Chia Seed: How to Work this Superfood into Your Diet
You've probably been hearing all the buzz about chia. It's been hailed as the latest superfood, and it's been flying off supermarket shelves. But what exactly is chia seed, and why is it so good for you?
As with many trendy health foods, chia has long been consumed outside of the US with little fanfare. Chia seeds come from Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family, and were used by the ancient Aztecs and Mayans to build strength and stamina. Today, chia is still incorporated into local cuisine in Mexico and other areas of Central America. And for good reason: it's one of the potent sources of omega-3 fatty acids out there, and a single tablespoon of it contains 5 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein. Some studies suggest that it can improve blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and prevent blood sugar spikes.
Incredibly, the gelatinous nature of chia seeds means they can be used as an egg substitute in baked goods. Simply grind one tablespoon of chia seeds using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder, mix the powder with 3 tablespoons of water, let sit for 5 minutes, and then use the resulting gooey mixture in lieu of an egg.
Another great way to get chia into your diet is with a refreshing drink. Our favorite brand, Mamma Chia, offers a variety of flavorful chia drinks, along with Chia seeds and snacks. You can also easily make your own Mexican chia fresca—a hydrating, nutrient-packed limeade. Made simply with Mamma Chia seeds, water, limes, and honey, it's an easy, refreshing, and delicious way to get those omega-3s.
Chia Fresca Recipe
2 cups water
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp honey
1) Add the water and chia seeds to a glass bottle and shake well to break up any clumps. Let sit 10 minutes to allow the chia seeds to soften.
2) Meanwhile, juice the 2 limes using a citrus juicer (such as this OXO citrus juicer).
3) Thoroughly mix the honey into the lime juice.
4) Pour the honey and lime juice mixture into the glass bottle. Shake well to mix.