By: Leanne Ely
We are all about smoothies around here right now! A smoothie can make a perfectly healthy meal replacement if you have the right elements in there including some healthy fat, protein and fiber. Believe it or not, the tiny little chia seed can provide all of those things!
Chia is one of the latest super foods to go mainstream, and it’s the same little seed that you remember from the ch-ch-ch-chia pet commercials in the 80s. Of course, we’re talking about food grade chia, not the agricultural variety!
There is evidence that as early as 3500 BC, chia was eaten as a staple food and used as an energy supplement by tribes in Mexico and the southwestern United States.
It has only been recently that the rest of the world has caught on to the amazing power in these tiny chia seeds.
Healthy fats. One 3-tablespoon serving of chia seeds contains 10 grams of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These little chia seeds are full of omega-3 fatty acids, which help to lower our risk of heart disease and stroke. A diet containing daily doses of chia might help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Fiber. There are 13 grams of fiber in a 3-tablespoon serving of chia seeds. Since the recommended daily intake of fiber for adults is between 25 and 38 grams, adding chia to your smoothie is a wonderful way to get a head start on this nutritional requirement!
Protein. That same 3-tablespoon serving of chia seeds contains 6 grams of protein. There’s also 15 grams of carbs in a serving of chia, making it a great natural alternative to performance enhancing sports beverages.
Calcium. Chia seeds are full of calcium. There are 233 milligrams in a 3-tablespoon serving, which is almost the same amount of calcium as found in 1 cup of milk (299 milligrams). Adults should consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day, and a serving of chia is a great, dairy-free source of this mineral.
Chia seeds are gluten free, making them safe for anyone to consume, and they also contain a good amount of iron, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and magnesium.
Because chia seeds bloat when they’re added to liquid, they tend to fill you up, making you feel satisfied after consuming them. For this reason, chia is an excellent food for anyone trying to lose weight.
Use chia seeds in your salads, your daily yogurt or in just about any food you’re eating! You can make a simple breakfast cereal of chia seeds, almond milk and dried fruit for a delicious and healthy treat.
Chia seeds don’t have much of a taste, so it’s easy to get them past the fussiest of eaters.
My favorite way to start the day is with a smoothie! And here’s what I use in my smoothies!