CHIA are the edible seeds that come from the desert plant ‘Salvia hispanica’, which is grown in Mexico and dates back to Mayan and Aztec cultures.
‘Chia’ literally means ‘strength’ and folklore has it that these cultures used the tiny black and white seeds to boost energy. Chia is the richest plant-based source of omega 3s, dietary fibre, protein and antioxidants. In fact, chia is comparable in protein to soy. Chia seeds slow the conversion of carbs’ to sugar, making them great for weight loss and increased energy. Add 1 tsp to your smoothie.
Chia seeds will keep for 2 – 4 years without refrigeration, and more than 4 years if refrigerated. They like a cool, dry location so in humid climates it’s best to keep them in the fridge. Chia won’t go rancid as quickly as flaxseeds do. Even if you grind them into a ‘meal’, they still keep their long shelf life of about 1 – 2 years, unlike flax meal, which goes rancid in less than 90 days.
Bugs don’t really like these plant oils so usually there’s no need to spray them with toxic chemicals so they are naturally organic.
White or Black Chia Seeds? The white ones have slightly more omega 3 oils and the dark ones have slightly more protein. The black seeds have more antioxidants thereby protecting the fatty acids. Buy them mixed!
Chia seeds are one of the seeds that your body can break down without grinding them. Once you add water to them they will go gooey, but this mucilaginous consistency is one if its great virtues. If you don’t like this texture, then have them on their own. Just be sure to drink plenty of water afterwards, as they absorb about nine times their weight in water.
If you have diverticulitis or other bowel problems, start with 10 g (2 tsp) a day until your bowel is used to this much fibre. If you like, you can slowly increase the amount to 30g. They are available as bran, ground seeds and oil – look in your health food store, supermarket and some pharmacies.
You can make a gel by mixing 1 part chia to 10 parts water. This is easier on some people’s tummies, but will only last a few days in the fridge like this.