Sunday, June 26, 2011

Agua de Chia

Chia is a flowering plant that is native to Mexico and Guatemala. It was cultivated by the Aztecs and Mayans in pre-Colombian times and was a main component of their diet. Aztec warriors used Chia as their main source of fuel during conquests. Chia is derived from the Nahuatl (language of the Aztecs) word, chian, meaning oily. The Mexican state of Chiapas received its name from Nahuatl and means "oily water or river." It was a major crop in central Mexico between 1500 and 900 B.C. and was still cultivated well into the 16th century, but after the Spanish conquest, authorities banned it because of its close association with Aztec religion (Indians used the seeds as offerings in rituals). Recently, commercial production has resumed in Latin America, and you can now buy the seeds online and in health food stores.
When chia seeds are combined with liquid (like water, milk, juice or yogurt), they form a gel due to the soluble fiber that they contain. This may have some benefit in terms of weight loss (although the research in this area is scant) by helping you feel fuller longer and also by delaying the increase in blood sugar of foods that you consume which contain chia seeds. Chia seeds provide many health benefits. The seeds contain one of the highest known plant sources of essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6). It is very important that we get enough EFAs to support our immune, cardiovascular, nervous and reproductive systems. EFAs are known to make cell membranes more flexible and nerve transmission more efficient. This helps to improve brain function (including memory and concentration). Chia seeds are an excellent source of antioxidants containing even more antioxidants than fresh blueberries. The high amounts of antioxidants in chia seeds also keeps the oils from going rancid - contributing to a long shelf life. Chia seeds also provide fiber, iron, calcium, niacin, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus. Two tablespoons of Chia = 7 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein, 205 milligrams of calcium, 5 grams omega-3.

Agua de Chia (Click here for printable recipe)

Recipe Source: Adapted from Paletas by Fany Gerson Agua de Chia 3 large limes 4 cups of water ½ cup of sugar 2 TBSP of chia seeds -Cut the limes and half and squeeze the juice out of each half. Add cold water and sugar to the lime juice. Stir until sugar is dissolved. -Add the chia seeds and stir. Wait at least 10 minutes before serving so that the chia seeds plump up and develop a gelatin exterior. -Refrigerate until ready to serve. Stir before serving and then pour over ice.

Makes…about 5 cups

1 comment:

  1. Flax seeds and chia seeds are great sources for Omega 3. The benefit of flax seed and the benefit of chia seeds are many. Both flax seed and chia seeds contain fiber, Omega-3 and lignans. This helps lower cholesterol and can also benefit people at risk for diabetes by regulating blood sugar by slowing down the body's absorption of sugar. Flax seed and chia seeds are also both great sources for antioxidants.