Why Chia is my favourite super food.
January 24, 2010 § 2 Comments
My mum introduced me to these little seeds about a year ago, but i’ve only recently started including them in my diet everyday, and i’m so thankful that I took her advice. I’ve now realised that these babies are one of the most amazing things going round, and i have a feeling they are going to explode in popularity once people catch on. So here’s the low down:
Chia seeds come from a plant that originated in Mexico, was cultivated by the Aztec’s and so revered that it was often used as currency. The great thing about them from a production point of view, is that they are resiliant, resistant to pests and require little water to be grown – thus making them a very sustainable option for farming in Australia.
They are the highest known plant source of Omega-3 (with 8 times more than Salmon!) and for me, have replaced fish oil completely. This is great for a couple of reasons; obviously because i’m a vego now, but also because fish oil can actually go off quite quickly (something that i never realised) and consuming the ‘rancid’ capsules can be nasty for your body. Not to mention if you’re anything like me, i used to settle for the el cheapo fish oil thinking that they were all the same – however the lower-end stuff can be of questionable quality and not filtered properly for things like pollutants and chemicals. Bad news!
Chia is also a better alternative to flax in my opinion. Again, flaxseed oil like fish oil does not contain stable fats like those found in Chia. Rather it is more saturated, and therefore prone to rancidity.
My biggest concern though is the phytoestrogens found in flaxseed oil – i learnt about these when i was using soy milk last year and suddenly started putting on weight. There is a lot of conjecture over soy products and their merits/flaws, but for me, i feel that these phytoestrogens have a negative effect on the body (for some people – especially those predisposed to thyroid issues), can send your hormones haywire and perhaps cause side effects like the weight gain i experienced. This being said, i know that flaxseed oil works wonders for many people, and i still sometimes eat flax myself in moderation.
Apart from the intense amount of Omega-3, Chia is also a source of Potassium, Phosphorus, Folate, Zinc, Fibre, Vitamins A, B12 & C, and a source of 18 amino acids. It is a complete protein and has 5 times more calcium than milk, 6 times more fibre than oats, 3 times more iron than spinach and 15 times more magnesium than broccoli. Like, woah.
I need to mention though that i used to sprinkle mine on my porridge dry, however my mum has been nag nag nagging me for ages to soak them beforehand. I, of course, did it my own way, however yesterday my friend was speaking to a naturopath who said yes, it is important to soak them prior to consumption because it means our bodies can absorb all those wonderful minerals, rather than the seeds just passing through. So mum, as always, you knew best!
So get down to your health food store, and purchase a packet. They’re inexpensive, easy to use in recipes, don’t have an offensive taste (actually, none at all really) and will do wonders for your energy levels, skin, hair, and insides! I’m in love.