Add Big Nutritional Value to Your Diet with Tiny Chia Seeds
An easy way to add nutritional punch to your diet without adding bulky foods is to eat chia seeds.
The seeds are native to Guatemala and Mexico and were once called “Indian Running Food” because they are loaded with high-quality protein.
Eating an ounce of chia seeds gives the body a significant amount of its daily requirement for dietary fiber, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. It bolsters our supply of potassium, copper, and zinc as well.
An Ounce of Prevention
Chia seeds are not a low-calorie food, but you get a big nutritional bang for the calories consumed. A 1-ounce serving of seeds contains about 137 calories. There is no cholesterol intake with chia seeds, and sodium content is very low. Most of the fat found in chia seeds, about 90 percent, is the healthy mono and polyunsaturated variety.
The Western diet is typically lacking in essential fatty acids, and chia seeds provide a balanced abundance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The seeds are the best-known plant source of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 known to reduce the body’s level of stress hormones.
Five Ways To Use Chia Seeds
Chia seeds have a variety of dietary uses:
- Snack and Garnish. Chia seeds are edible right out of the bag, or toss some seeds on your cereals and salads. You can also blend the seeds into smoothies.
- Meatballs. You can thicken meatballs with chia seeds instead of breadcrumbs. For each pound of meat, add two tablespoons of the seeds. This is also a great way to thicken meatloaf.
- Egg Substitute. For each egg in a baked-goods recipe, you can substitute one tablespoon of finely ground dry chia seed plus three tablespoons of water. Use a blender, food processor, or coffee grinder to pulverize the seeds.
- Thickener. Instead of thickening gravies, stews, or soups with cornstarch, you can add two tablespoons of regular or powdered chia seeds at a time until the desired thickness is reached.
- Breading. Add a nutritious, crunchy chia seed coating to your fish or chicken. Or, bread your meat in a combination of chia seeds, almond flour, and garlic powder.
There are plenty of chia seed recipes available on the Internet to experiment with and enjoy.