What are Chai seeds? Well, it’s one of the true super foods that Dr. Oz talks about on this Show. That’s how I first heard about them. So I Googled the history:
Chia was first used by the Aztecs as early as 3500 B.C. and was a cash crop in the center of Mexico between 1500 and 900 B.C. Chia was harvested in the Valley of Mexico between 2600 and 2000 B.C. by the Teotihuacan and Toltec civilizations and was one of the main components of the Aztec diet.
Pre-Columbian civilizations used chia as a raw material for medicines, nutritional compounds. Chia was used by the Aztecs as food, mixed with other foods, mixed in water and drunk as a beverage, ground into flour, included in medicines, and pressed for oil. Chia flour could be stored for many years and could be easily carried on long trips, serving as a high-energy food. The Aztecs also offered chia to the gods during religious ceremonies.
When the Spanish conquerors landed the new land in 1500’s, they repressed the natives, and suppressed their traditions and commercialization system that had existed. Many crops that had held a major position in pre-Columbian American diets were banned by the Spanish because of their close association with religion. Chia, as the result, was deliberately eliminated. Chia survived in parts of Mexico for the last 500 years.
It wasn’t until early 1990’s, a group of American and south American scientists, nutritionists and agriculturalists began collaborating on commercial production of chia in Argentina, in the hope of rediscovering the lost nutritional plants in the Aztec tradition and civilizations.
At present, chia is grown in Argentina, Mexico, Peru, and Bolivia. Chia seeds are now also grown in Australia by The Chia company, and Australia is quite likely to become the biggest chia growing country in the world.
O.K., you ask, but why eat chai? On the Dr. Oz Show, he showed everyone how two tablespoons of seeds in a glass of water will begin to gel and then you drink it as soon as you see it thicken. Chai seeds will absorb 12 times its weight in water and if you let it sit it becomes a thick liquid, almost solid in about 15 minutes. When I drink it, when it first starts to gel, it tastes like a glass of cold water, the seeds are very small, like a seed from a raspberry but softer. In your stomach, the seeds gel together and take up enough room in your stomach that you feel full. But it doesn’t stay a lump, your stomach acid processes Chai just like other food and Chai is a great source of nutrition.
Chia seeds are superior to other plant and marine sources of Omega 3 – the essential fatty acid, it is low in sodium, high in protein, lipids, fibre and antioxidants, fewer carbs than most other grains, it is valued as an ideal energy source for athletic endurance, and now called a “Super food”.
* Omega 3
Chia seed has 8 times more omega 3 than salmon, more importantly, chia doesn’t contain cholesterol and toxic heavy metal components as fish and other marine or animal products.
Chia seed contains 5 times more calcium than milk.
Chia seed possesses 23 percent protein, this is higher than other traditional cereals such as wheat(13.7 %), corn(9.4 %), rice(6.5 %), oats(16.9 percent) and barley(12.5 %).
Comparing the fibre content of chia, it has 1.6, 2.3, 2.6, 8.3 and 9.8 times more fibre per 100 grams of an edible portion than barley, wheat, oats, corn and rice, respectively.
Comparing iron content of chia seed with other traditional iron-rich sources products, chia seed has 6, 1.8, and 2.4 times more iron per 100 grams of edible portion than spinach, lentils, and beef liver.
* Antioxidants and vitamins and minerals
Chia contains high portion of antioxidants, and that makes it a very stable source of omega 3, and enables us to store chia seed and flour for extended periods of time without becoming rancid. Chia seed is also a good source of B vitamins.
Average per 10g
Average per 100g
When I buy Chai Seeds I go to “Sprouts” and go to the bulk food bins. If you buy by the ounce, it’s cheaper. “Whole Foods” also has it in bulk.
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