Cheat Sheet

Cooking with Chia For Dummies

From Cooking with Chia For Dummies by Barrie Rogers, Debbie Dooly

Chia is high in essential nutrients, gluten-free, 100 percent natural, and easy to use. No wonder it’s gaining in popularity worldwide! These tiny black and white seeds are becoming a staple on more and more people’s shopping lists thanks to their many health benefits.

The Top Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are chock-full of essential nutrients that are known to help improve health and well-being. By adding chia seeds to your diet, you’re doing yourself a favor. Here are some of the health benefits that people often notice from using chia:

  • Lower cholesterol: Chia is known for helping to lower cholesterol thanks to its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.

  • Joint pain relief: Chia is a natural anti-inflammatory, so people often use it to help relieve joint pain, such as arthritis or inflammatory pain from injuries.

  • Improved memory and concentration: People who make chia a regular part of their lives often remark how they seem to have more clarity, not forgetting things as often and being able to concentrate better.

  • Relief from digestive disorders: Many people use chia because the fiber it contains helps to keep the digestive system running smoothly. Many people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) find that using chia helps greatly.

  • Increased energy: People who eat chia seeds notice that they have increased energy and are less tired. Once they start to notice this, they’re reluctant to miss their daily 2 tablespoons of chia in fear that they’ll lack energy again. That’s the best kind of healthy addiction!

  • Balanced blood sugars: Thanks to its hydrophilic (water-absorbing) properties, chia has a slow energy release that naturally helps balance blood sugar levels. People with type-2 diabetes often use chia to help balance their blood sugar levels.

Chia: A True Superfood

The term superfood is overused by marketing agencies to promote different foods that really don't deserve the title. However, chia has so many different properties and is high in so many essential nutrients that it more than deserves to call itself a superfood. Here's why:

  • It's high in omega-3 fatty acids. Chia is one of the highest plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids in the world, and omega-3s have many benefits to health such as improved memory and concentration, better mental health, and lower cholesterol levels.

  • It's a complete protein. Chia has all the essential amino acids that are needed for cell growth and repair. This is unusual in a plant, so chia is an especially beneficial source of protein for vegetarians and vegans.

  • It's high in antioxidants. Chia contains many antioxidants that are known to fight disease and promote health.

  • Its nutrients are bioavailable. Chia's nutrients are easily absorbed by the body, which means that the nutrients can be put to work fast to help fuel the body and promote health.

  • It's versatile. Chia has little or no taste and a long shelf-life, so it has many applications. It can be used in any recipe without affecting the flavor, and its nutrients remain stable for a long time.

  • It's hydrophilic. Chia absorbs up to ten times its weight in water and helps to slow the conversion of carbohydrates to sugars. This helps you avoid sugar peaks and troughs and provides more sustained energy.

  • It's loaded with vitamins and minerals. Chia is high in vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, the B vitamins, and selenium.

Enhance Your Sports Performance with Chia

Athletes were some of the first people to use chia as an aid to their sporting efforts. Triathletes and ultra-marathoners in particular followed in the footsteps of extreme runner Christopher McDougall, who wrote the book Born to Run, in which he touts chia as being the fuel that kept him and the Tarahumara Indians running for more than 100 miles at a time. McDougall has sparked athletes everywhere to use chia for sports. Chia is a brilliant sports tool, and here's why:

  • Because it's hydrophilic (water absorbing), chia releases energy slowy, which helps promote endurance.

  • Chia is a natural anti-inflammatory, so it helps relieve any pain caused by sports injuries.

  • Chia is known to improve concentration, helping people focus on what they're doing, which is a great attribute in sports.

  • The complete protein in chia is great for building and repairing body tissues like muscles.

  • People who use chia notice that muscle recovery time is reduced. The muscle pain that you often get two days after intense exercise is greatly reduced with the use of chia.

  • The soluble fiber in chia slows digestion and gives athletes energy when they need it during a run, cycle, or swim.

  • Thanks to chia's ability to absorb water, it can help prolong hydration. Many athletes find it difficult to stay hydrated, and chia can help, allowing athletes to perform longer.

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