Patty's Preparedness Corner: Chia Seed
By Patty Liston
When it comes to having something in your food storage supply that will truly sustain life, you need look no further than chia seed. Dr. Memet Oz stated, "They just may be one of the healthiest things around". I add to that that chia seed may be one of the healthiest things around that most people have never heard of.
Chia was one of the primary staple foods of the Aztec, Mayan and Incan from as early as 2,700 BC. One spoonful of seed in water was said to supply everything needed for a full day of hard labor. Given their nutritional properties, chia was even used as currency. The question then arises, what is in this little seed that makes it so nutritious? The list is impressive.
Vitamins: A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B15, B17, C, D, E, K, choline, folic acid, inositol, PABA.
Minerals: boron, calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorous, potassium, silicon, sodium, strontium, sulphur, zinc, amylose (a slow-burning starch helpful in treating hypoglycemia), and electrolytes.
It also contains 20% protein and 25% dietary fiber. Chia is one of the richest vegetable sources of omega-3 fatty acids which helps protect against heart disease and inflammation so it is perfect for those with diabetes, hypertension and arthritis.
It also does the following:
Helps to digest food
Builds muscle and tissue
Lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels
Is beneficial to skin, hair and your brain
Has been reported to improve memory
Slows the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar
Chia seeds have a mild, nutty flavor. Many people feel that the taste is even "neutral". This makes the seeds easy to incorporate into on salads, cereal, yogurt, or puddings, without influencing the taste of what you are cooking. They can also be ground up and put into breads and muffins or 2 teaspoons can be put into water with lime and a little sugar to make the popular Mexican drink, chia fresca.
How to Use Chia Seeds
The most common way most people use chia seeds is by putting 1/3 cup of the seeds into 2 cups of water. Chia can absorb large quantities of liquid, between 10-12 times their volume, in under 8 minutes. Once the chia is ready, just stir it up and put it in a sealed jar in your refrigerator. It will have a gel-like consistency and will keep in your refrigerator up to one week. Once ready, you can eat a few spoonfuls or add it to your smoothies. Since it absorbs anything it is put into, chia can also be put into fruit juices to give it a fruity flavor.
Chia can be purchased on-line by googling "chia seeds", or bought in your health food stores.
Dry chia seeds will store in a sealed container for up to 2 years at room temperature without losing their nutritional value.
According to www.Nuts.com, there are 7 great reasons to have chia seeds in your food supply.
7 Good Reasons To Start Eating Chia Seeds
Help weight loss. Chia seeds are popular for weight loss. They reduce food cravings by preventing some of the food that you eat from getting absorbed into your system. This blockage of calorie absorption makes them a great diet helper.
Feel fuller faster: They can also help your diet by making you feel full. This is because they absorb 10 times their weight in water, forming a bulky gel.
Hydration for athletes: They are also great for athletes because the "chia gel" can hydrate the body.
Reduce your blood pressure: There's evidence to suggest they can reduce blood pressure.
Omega-3: They are the richest plant source of Omega-3 (the vital fats that protect against inflammation - such as arthritis - and heart disease). In fact, they contain more Omega-3 than salmon!
Benefits for diabetes: Because chia seeds slow down how fast our bodies convert carbohydrates into simple sugars, studies indicate they can control blood sugar. This leads scientists to believe chia seeds may have great benefits for diabetics.
They are easier to digest than flax seeds, and don't need to be ground up.
Like Dr. Oz, I can't think of another simple food that provides the over-all health benefits as does the chia seed. If all else fails, one could quite possibly live off of this little seed and receive all of the basic nutrients needed to sustain life. For this reason alone, it is a good portion of my rotating food storage supply.