Chia seeds are amazing. High in protein, fibre, omega-3 fatty acids (including high amounts of alpha-linolenic acid), antioxidants, calcium, iron, manganese and phosphorous. They also have that nifty little ability to soak up water and get all gelatinous and such. This is the soluble fibre soaking up all the water and making a gel coating over the seed, forming a barrier between carbohydrates and digestive enzymes, thus slowing the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar.
So what? It means chia seeds are an ultra hydrating endurance food. The seeds become a super slow release energy source, avoiding the usual blood glucose highs and lows, while the gel retains up to 12 times the chia seeds' weight in water, hydrating you and helping maintain your electrolyte balance - especially handy during prolonged physical exercise. The book "Born to Run" describes how the Tarahumara running people would sustain themselves with Chia on their many-hundred-mile runs. Other Native Americans, on the trade route from the Colorado River to California, would bring only Chia seed for sustenance. Chia seeds were so valued by the Native Americans that they were even used as a form of currency!
So how can we eat them? Let me count the ways! Smoothies, puddings, porridge, baking, cereals... you can check out more nutritional info and recipes in my Chia Seed Superfood post, but for now, behold: The quickest, easiest way to get chia into your diet and stay hydrated and energised during the summer months:
Who would have thought - adding seeds to your summer beverage could actually make for a refreshing, delightfully textured drink. The gelatinous film around the seed means they go down effortlessly. This is the basic recipe, but there is no reason you can't get adventurous! Pomegranate, coconut water, elderflower, pieces of strawberry, ginger, apple, cucumber.... the options are endless to make your own creative nutrient packed summer beverages!
Ingredients for one glass:
Ingredients for one pitcher:
Mix all ingredients and stir well. Leave for 5-10 minutes to allow the chia seeds to soak up water. Stir occasionally so the seeds don't settle.
Sit back, relax and enjoy! ... CHIAS! (*clink*)
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