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the same seeds that create

the clay and pottery pets are

good for us! You may have

seen chia sprouts growing on the

novelty planters called Chia Pets, but

we need to rethink the value of this

humble quiet powerhouse, because

the seeds are the most important part

of the plant.

Chia Seeds are a powerful nutritional

food with benefits superior

to flax seeds. Chia has a very mild

flavor (and no “fishy” taste like other

foods high in Omega-3 acids). They

are extremely rich in Omega-3 acids

and are a very good source of fiber

and manganese. Chia seeds are low

in sodium and cholesterol-free.

Chia Seeds have the highest


Eat 'em, don't plant 'em!

medicinally to stimulate saliva flow and

to relieve joint pain and sore skin.

What’s in Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds typically contain about

20 percent protein, 30 percent fat and 40

percent carbohydrates. The fat contains a

very high concentration of Omega-3 fatty

acids—even more than the more popular

flax seeds which we have all heard and

read about. And it has another unique

known whole-food source of Omega-3

acids. These acids promote cardiovascular

and mental health and benefit many

body functions.

Chia is an edible seed that comes

from the desert plant Salvia hispanica,

a member of the mint family that grows

abundantly in southern Mexico. In

pre-Columbian times they were a main

component of the Aztec and Mayan diets

and were the basic survival ration of

Aztec warriors. The Aztecs also used chia

advantage over flax: chia is so rich

in antioxidants that the seeds don’t

deteriorate and can be stored for long

periods without becoming rancid.

And, unlike flax, they do not have

to be ground to make their nutrients

available to the body. Chia seeds also

provide fiber (25 grams give you 6.9

grams of fiber) as well as calcium,

phosphorus, magnesium, manganese,

copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin,

and zinc.

Another advantage: when added

to water and allowed to sit for 30

minutes, chia forms a gel. Researchers

suggest that this reaction also takes

place in the stomach, slowing the

process by which digestive enzymes

break down carbohydrates and convert

them into sugar.

How are Chia Seeds used?

Chia Seeds are mild tasting and easily

digestible. The shells are easily broken

and can even be swallowed whole.

Chia won’t alter the taste of foods

when it’s used as an ingredient. It can be

sprinkled on cereal or eaten as a snack.

Grinding Chia produces a meal called

pinole, which can be mixed with flour

into baked goods like biscuits, cakesand breads.

Soaked seeds are gelatinous and used

in porridges and puddings. The seeds can

be soaked in water or fruit juice creating

a drink known in Mexico as chia fresca.

They are an excellent addition to fruit


The fastest and easiest way to take

chia seed is to add one tablespoon chia

seed into an eight-ounce glass of water

or juice, stir to break up any lumps, let

sit about five minutes, stir again, and

then drink. You can also use it to make

a versatile gel, which can be added to

jams, jellies, peanut butter, milkshakes,

nut spreads, smoothies, hot or cold cereals,

yogurts, mustard, catsup, tartar sauce,

barbecue sauces, etc. as a fat replacer, for

energy and endurance, or for added great

taste. Here’s how to make the gel, which

has a slightly nutty flavor:

Put nine parts water in a sealable

plastic container. Slowly pour one part

seed into the water, then mix with a wire

whisk or fork. This process will avoid any

clumping of the seed. Wait a few minutes

and stir again to break up any clumps, let

stand ten minutes, and stir again. Store

up to two weeks in the refrigerator. Add

the gel, between 50 to 70 percent by

volume, to any of the above-mentioned

foods, mix well, and taste. You will notice

a very smooth texture, with the integrity

of the flavor intact, but you have added

50 to 70 percent more volume to your

food and have displaced calories and

fat by incorporating an ingredient that is

ninety percent water!

What are the benefits of Chia Seeds?

• High In Omega-3 Acids.

• Higher levels of alpha-linolenic acid

(ALA) than flax seed. ALA is an essential

acid because it is not produced by the

body. In fact, chia seeds have the highest

known whole-food source levels of

Omega-3 acids, as measured by percent

of weight.

• Rich In Antioxidants. Chia is a great

natural source of antioxidants, including

chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, myricetin,

quercetin and flavonols.

• Full of Important Nutrients. Chia is an

excellent source of calcium, phosphorus,

manganese, potassium, iron, zinc and

copper. Chia contains six times more iron

than spinach.

• Low In Sodium and Cholesterol-Free.

Chia contains less than half the sodium

of flax seed, per serving. This is important

to those with high blood pressure and

concerned about sodium intake. As a

plant-based source of Omega-3, Chia is


• Promotes Hydration. Chia soaks up

water,promoting hydration and electrolyte


• Helps in Weight Loss.

• Builds Endurance. The Mayan word for

Chia is “strength.” Chia builds stamina

and endurance because it steadily releases

slow-burning glucose into the


• The protein in Chia is Gluten-Free.

Submitted by Wendy Evensen of Sadie's

Herbal Garden, 8406 Hwy 158 (Main

St.), Stokesdale. Call 336-644-SOAP or

visit www.sadiesherbalgarden.com. See

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