Finally! I'm dedicating an entire post to this gluten-free, ancient grain that I use several times per week. Yes, this is the same chia as the "chia-pet" from the 80's. If you were a kid/teen of that ancient time, then you know what I'm talking about (wink).
Chia will make any meal more joyous, in other words, "healthier". It's also one of those foods you barely notice, making it ideal to sneak into your child's food, AH-HA. Or better yet, educate them on why you've added it to their morning cereal or sprinkled it on their dinner (I like that idea even better).
Health Benefits of Chia
1. Balances and stabilizes your blood sugar
Chia slows the effect at which glucose enters the bloodstream, making it ideal for diabetics and those wanting to prevent diabetes. Do you have wild kids and find it hard to calm them down? Along with a balanced diet, managing blood sugar is CRITICAL to good behaviour, attention span and your child's mood.
2. Improves insulin sensitivity and lower insulin
This means it will indirectly help with belly fat as fat in this area is associated with excess insulin (and cortisol).
For all you "BranBud/ALLBRAN-lovers" out there, guess who's got more fibre than wheat bran that won't bloat your belly and is GLUTEN-FREE? You guessed it, chia. Bye-bye bran, hello chia. Bran cereals are highly refined, despite their brown colour and are missing many of the essential nutrients and all their good fat - thanks to manufacturing. GO CHIA.
4. Good fat and high omega-3
In fact, the highest omega 3 content in nature - AMAZING HUH? This makes me wanna sing chi-chi-chia everytime I eat it for this very reason. Chia seeds are one of the greatest plant sources of a fatty acid called alpha-linoleic acid (ALA).
5. Contains high amounts of tryptophan
This amino acid is the precursor of serotonin (happy hormone) and melatonin (sleep/anti-cancer hormone). Real food and is a beautiful thing!
6. Lowers cholesterol, blood pressure and high blood sugar after meals
All three problems are considered "Metabolic Syndrome". If you have metabolic syndrome, then you really need to get some chia into your life and a holistic nutritionist like me to guide you towards Joyous Health (gentle nudge). :)
7. You don't have to grind them like you have to do with flax seed (my fave reason!)
Yes, LESS work! Why? Your stomach acids break down the seed very easily, (unlike flaxseeds). If you don't grind flaxseeds to release the healthy fats then they pass right through you and down la toilette.
8. Nutrients galore!
This wee powerhouse of a grain is source of calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, phosphorous, folic acid important for cardiovascular, bone health, stress reduction, baby-making and more.
You don't need to go to a voo-doo black magic store to buy this wondrous grain because it's in most supermarkets now - in the health food section of course. And by the way, the brand SALBA is outrageously overpriced at nearly $26 bucks for a wee bag. Unless Salba can convince me why their chia is the best, I'm suggesting that you buy a no-namer brand and save yourself some bucks!
Here are some ideas for adding this joyous grain to your life: