Ancient Aztec civilizations cultivated not only maize, but chia as well. Chia is a native plant to Mexico and Guatemala. Seeds from the chia plant are packed with nutrition. Recently, the seeds have been discovered to aid in weight reduction.
Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, the seeds are packed with protein, calcium, manganese, potassium and sodium. Chia seeds can assist with maintaining blood sugar levels and reduce hunger pains for dieters. The fibers in the seed expand in the presence of water or other liquids. The moisture in the liquid is trapped in the seed and forms a gel absorbing up to 9 times the original size. The stomach reacts as though it has received a large piece of food with a very low calorie count. The body treats the liquefied gel as roughage and hydrates the colon, thus aiding in digestion. The seeds assist with food cravings by supplying the body with the nutrition it needs.
Add Protein to a Vegan Diet
Chia seeds are flavorless and take on the flavor of other foods. The seeds are often used in puddings, breads, cakes, dips and porridges. Chia fresca is a Mexican drink derived from chia seeds combined with water, tea or fruit juice. Vegans, this is a great way to add protein to the diet.
The Chia Pet
Yes, all this from the infamous plant that resembles hair growing from a terra cotta puppy, bunny, Tweety Bird, or even an Obama figurine. Who would have thought? Will Chia Pet sales receive a boost this Christmas? Only time will tell!
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.