To commemorate the start of the school year, I’m adding a post category called “Ingredient Spotlights” in an attempt to highlight some of the latest and greatest super foods. All of the ingredients that will be spotlighted in the year to come certainly do have a substantial amount of hype surrounding them in the food world, but they also have serious and undeniable nutritional value. These spotlights will not be replacing the “Ingredient Profiles,” as these two posts will run simultaneously, but they will be offered to provide some insight into the foods out there that are most nutrient dense. So this week, all hail the chia seed!
Chia seeds are small, dark colored seeds that nowadays can be found at almost any grocery store. Unlike flax seeds, these chia seeds can be enjoyed whole, and don’t need to be ground or stoned in order to reap the health benefits. These seeds originated in South America, where the Aztecs and Mayans incorporated them into many of their favorite dishes. They aren’t made with any gluten or grains, so therefore, they can be an important part of a gluten-free diet (Hathwell).
As you will see when you pick up a bag of this nutritious food option, just two tablespoons of chia seeds contain approximately:
10 grams of fiber
18% of daily recommended intake for calcium
Approx. 1/2 of daily recommended intake for manganese
24% of daily recommended intake for magnesium
Heaps and heaps of antioxidants
Oodles and oodles of omega-3 fatty acids
35% daily recommended intake for phosphorus
Chia seeds can be added into almost any recipe you currently have. For example, consider incorporating them into homemade waffle or pancake batter. They’re also delicious sprinkled over Greek yogurt and fruit, fresh salad greens, or even vegetable soups. Keep in mind that they do not alter the taste of what you’re eating in any way, instead, they add a crunch to your meal! In addition, chia seeds can be easily substituted in for eggs in any batter or recipe. This is because the outer portion of the seed inflates and expands when exposed to water. Therefore, by combining 3 tablespoons of chia seeds with 1 tablespoon of water, and then waiting just 15 minutes, you can create the perfect replacement for eggs! The chia seeds and water create a gel that takes the place of an cholesterol filled egg (Hathwell).
Please let me know if these seeds are something that you’ve had before, or are looking forward to try!
Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,
Hathwell, Jen. HealthyEating.sfgate. Hearst Communications Incorporated. 2013. Web. 6 August 2013. <http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/top-10-health-benefits-chia-seeds-6962.html>