Boosting Nutrition with Chia
There is considerable hype surrounding the chia seed as a nutrient packed super-food that can be easily added to anyone’s diet. It has no flavor and will not affect the taste of the food you add it to. Children will never notice that you have snuck this into their favorite meals – including desert!
The Chia seed helps to stabilize blood sugar levels as it slows the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar. This is especially beneficial for children as it helps regulate their energy levels throughout the course of a day. The Chia seed assists in increasing nutrient absorption and improves elimination. Finally, it is also said to prevent indigestion and heartburn.
In order to provide you with some perspective on how nutritious these seeds are, the following are some powerful nutritional comparisons:
They have 9 times the amount of omega-3 found in salmon.
They have 5 times more calcium than whole milk
They have 6 times more protein than soy & 2 times more protein than grains (wheat, oats..)
They have 15 times more magnesium than broccoli
They have 2 times more fiber than bran flakes
They have 2 times the amount of potassium in bananas
They have 3 times the antioxidant strength of blueberries
They have 3 times more iron than spinach.
Additional benefits of Chia Seeds are as follows:
They contains boron which enhances calcium absorption
They are rich in B vitamins (especially Riboflavin, Niacin, and Thiamin)
They are Gluten- Free.
Chia seeds can be added to yogurt, muffins, breads, pancakes, smoothies, salads, and cereals. In addition, when you are using butter in your baked recipes, you can use chia gel to replace half the butter and the taste will not change!
To get started, check out this Blueberry Muffin recipe for your kids!
Unfortunately, as always, regardless of what we consume, there often tends to be some studies showing potential risks associated with what we are consuming as part of our diet. Based on some limited studies, the following side effects may be associated with Chia seeds and should be noted:
They may cause gas and bloating due to their high fiber content
They make act as allergens
The Omega-3 content may thin the blood
They may potentially increase the risk of prostate cancer in men
They may lower diastolic blood pressure
They may be addictive (there have been warnings for heart patients to avoid chia)
There is insufficient research conducted on the effects of chia on the fetus & baby of pregnant & breastfeeding mothers
Once again, being a knowledgeable consumer helps us make informed decisions about the foods we eat!