Does anyone else remember the fad of barefoot running, roughly 8 years ago? If you found yourself immersed and fascinated in the fad (as I was), then you may remember the bestseller Born to Run which introduced us to the Tarahumara People and their way of life. Running is their life, and they run unbelievable distances wearing only hand-woven sandals. But while the fad of barefoot running has come and gone, the Tarahumara People introduced us to something else, something more enduring: chia seeds.
Marketing promises that chia seeds are a “miracle food” and “guarantee weight loss” and “improve athletic performance” are scientifically still to be determined. In other words, the jury is still out on the idea that a person can simply eat chia seeds (changing nothing else about her lifestyle) and lose weight. Nonetheless, chia seeds are a superfood. Period. Here’s why:
· Chia seeds are a dense a source of omega-3 fatty acids. Few other foods provide as much omega-3’s per ounce as chia seeds do (over 40% of the recommended daily amount in a 1 oz. serving). Omega-3’s are important for good cholesterol (reduction of blood clotting, dilating blood vessels), reducing inflammation in the body (cancer prevention), development of brain and eye health, and possibly reducing the risk of ADHD and other mental illnesses.
· Chia seeds provide a rich content of fiber. Fiber helps ensure digestive health and can help keep you fuller longer. A healthy intake of fiber helps prevent diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and weight gain. The recommended daily intake of fiber is 25-35g. 1 oz. of chai seeds provides 30% of the recommended daily fiber intake.
· Chia seeds are a complete protein. They are one of the only plant-based sources that contains all the essential amino acids our bodies need to build muscle and maintain health. Generally, only animal products contain all the necessary amino acids, and nearly all other plant foods are incomplete proteins. Therefore, if you are vegan or vegetarian, be sure to include chia seeds in your diet to ensure optimal health for your muscles and bones.
Chia seeds can be added to smoothies, oatmeal, homemade bread, yogurt, and salads – or, simply mix a tablespoon with your favorite juice! One tip…chia seeds expand if left in liquid for long periods of time. Some people don’t like the texture of expanded chia seeds, but if you’re willing to try expanded chia seeds, here’s a great breakfast recipe:
½ cup quick oats
¼ cup of favorite yogurt
¼ cup chopped almonds
¼ cup frozen blueberries
1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
1 tbsp chia seeds
dash of cinnamon
Store overnight in refrigerator and eat the next morning (no need to cook!)
Got any other chia seeds recipes? Please leave below in comments!