They are an ancient source of fuel, originally used regularly by the Aztecs and the Mayans as part of their diet - and their main source of fuel for long expeditions. It's said that just one tablespoon of chia seeds can sustain a person for 24 hours. Plus, chia seeds are the highest known plant source of omega-3 and omega-6 Essential Fatty Acids.
What else? They help boost metabolism and lean muscle mass. They add bulk and nutrients with very few calories, therefore are helpful in weight loss and maintenance. Their high concentration of omega-3's helps to lubricate and keep joints supple. Aside from the EFA's, they contain about 20% protein, and are a source of fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, niacin, zinc, and phosphorus. Fun fact? They can absorb seven times their weight in water (ummm...bulk...weight loss).
A great way to start adding chia seeds to your diet is to put them into your favorite beverage. I'm talking things like water (add a squeeze of lime), juices, agua frescas, lemon and limeades, shakes and smoothies, and even tea. You want to let them sit in the liquid for at least 30 minutes to give them time to start soaking up that liquid...so you get that crazy mouth-feel. They are still digestible if you don't soak them, though.
Lately, fresh lemonade or limeade like this one have been on the fridge shelf constantly. It's an incredibly refreshing way to stay hydrated AND get the nutritional benefits of the chia. Plus, how perfect is it for the hot weather? We often feel like eating less this time of year, anyway. Drinking our nutrients, while filling the space in our stomach? It seems like the way to go. Also perfect for a picnic. Simply whip up a big batch and put it in jars or bottles with tight-fitting lids. Slide into a cooler and you're set!
Fresh Limeade with Chia Seeds
Prep Time: 10 minutes (+ 30 minutes in fridge)
Cook Time: n/a
Keywords: beverage vegan soy-free nut-free limes chia seeds
Ingredients (approximately 1 quart)
- 5 small-medium limes, scrubbed & quartered
- 4 cups cold water
- 1/2 cup sugar, or to taste
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
Place the lime quarters, water, and sugar in the jar of a blender and pulse 10-20 times. You want to release the juice and oils from the limes, but not crush the skins too much (or the limeade will be bitter). Set a strainer over a pitcher and pour the limeade through, pressing down on the solids to release as much liquid as possible.
Stir in the chia seeds, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Stir before serving, chilled and over ice.
adapted from Paletas
The Ancient Chia Seed: How it Can Benefit your Health
(Care2) Ancient Chia Seeds: An Ancient American Superfood