When I saw a friend drinking tumblers after tumblers of plain water with tiny seeds floating in the water, I asked her what it was. It reminded me of the ‘tadpoles’ drink that my school tuckshop used to sell over 30 years ago. We used to call the rose syrup drink tadpoles drink as the seeds indeed looked like tiny tadpoles! My friend then told me that the seeds were Chia seeds and they are a super food. Chia seeds can be bought from organic shops and they are not very costly. Today I Google searched Chia seeds and the findings I got on it are pretty impressive. The next time I go to the organic shop, I will definitely get 2 packets of Chia seeds – 1 for our household and another for my parents.
Chia seeds come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family. Salvia hispanica seed is often sold under its common name “chia” as well as several trademarked names. Its origin is believed to be in Central America where the seed was a staple in the ancient Aztec diet. The seeds of a related plant, Salvia columbariae (golden chia), were used primarily by Native Americans in the southwestern United States.
Chia seeds have recently gained attention as an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acid. They are also an excellent source of fiber at 10 grams per ounce (about 2 tablespoons), and contain protein and minerals including as iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc.
Emerging research suggests that including chia seeds as part of a healthy diet may help improve cardiovascular risk factors such as lowering cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. However, there are not many published studies on the health benefits of consuming chia seeds and much of the available information is based on animal studies or human studies with a small number of research participants.
This fiber content also helps normalize blood glucose levels by slowing the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar.
Chia seeds contain respectable concentrations of potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and manganese.
Chia seeds are extremely nutrient-dense, with one of the highest antioxidant concentrations of any known food!
How to Eat Chia Seeds
Chia seeds can be eaten raw or prepared in a number of dishes. Sprinkle ground or whole chia seeds on cereal, rice, yogurt or vegetables. In Mexico, a dish called chia fresco is made by soaking chia seeds in fruit juice or water. Chia seeds are very absorbent and develop a gelatinous texture when soaked in water making it easy to mix them into cooked cereal or other dishes.
The seeds are not the only important part of the chia plant; the sprouts are also edible. Try adding them to salads, sandwiches and other dishes.