Monday, April 19, 2010

Chia, the Ancient-turned-New Superfood

I came to know about this superfood when my little SJ refused milk of any kind while I'm at work. Thanks to a breastfeeding mom who shared this with me, I could now get my hands on it and try it myself. The results are good, and I've been taking it since.

Chia seeds, which are also called the food of endurance (because messengers could run all day with these tiny seeds), were claimed to have:
- 2 times the protein of any other seed or grain,
- 5 times the calcium of milk, plus boron which is a trace mineral that helps transfer calcium into your bones,
- 2 times the amount of potassium as bananas,
- 3 times the reported antioxidant strength of blueberries
- 3 times more iron than spinach, which is needed to carry oxygen from the lungs into the muscle and organs
- copious amounts of omega-3 and omega-6, which are essential fatty acids

No wonder some even said we could live off it almost entirely! It's hard to imagine something so small, would have so much to offer. Due to its high amount of good fat, it manages to survive and thrive without any chemical interference. The bugs never touch it and so it needs absolutely no pesticides. Therefore, it's very safe for consumption.

Initially, I was looking for 'milk replacement', but then I found out that it's also rich in iron, which SJ is lacking too. She's just too pale! Wait, that's not all, chia seeds also has the highest content of omega-3, just above kiwi seeds, perilla and flax. Previously I turned to flax seed as an alternative source of omega-3, but now I realised that chia seed would be a better one instead. Why? Read here

What I like best is that it's so easy to prepare. Previously I need to blend the flax seed, store them in a dark container in the refrigerator so that it could last for about 2 weeks, and finished it in that timeframe. That's because flax seed need to be ground up to be digested properly. The shells of the chia seeds, on the the hand, are easily broken down, even when swallowed whole. Therefore, all I need to do is soak them in a bowl of water for about 10 minutes, so that it would expand and then we can eat it just like that. No refrigeration needed, and the seeds stay stable for much longer period without deterioration in flavour, odour or nutritional value, whereas flax, for example may turn rancid.

If I'm busy, I could just put a tablespoon of the chia seeds in my water bottle, shake it, and then bring it to work. I can drink it anytime, and the gel-like texture (which look like tiny dinasours' eggs) were so nice to chew on. Even my kids love them, as there's no additional smell. Basically it won't change the taste of the food, so they wouldn't even know if I didn't mention it to them. Unlike flax, when I sprinkle them on their porridge or rice, they could detect it's 'fishy' smell and push it away. The only way they could detect its presence is when I add them into their water bottle, because of its jelly-like texture.

Wanna know more about it? Read on in here and here.  

Oh yes, a word of caution though. This is not mentioned in the internet so far (or I haven't read about them yet) but it's better not to take it in hot condition. If you sprinkle them on the porridge, or your cereal, please do so when the food is not so hot or you wouldn't get 100% of its nutritional value.

And, one more thing. Due to the exceptional water-absorption quality of chia, it can help you prolong hydration and retain electrolytes, especially during exertion. However, I still think that we need to drink lots of water after taking them, because the seeds are so hydrophilic that if they do not find enough to absorb in the stomach, they will draw from the tissues instead. My personal experience? I do feel rather thirsty after taking it, so I'll naturally drink lots of water.

Well, you might think, this superfood would surely cost a hand and a leg, since it's so powerful. Surprisingly, it's not as expensive as I would have thought. Why? I just cost me ~RM60 for 300gm, which could last very long.


Pet said...

How's the taste? your children loves it?

ablogaway said...

Oh, it's basically tasteless. Yes, SJ even ask for it when she's having HFMD.... since she can't eat a lot of things then.

My Family's Memoir said...

This is good info. Can I know where you bought it from ?

My Family's Memoir said...

Good info, where can I get it from ?

ablogaway said...

I got it from a friend, who got it from her nutrition teacher. It seems they don't sell it publicly, but thru their students, my friend is one of the students.


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