Health Warrior: Ancient Seed for Modern Times

The chia seed is not exactly a new discovery on the health horizon as some may think.  In fact, it has been considered a super food for centuries.  The Mayans, Aztecs and Incas all considered the chia seed as a great energy source consuming it and using it as their primary choice of food for periods of long endurance.  That is impressive - both for the chia seed and the ancient messengers as they must have been skin and bones to rely on a seed to sustain them.  We are talking a tiny seed which looks much like the poppy seed.  Not a lot of bulk for men running around defending their land.  But apparently it does have a lot of bulk or shall we call it fiber - nearly 11 grams of it per ounce, in fact.

Why Fiber

Fiber is good.  But maybe you do not know exactly why it is good or why it is so important to get those recommended 25-35 grams a day.  If that is so, here are some reasons to consume it:

  • Fiber slows the rate that sugar is absorbed into your bloodstream. This keeps your blood glucose levels steady and from rising too fast, which is important   Spikes in glucose fall quickly, which can make you feel hungry soon after eating and lead to overeating.  Maintaining sugar levels is important, too, for diabetics or those concerned they are headed towards that disease.
  • Fiber makes your intestines move at a quicker pace. When you eat foods rich in insoluble fiber, the food moves faster through your intestines, which can help signal that you are full.
  • Fiber cleans your colon, acting like a brush of sorts.  The brush effect scrubs away bacteria and other buildup in your intestines and may reduce your risk for colon cancer.
  • Fiber helps keep you regular. A high-fiber diet helps your visits to the bathroom go well.
  • Increasing fiber intake lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Fiber supplementation in obese individuals can significantly enhance weight loss. 

Other Reasons Why Chia is a Warrior

Besides helping to fill your fiber quotient, here are some other reasons to add chia seeds to your shopping list:

  • The seeds are packed with calcium, and they also contain boron, which is a trace mineral that helps calcium be absorbed into your bones.
  • This super seed is a potent antioxidant to help your immune system fight disease and defy age naturally.
  • Large amounts of iron can be found in the tiny seed.  Chia seeds have lots of it, which is needed to carry oxygen from the lungs into the muscles and organs.
  • Chia seeds are rich in polyunsaturated fats, with 60 percent omega-3 fatty acids. That makes them one of the richest plant-based sources of these fatty acids, especially alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA. The omega-3s in chia seeds can help reduce inflammation throughout your body and enhance cognitive performance.

Chia Fresca with Mint

Here is a Mexican recipe featuring the high fiber, anti-oxidant and mineral rich heath warrior - the chia seed.  This would be a great summer-time drink to start your day or for before, during or after your workout or really anytime you want something refreshing and energizing.  The coated texture of the chia seeds after they sit for a spell is a bit odd for some.  But if you like the Vietnamese bubble drinks, you will like this.

  • 12 ounces of very cold, fresh filtered water
  • 3 tablespoons of chilled fresh lemon or lime juice 
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup or other sweetener of choice
  • torn leaves of 1 small sprig of mint

Now do this
  • In large glass, pour in the lemon or lime juice.
  • Place torn mint leaves in glass and using a muddle or spoon, crush the leaves to release their oils.
  • Pour water into glass.
  • Add sweetener if using.
  • Add chia seeds.
  • Stir and stir some more.  Stir well.
  • Let sit for 5-10 minutes in refrigerator to stay chilled.  
  • Stir again, and garnish with lemon or lime slice and mint.

photo credit: <a href="">Stacy Spensley</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

photo credit: <a href="">SummerTomato</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>