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Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia aka Salvia Hispanica - gluten free souce of fiber, omega-3s, alleged endurance food

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Shallah Kali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-10-09 03:30 PM
Original message
Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia aka Salvia Hispanica - gluten free souce of fiber, omega-3s, alleged endurance food
Edited on Tue Mar-10-09 04:21 PM by Shallah Kali

Chia (Salvia hispanica) is a plant of the genus Salvia in the Mint family. It originated in the central Valley of Mexico. It was largely cultivated by the Aztecs in pre-Columbian times as one of five major plant sources of food.


Chia seeds are typically small ovals with a diameter of about one millimeter. They are mottle-colored with brown, gray, black and white. Chia seeds typically contain 20% protein, 34% oil, 25% dietary fiber (mostly soluble with high molecular weight), and significant levels of antioxidants (chlorogenic and caffeic acids, myricetin, quercetin, and kaempferol flavonols). The oil from chia seeds contains a very high concentration of omega-3 fatty acid approximately 64%.<5> Chia seeds contain no gluten and trace levels of sodium.<2> There are no known toxic components of chia.

Chia seed is traditionally consumed in Mexico, the southwestern United States, and South America, but is not widely known in Europe. The United States Food and Drug Administration regards chia as a food with an established history of safe consumption.

Historically, chia seeds served as a staple food of the Nahuatl (Aztec) cultures of Central Mexico. Jesuit chroniclers referred to chia as the third most important crop to the Aztecs behind only corn and beans, and ahead of amaranth. Tribute and taxes to the Aztec priesthood and nobility were often paid in chia seed.<1><3>


Food preparation

Chia seed may be eaten raw as a dietary fiber and omega-3 supplement. Grinding chia seeds produces a meal called pinole, which can be made into porridge or cakes. Chia seeds soaked in water or fruit juice is also often consumed and is known in Mexico as chia fresca. The soaked seeds are gelatinous in texture and are used in gruels, porridges and puddings. Ground chia seed is used in baked goods including breads, cakes and biscuits.

Last night I tried eating some chia seeds. As a person currently dealing with a very sensitive digestive system (ibs, celiac, dairy allergy, gerd) I have to be very cautious trying new things. I have had this jar of seeds for half a year now trying to get my nerve up for trying it after reading about it's high omega content. I took a little less than a quarter scoop in a cup of water, stirred off and on for several minutes and then drank them down. They had a faint taste and had swollen up like I had read they would. The texture was a bit like tomato seeds in their tiny gel pods. So far no effects good or bad. I will try them again and increase a little in a day or two if my digestive system continues to accept them. I want to see if it gives me more get up and go the way some people report even if I don't feel like running all day on a tablespoon of seed as alleged in chia promotions ;)

The Chia I tried was from Greens Plus I am sure other brands are fine I simply picked these because they were the ones that said gluten free on the jar. I didn't bother to try the white only Salba seeds which cost nearly 3 times as much not simply for the excessive cost but because the more coloring a food has *usually* the more nutrients including phytonutrients the food has. It seemed to me the point of the Salba chia was a way to patent or trademark a commonly available food by selective breeding so they could charge more.

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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-10-09 04:24 PM
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1. I hadn't heard of this before.
I'll have to ask the Naturopath at work about them. Best of luck to you on getting feeling better!
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GardeningGal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 12:56 PM
Response to Original message
2. Just checking in to see if you had an update after using them?
I've been reading about them so I'm curious about your experience and if they helped you. I've been looking for something to help me with fatigue.
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Shallah Kali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 05:49 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Hi I havne't given them a good trial as yet
have been going through a family situation that aggravates several issues so I figured it was a waste of good chia to try it just now. I will start again in a few days with nearly a month supply at the suggested dose (15 gram scoop) left to really test it. I *think* I was feeling a wee bit more energy as I worked up to a scoop before I stopped. It didn't give me any digestive troubles which is a wonder with my touchy gut. I promise to post more when I have done at scoop a day for at least a week. I am hoping that it will do something with the small studies showing it helped keep blood sugar level in diabetics and all the anecdotes from users about increased energy. I don't expect miracles and would be *very* happy with just a partial increase in stamina.

Here are some studies involving Chia Salvia Hispanica via Google Scholar
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tanyev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 05:37 PM
Response to Original message
4. Thanks for posting this information!
I was just looking at a display of chia at the health food store the other day and wondered if it would be worth trying.
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LiberalEsto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 06:08 PM
Response to Original message
5. If there's a Latino grocery near you
check and see if they sell chia seeds.

I discovered that a new Latino market near us sells 12-oz bags of chia seeds for $3.99
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FirstLight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 06:15 PM
Response to Original message
6. hmmmm...very interesting indeed
I bet they help with inflammation too...I'll have to read the links through...

When I first saw this, I was thinking you would eat the sprouts, not the seeds...have you ever heard of that approach?

Loking forward to hearing about your "test" -I could surely use some added "oopmh" as well ! :P
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Shallah Kali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-18-09 09:03 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. I will look into sprouting as I have never tried it with anything before
but then how hard can it be with everyone and their dog growing them on the chia pets :P Sprouted seeds always offer a different bunch of good phytochemicals so it is certainly worth trying chia both ways. Look, for example, at broccoli - very nutritious but broccoli sprouts have many times the good nutrients that fully grown broccoli have.

anything with omega 3s should help with inflammation and while that is not a big issue for me it was one of the reasons I got chia to try. I try to find things that hit multiple issues so I don't need to eat tons of supplements or so-called 'super' foods to get a good effect. Plus if a thing that could help multiple things only helps 1 really good it still might be worth my while :shrug:
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WhiteTara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-21-09 10:54 AM
Response to Original message
8. remember the Chia pets?
you can also sprout the seeds and add to salad, sandwiches...I wouldn't stir fry. They sprout in just a day or two.
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davsand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-23-09 08:30 PM
Response to Original message
9. I slugged down a tablespoon of seeds in about 8 oz of Limeade before dinner tonight.
I decided to give chia seed a try based on what I had read about it, so I bought some at the natural food store tonight. I had read that it is common to mix it in Lime Juice and water--so I gave it a try mixed up in some prepared limeade.

The seed has minimal flavor beyond being just a bit nutty, but I hated that stupid limeade. NEVER again.

I would certainly suggest the seed over cereal or mixed in something, and I have been toying with the idea of using is as a sort of crunchy topping for a baked fish--but no WAY will I ever drink that lime stuff again.

I will say that I have been feeling kinda "rumbly in my tumbly" since dinner, and I am hoping that is due to the spinach salad I had for lunch today rather than the chia seed. I'll keep you all posted.

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