Cah-Cha-Cha Chia, yep that's what we're talking about. In case you live under a rock. In 1982, a California company released the Chia Pet, an animal-shaped terracotta figurine, that you planted Chia seeds on and when the seeds sprouted, they would simulate hair, or fur depending on the figure you choose. Ok same seed but we're not going to plant them we're going to eat them, and here's why. There is evidence that Chia was first used as food as early as 3500 B.C., and served as a cash crop in central Mexico between 1500 and 900 B.C. The seeds were eaten alone and mixed with other seed crops, drank as a beverage when dissolved in water, ground into flour, included in medicines, and pressed for oil. Aztec rulers received seeds as an annual tribute from conquered nations, and the grain was offered to the gods during religious ceremonies. Chia is a species of flowering plant in the mint family.
The use of the seed salvia hispanica, commonly known as Chia, dates back to the 12th century. Chia is native to central and southern Mexico as well as Guatemala. Today it is found as far north as the Mojave Desert in the American Southwest. It was cultivated by the early Aztec and Mayan cultures and was quite valuable to them for several reasons. The Aztecs ate the seeds of this semitropical plant to improve their endurance. They called it their "running food" because messengers could purportedly run all day on just a handful. The Aztecs prized this grain more highly than gold and they even used it as medicine. Evidently most pests do not like Chia, so they are easy to grow organically. Legend has it that Chia seeds were the basic survival ration of Aztec warriors, one tablespoon was believed to sustain a person for 24 hours. So Aztec traders also packed them as a food that was light and traveled easily, because of the many hundreds of miles they traveled on their trade routes.
Chia seed provides calcium and protein to your tissues. The seeds
are also rich in boron, which helps the body assimilate and use
calcium. The nutrients also support proper brain functioning. They are
the richest plant source of Omega-3 the vital fats that protect against
inflammation like arthritis and heart disease. In fact, chia contains
more Omega-3 fatty acids than salmon.
- Water Loving. The seed can soak up ten times its weight in water. Inside your body, the seeds help you stay hydrated longer, and retain electrolytes.
- Mild Tasting. The mild taste makes it easy to put in sauces, smoothies, breads, puddings, and whatever you want. They won't really change the taste.
- Versatile. You can use them uncooked in salad dressings, spreads, fruit shakes, ice cream, and just about anything you want. You can also add them to cookies, cakes, muffins, and other baked goods. Or just mix them in water and drink them down.
- Slimming and Trimming. Yes, the seeds will help you lose weight, for two reasons. The first reason is that they are so filling that you will eat less of other foods. The second reason is that they actually bulk up and cleanse your intestines and colon.
- Endurance Enhancing. Many distance runners have reported using chia seed to enhance stamina and endurance on runs, some of which are several hours long.
- Regenerating. They digest and assimilate easily so the nutrients travel to the cells very quickly. So use them when you want hydrate to build, or regenerate body tissue.
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