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Everyone’s cheering for chia

 | June 12, 2012

An ancient seed is touted as the new miracle food.

BUSINESS Week says its “healthier than coffee, cheaper (and obviously more legal) than cocaine, and less juvenile than a 5-hour energy drink” and terms it “Wall Street’s stimulant of choice”. At 137 calories an ounce, Dr. Oz says, “They just may be one of the healthiest things around.”

What exactly has gotten the world excited?

If you haven’t heard, chia is the new buzzword in the world of health. Some health gurus call it today’s new “superfood” while others prefer to let its powerful nutritional profile speak for itself.

Chia seeds are a whole grain once used by the Aztecs and the Mayans as their main energy source. In South America and Mexico today, some restaurants still serve drinks with chia seeds, often adding them to lemonade for a delicious thirst quencher.

Chia can change your life. Extremely high in the essential fatty acid omega-3, chia seeds are packed with antioxidants and are a complete source of protein. Just two tablespoons provide calcium equivalent to 120ml of whole milk and the fibre of 78 grammes of oats. It has been dubbed “the dieter’s dream” for its ability to curb hunger, and “the running food” for it’s a nutritional powerhouse that potentially aids performance.

The seeds themselves are bland in taste. You soak them in water anywhere from 15 minutes to overnight to plump the seeds up. By the time they’re ready, they resemble tadpoles on the make for the gelatinous outer texture.

The best part about its blandness is you can add to it the flavours you want and make it your own. The chia gel can be added to your favourite drink or smoothie, or even desserts to boost its nutritional value and lessen its guilt quotient. The raw seeds can be grinded and sprinkled on cereal, yoghurt or salad. For its high nutritional value and little effort required to incorporate chia seeds into the lifestyle, it’s no wonder people are cheering for chia.


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