Editor note: This is the first in an occasional series of blog features that will focus on health and wellness as it relates to cancer care and healthy living.
Those little black crunchy seeds seem to be everywhere, and unlike some dietary fads, there’s good reason. They really pack a nutritional punch!
Chia seeds come from a common garden plant known also as salvia and a member of the mint family. They’re a much more familiar dietary staple in South and Central American countries, but have migrated north as an up-and-coming health food product. Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which carry out a variety of important functions such as lowering triglycerides, reducing inflammation and improving brain function. Chia seeds also aid digestion, they’re gluten- and grain-free for those with sensitivity, and they’re a good source of magnesium, important for a range of bodily functions from DNA synthesis to muscle performance.
One tablespoon has an impressive 5 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein plus 3 grams of that good fat and just 5 carbohydrates.
So, what to do with these tiny, crunchy gems? Just add chia. Sprinkle on your morning oatmeal, mix in a whole fruit smoothie, shake onto a salad or sandwich for lunch. Keep a bag of chia seeds in your purse or car so they’re handy when you’re eating out or on the run.
If you want to expand your options, try these easy, go-to recipes. Do you have your own favorite Chia Seed Recipe? Let us know at email@example.com and we will post it on our blog!
Sprouted Chia for Salads
Add chia seeds to water, drain the water off and leave in a jar for a couple of days. Every 12 hours or so, rinse with water and pour off. In a day or two, you’ll have chia sprouts.
Homemade Energy Gel
To make this healthy version, add a couple tablespoons of chia seeds to a cup of coconut water. Let sit for 10 minutes, and you’re good to go!
2 cups coconut milk or other milk
½ cup chia seeds
2-3 Tbs. cocoa powder (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. or more sweetener of choice (optional—I use a few drops of stevia extract)
Add ingredients to blender and blend until smooth. Will thicken in about 10 minutes in the refrigerator. Flavor variations: Substitute 1 cup strawberries for vanilla and cocoa or add cinnamon and nutmeg for a Chai chia pudding.