Long before the Chia Pet became a sensation, chia seeds were a staple food source for Native Americans for centuries. In fact, Aztec warriors would eat chia seeds during hunting trips, and the Indians of the Southwest would only eat a mixture of chia seeds with water when they went to the Pacific Ocean to trade products.
A Complete Protein
Chia seed is a complete source of plant-based protein. When we say “complete,” we mean that the protein source contains the 9 essential amino acids that the body can’t make on its own. When compared to other seeds and grains, chia seed seem to have the highest amount of protein, between 19 to 23 percent protein by weight. One really cool fact about chia seeds is that they can absorb more than nine times their volume in water or other liquid. This unique quality can help your body retain fluids and electrolytes, which can help you avoid dehydration.
Balanced Blood Sugar Levels
The gel-forming property of chia seed typically slows digestion and helps you sustain balanced blood sugar levels, which can help control or lower your risk of diabetes. Whole, water-soaked chia seeds can be easily digested and absorbed. When you consume chia seed gel, the nutrients from the seeds are immediately absorbed by tissues and cells in the body. This nutrients help facilitate the growth and regeneration of tissue during pregnancy and lactation, and helps the regeneration of muscle tissue for athletes. Adding chia seeds to your diet helps you feel full without full with no more peaks and valleys in blood sugar levels.
These Seeds Are Versatile
The fastest way to consume chia seeds is to mix one tablespoon of chia seeds in eight ounces of water or freshly made juice. Stir to break up any lumps and then drink, continually stirring to avoiding clumping. You can also make a gel with chia seeds and water, which can help to thicken homemade jams, jellies, shakes, or sauces. You can use this gel as a fat replacer or as a nutritional energy gel.
How To Make Chia Gel
You can make as much chia gel as you want, but the recipe calls for nine parts water and one part chia seeds. In a sealable container, pour the one part chia seeds into nine parts water. Take a whisk or fork and stir the seeds to help avoid clumping. Let this stand for about five minutes and then continue to stir to break up clumps. Store up to two weeks in the refrigerator. Add the gel, between 50 to 70 percent by volume, to jams, jellies, shakes, or sauces, mix well, and taste. You will notice a very smooth texture, without alteration of the flavors.
Slowly Releases Carbohydrates
Chia gel slowly releases carbohydrates and an helps to slow the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose (blood sugar) for energy. The outer layer of chia seeds is rich in mucilloid-soluble fiber, which keeps the seeds from drying out in desert air. When chia seeds mix with water or stomach juices, a gel forms that creates a physical barrier between the carbohydrates and the digestive enzymes that break them down. Your body eventually digests the carbohydrates, but at a slower and uniform rate. There is no insulin surge or spike needed to lower blood sugar levels after eating chia seeds.
Other benefits of chia gel include:
- Chia seeds help you control weight, helping you feel full so that you don’t have cravings. Mix with fresh orange juice!
- High amounts of omega-3 & omega-6 fatty acids, which are especially beneficial for pregnant women
- Chia seeds contain greater alpha-linolenic acid concentrations than any other seed or grain. This substance lowers the risk of heart disease, blurred vision, and numbness.
- People have been using chia gel to help remedy wounds, colds, sore throats, upset stomachs, body odor, prostate problems, and even constipation.
- Chia seed contain a lot of B vitamins and calcium. By volume, one ounce of chia seeds contain two percent B-2 (riboflavin), 13 percent niacin, and 29 percent thiamin, and trace amounts of all B vitamins. 100 grams of chia seeds contain more calcium than a glass of milk.
- Chia seeds contain boron, which is needed for healthy bones. People don’t get enough boron in their daily diets, primarily because the nation’s soil has been depleted of it. Boron helps to aid the metabolism of calcium, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus in bones and for muscle growth. Boron can also help to increase estrogen levels.
- Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber.