by Rosanna Farmer
picture by Gabriella Ruellan
Salvia Hispanica, commonly known as Chia, is a species of flowering plant in the mint family, Lamiaceae, that is native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala.
Chia seeds were documented to exist as a food in 3500 BC. It was cultivated by the Aztec and was so valued that it was given as an annual tribute by the people to the rulers.
Known as the running food, its use was as a high-energy endurance food, on which the Aztecs subsisted during conquests.
Chia seed is currently consumed in Mexico, the United States and South America, but it was not widely known in Europe, until recently.
The seed is now available in Irish health food shops. You can buy them whole or ground.
Chia has the highest and safest concentration of Omega 3, antioxidants, fibre, protein & phytonutrients of any plant source on the planet.
It is gluten-free, trans-free, sugar-free, pesticide-free and non GMO
600% more Omega 3 than salmon
500% more Calcium than milk
300% more Iron than spinach
100% more Potassium than bananas
1400% more Magnesium than broccoli
100% more fibre than bran flakes
500% more protein than kidney beans
200% more Selenuim than flax seed
800% more Phosphorus than whole milk
more antioxidants than blueberries
Chia may be beneficial to:
type II diabetes
maintaining healthy blood pressure
increase energy levels
arthritis and other inflammatory conditions
How to include Chia in your diet
There are many ways to eat Chia seed. It makes a great addition to any food because it doesn’t distort flavour.
You can eat them whole and enjoy their nutty flavour, or they can be ground and mixed with anything you like.
Add Chia to cereal, porridge, yogurt, smoothies, salad, soup, salsa and dips, cottage cheese, nut butters , flour for breadmaking, pancakes, cookies or muffins.
You can also make Chia Gel , which can then be added to sauces and dips, or to water or juice. It will keep you feeling full for longer, so you’ll be less likely to snack.
Chia Gel Recipe
use a 9:1 Ratio of water to whole Chia seeds
pour water into a sealable plastic container
slowly poor Chia seeds into the water while briskly mixing with a wire whisk
wait a few minutes then whisk again
let the mixture stand for about 10 minutes
whisk again before using
store in the refrigerator in a covered container
the Chia gel will keep for up to 2 weeks.
The gel can be added to creamy/liquid food items such as jelly, jam, yogurt, mustard, ketchup, salad dressing, butter, barbecue sauce, puddings, etc.
The gel doesn’t affect flavours, offers nutritional benefits and cuts calories.