Cha cha chia

Posted on June 15, 2011


One of the superfoods in the classic Born to Run book are chia seeds. I remember listening with interest and making a mental note to check them out and since then, my friend Anja and her hubbie Allan have recommended them, as have countless health and nutrition views and reviews.

So off I went a few weeks ago in search of some seeds myself and found them practically on my doorstep at the Organic Food & Café in the Greens. I’ve diligently added a tablespoon to my porridge every morning since although there are plenty of other ways to enjoy them.

My findings as follows:

  • Chia is an ancient superfood but it’s currently undergoing a bit of a renaissance hence its newfound position in the limelight
  • A member of the sage family, the word ‘chia’ is the Mayan word for strength
  • The seeds were first used as a mega-energy food and were carried in little pouches by running messengers amongst the Inca, Aztec and Mayan tribes in order to improve their endurance and strength levels
  • They look just like little poppy seeds … or if bought ground, like cinnamon but they taste of not very much at all making them super easy to incorporate into your diet whether sprinkled on cereal or salads, blended into smoothies or added to muffin mix
  • Their nutritional profile is so outstanding, they fall off the charts:

2x the protein of any other seed or grain
5x the calcium of milk plus boron which is a trace mineral that helps transfer calcium into your bones
2x the potassium in bananas
3x the antioxidant strength of blueberries
3x more iron than spinach
copious amounts of essential fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6

  • They are a complete source of protein, providing all the essential amino acids in an easily digestible form and are also a fabulous source of soluble fibre. Like flax, chia seeds are highly hydrophilic; they can hold 9-12 times their weight in water and absorb it in under 10 minutes. This exceptional water-absorption quality is one of the reasons why they’re so popular amongst runners as they help to prolong hydration and retain electrolytes
  • The tribes who first discovered the marvels of chia seeds also used them for medicinal purposes; for weight balance, thyroid problems, hypoglycemia, diabetes, IBS and more

As for my experience to date? Never being one to lack energy, it’s difficult to quantify the good they are doing.  But I do know that despite a real increase in my mileage recently and with the onset of the Dubai summer, when in the past I’ve felt sluggish, I’m still leaping out of bed each morning and feeling like a freshly hatched spring chicken. This combined with all my research and I am fast becoming a firm believer in chia seeds.

Try them … cha cha chia to your heart’s content and reap the benefits. So much to gain and absolutely nothing to lose other than the time and effort to go to the Organics Store and even then, you’ll find you spend ages browsing the shelves and leaving with a host of fabulous goodies that you suddenly deem essential for your diet!



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