Posted 25 July 2008 - 01:03 PM
Hey guys. It's great that you like and use chia, it's very good and healthy for you. Unlike flax, it does not need to be ground to be ingested and used by the body. Here's a quick piece I wrote about chia...
Where Dr Oz Left Off About Chiaâ€¦
There are many people on message boards asking questions about Chia seed after its mention by Dr. Oz on the Oprah show. Most of the information about it on the web is from the vegan point of view. Hereâ€™s some straight forward information about Chia for the rest of us.
Chiaâ€™s Benefits and Why Theyâ€™re Important:
â€˘ Omega Fatty Acids: Chia seeds contain about 32% Omega fatty acids which is very high and rare for a seed. They are 61% Omega-3 (ALA) and 20% Omega-6 (LA). Both are essential fatty acids and aid in the prevention of heart disease.
â€˘ Fiber: Chia seeds contain about 42% fiber; 5% soluble fiber and 36% insoluble fiber. Fiber
is essential for a healthy gastrointestinal system and inhibiting constipation.
â€˘ Protein: Chia seeds contain about 21% protein and are high is essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein, for healthy cellular function.
â€˘ Calcium: A serving of chia seeds (1Tbls) contains as much calcium as two cups of milk. The calcium in chia seeds aids in bone health as well as para-thyroid, liver and kidney function.
â€˘ Extras: Chia seeds also provide iron, magnesium, potassium (equivalent to 3-4 bananas worth), Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, phosphorus, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, zinc, naturally boost energy and are gluten-free.
Chia vs. Flax:
Digestion: Chia whole or ground seeds are completely digestible. This means all of the benefits listed above are readily available to the body. Flax needs to be ground to release its oils and nutrients; even then, most of the ground seed goes through the body undigested.
Rancidity: Most Omega-3 oil products are rancid â€“ the products youâ€™re buying on the store shelves and in store refrigerators. The shelf life of the best available flax oil is approximately 2 months with refrigeration. Properly manufactured and stabilized chia oil has a shelf life of approximately 2 years. Chia seeds have a shelf life of about 5 years; and overall, chia does not have the rancidity problems.
Risk Factors: Flax contains lanamarin, which is a cyanogen (a toxic compound). This can lead to the buildup of poison in the body and possibly make you very sick. Flax is actually banned for human consumption in France; and in fact, many countries recommend consumption of no more than 7grams/ day of flax (about a half Tbls). In the US, flax has never been approved by the FDA.
Chia Product Differences:
Chia does not have the rancidity issues of Flax but that does not mean that all Chia is created equal. Firstly, everyone has heard of Chia Pets. Do NOT consume the seed from Chia Pets, they are not meant for human consumption as the seeds origins are unknown and have most likely been treated with heavy pesticides. Even packages of Chia sold in health food stores may not be grown to high agricultural standards. Chia oilâ€™s shelf life is 2 years only if properly manufactured and stabilized. Also, as of this time, there is no â€śCertified Organicâ€ť chia on the market, so donâ€™t be fooled by any interestingly worded claims on packaging.
I use Chia every day and the brand I use is Red Opal (www.opalnutrition.com). The parent company is science based and oversees every aspect of production from harvesting through packaging. The other reason I like this brand is pricing. As Chia is the hot new item, many other companies are hiking up their prices. I tend to buy mine online to avoid price increases at retail health food stores.
Chia has a mild, pleasant, nutty flavor. You can add whole chia seeds to cereal, yogurt, salads, eat them as a snack, or grind them and mix them with flour when making muffins or other baked goods. In any form, it will add omega-3, fiber and protein to everything itâ€™s used in.
When added to water and allowed to sit for 30 minutes, chia forms a gel. You can add lime or lemon juice and sugar to the gel and make a drink known in Mexico and Central America as "chia fresca" (a great, yummy, healthy treat for kids). Everyday, I add 1 Tbls chia seeds to a small bottle of water with a little juice or Crystal Light, shake it up well and refrigerate it for a half hour. I drink it as a mid morning snack â€“ itâ€™s healthy, tasty, gives a nice jolt of energy to my workday while satiating my hunger.
You can also use the gel mix as a thickening agent for gravies rather than using a butter/ flour roux.
Hereâ€™s the link to Dr. Ozâ€™s Chia Muffin Recipe:
Chia was a main source of food for the Aztecs more than 3000 years ago. They were one of four key components of the Aztec and Mayan diets (the others being corn, beans and amaranth oil) and was the basic survival ration of Aztec warriors. It is said that one tablespoon was believed to sustain an individual for 24 hours.