% of the daily requirements. For those who are trying to avoid dairy for dietary restrictions, chia seeds can be a great replacement.
VANILLA COCONUT CHIA PUDDING
INGREDIENTS [Serves 4 – If it lasts that long!]
2 cups coconut water
1/2 cup cashews
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 tbsp. unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 medium sized dates
1/8 tsp. sea salt (Celtic grey, Himalayan, Redmond Real Salt)
2 tsp. vanilla (I use Medicine Flower Vanilla, 15 drops)
6 tbsp. chia seeds
Optional: Add additional 5 drops of coconut flavor (Medicine Flower recommended)
Add ¼ cup raw cacao to make ‘Chocolate Chia Pudding’
DIRECTIONS: Blend all ingredients EXCEPT the chia in blender until thoroughly mixed (about 50-60 seconds). Then on lowest variable speed, add in your chia seeds, and blend on low speed for one minute to mix chia. If you don’t have a variable speed blender, mix chia with a spoon.
Add into an airtight container, and refrigerate for at least 5 hours before serving. Garnish with cinnamon powder.
Follow Dr. Daryl Gioffre’s plan like he does himself, with a Recipe Ebook taken from each season of the 7-Day Alkaline Cleanse! BUT…any recipe from any season can be used ALL YEAR LONG! Included are 100+ of the most nutritious, alkaline recipes that are quick and easy to make, and taste so good you’ll feel like you’re cheating!