by Amanda Sperry
Chia seeds have been growing in popularity for some time now. Edible chia seeds come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, which is a member of the mint family. The plant is native to Mexico and Guatemala and history shows that the seeds were more than likely an important crop for the Aztecs. There has been evidence of chia seed’s positive health effects including a boost in energy, stabilization of blood sugar, digestion aid, and cholesterol lowering effects. Like most foods, to get the most out of chia seeds, they need to be consumed in their whole, natural state. Supplements or oils may not contain all of the natural, beneficial nutrients. Chia seeds can be easily added to any kind of food. They can be sprinkled raw into cereals, salads, soups, added into bread and muffin recipes, and even mixed in with water to make a thick gel. It is recommended that 15 grams or one tablespoon of chia seeds be eaten every day. Since chia seeds are so high in fiber, it is equally important to consume lots of water when eating them.
5 simple reasons to make chia seeds a part of your diet:
1. Chia seeds are gluten free.
2. Tryptophan, an amino acid found in turkey, is also found in chia seeds. Tryptophan helps regulate appetite, sleep and improve mood.
3. They contain 20% Omega-3 fatty acids, making them a superb food for the brain and heart. (More than Salmon!)
4. They have a positive impact in balancing blood glucose levels and improving blood pressure (making it awesome for diabetics).
5. Chia seeds make a great egg replacement. Just combine with water to form a gel, and add it to recipes that call for egg.
Easy Recipe: Lemon Chia Seed Muffins
- 2 cups flour
- 3 Tbls chia seeds
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 8 Tbls butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup Greek vanilla yogurt (non fat)
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 – 2 Tbls fresh lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 12 cup muffin tin with non stock spray or liners.
- In a small bowl combine flour, chia seeds, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing well each addition. Mix in lemon zest and vanilla. Using a spatula mix in the flour and yogurt until just combined. Fill muffin tins about ⅔ of the way full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for a few minutes, before removing to a wire rack.
- While the muffins are cooling prepare the glaze. Whisk together the lemon juice and powdered sugar until smooth. Drizzle a little over the top of each muffin. Allow glaze to set before serving.
Adapted from Nutmeg Nanny