Over the past year, I got into making green smoothies. I have used organic hemp seeds, flax and chia seeds. While doing some research, here are a few things that I learned about this wonderful seed.
Salvia hispanica – is commonly known as chia. Did you know it’s actually part of the mind family? Yup, it’s true. The plant itself has its origins in Guatemala and Southern Mexico. As a matter of interest, this plant dates back to the Aztec’s in pre-Columbia period.
They are a very versatile seed that has many uses and contain a lot of nutrients. Besides, they taste great.
- Something that I didn’t realize is chia seeds are gluten free
- High in dietary fiber, which we all know is good for our digestion
- Contains around 20% protein which we all need everyday
- Has 20% of the omega 3 ALA – in fact one of the richest sources of omega 3’s is chai seeds. This makes it great for our cardiovascular system and our brains. Did you know it has more Omega 3 than salmon?
- Chai contains all of the 8 essential amino acids which makes it a complete protein source
- Contains more calcium than milk. Then again many products contain more calcium than milk anyways.
- Its high in antioxidants
- Cholesterol free
- Contains up to 7 more times Vitamin C than oranges
- Has more potassium than a banana
The chai seeds themselves come in black and white. Both are about the same in terms of nutritional value, with the black seeds having a bit more antioxidants.
If you are concerned about your cholesterol, this is a great alternative because as I mentioned above, its actually cholesterol free. One other benefit, this crop is sustainable and environmentally friendly. With fish stocks around the world depleting, this is another alternative for those wanting to ensure you get enough omega 3. Of course, you can get your omega 3’s from flax and hemp seeds too. I actually use all 3 in my diet.
How much should you consume daily?
Since it’s a food, you don’t have to worry so much if you happen to eat a bit extra in one day. The recommended amount from the research I’ve read, suggests between 1 – 2 tablespoons is adequate. Again, this is only one source to give you omega 3’s, protein and dietary fiber.
How do you eat Chai seeds?
Typically, I will add 1 or 2 tablespoons in my smoothie first thing in the morning with my protein shakes. As well, you can add it to yogurt, breakfast cereals and salads are just a few examples. Many people will use them in baked items like muffins.
I also put some in my green smoothies or a combination of 2 or 3 other seeds like flax and hemp seeds. You really need to experiment yourself to see how you like to consume them.
How should you store them?
Since the seed has natural antioxidants, there is no need to worry about keeping them in the fridge. In fact, you can keep them in a sealed bag for several years. Although, I personally prefer to buy them in smaller batches and consume them in say a month or 2 max for ultimate freshness.