Chia Seed - The Ancient Food of the Future
In the last twenty five
years, there has been a resurrection in the definition of medicine, a resurrection that
amplifies the significance of our eating habits and our lifestyle. Medicine is not only
defined as a treatment for illness and disease, it is now understood to be for the
prevention of illness and disease. That would mean, for example, laughter is a
medicine because research found it to boost the immune system. Exercise is good medicine
for its cardio-vascular stimulation, muscle toning and flexibility and expelling toxins
and for giving you a feeling of well-being, all immune boosters. To express a positive
attitude towards life is not only good medicine for you, it is good medicine for those in
contact with you. But the most important medicine, especially for the prevention of
illness and disease, is our diet. It only needs our cooperation in supplying proper
hydration and the needed nutrients to effectively maintain a state of well-being.
Research has revealed
that more than two thirds of all deaths in the United States are diet related. More than
50% of all deaths are caused from coronary occlusion, blockage of the blood flow to the
heart and/or the brain. These are all preventable deaths according to the Journal of
American Medical Association which published in 1961 that, All coronary occlusion
can be eliminated by 97% through a vegetarian diet. Fourteen hundred Americans
are dying of cancer every day. In the prestigious Advances in Cancer Research, they
concluded, At present, we have overwhelming evidence
(that) none of the risk
factors for cancer is
more significant than diet and nutrition.
Because the question of what might be the optimum diet can, at times, be emotionally
charged for many people, having had a significant emotional commitment in believing they
know whats best, I would like to suspend the issues of diet and introduce you to a
super food that all would agree on. It is known as the Chia Seed. Once valued
so much that it was used as currency, this unique little seed has exceptional nutritive
and structural benefits.
Chia, is familiar to most of us as a seed used for the novelty of the Chia Pet, clay
animals with sprouted Chia seeds covering their bodies. Little is known, however, of the
seeds tremendous nutritional value and medicinal properties. For centuries this tiny
little seed was used as a staple food by the Indians of the south west and Mexico. Known
as the running food, its use as a high energy endurance food has been recorded as far back
as the ancient Aztecs. It was said the Aztec warriors subsisted on the Chia seed during
the conquests. The Indians of the south west would eat as little as a teaspoon full when
going on a 24hr. forced march. Indians running form the Colorado River to the California
coast to trade turquoise for seashells would only bring the Chia seed for their
If you try missing a spoonful of Chia in a glass of water and leaving it for approximately
30 minutes or so, when you return the glass will appear to contain not seeds or water, but
an almost solid gelatin. This gel-forming reaction is due to the soluble fiber in the
Chia. Research believe this same gel-forming phenomenon takes place in the stomach when
food containing these gummy fibers, known as mucilages, are eaten. The gel that is formed
in the stomach creates a physical barrier between carbohydrates and the digestive enzymes
that break them down, thus slowing the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar.
In addition to the obvious benefits for diabetics, this slowing in the conversion of
carbohydrates into sugar offers the ability for creating endurance. Carbohydrates are the
fuel for energy in our bodies. Prolonging their conversion into sugar stabilizes metabolic
changes, diminishing the surges of highs and lows creating a longer duration in their
One of the exceptional qualities of the Chia seed is its hydrophilic properties, having
the ability to absorb more than 12 times its weigh in water. Its ability to hold on to
water offers the ability to prolong hydration. Fluids and electrolytes provide the
environment that supports the life of all the bodys cells. Their concentration and
composition are regulated to remain as constant as possible. With Chia seeds, you retain
moisture, regulate, more efficiently, the bodies absorption of nutrients and body fluids.
Because there is a greater efficiency in the utilization of body fluids, the electrolyte
balance is maintained.
Example: Fluid and electrolyte imbalances occur when large amounts of fluids are lost
resulting from vomiting, diarrhea, high fever, or more commonly from sweating? The loss of
extracellular fluid occurs in these conditions. Intercellular fluid then shifts out of
cells to compensate, causing abnormal distribution of electrolytes across cell membranes
resulting in cellular malfunction. So. Retaining and efficiently utilizing body fluids
maintains the integrity of extracellular fluids, protecting intercellular fluid balance.
The results of which ensure normal electrolyte dispersion across cell membranes
(electrolyte balance), maintaining fluid balances, resulting in normal cellular function.
Chia seeds are the definitive hydrophilic colloid for the 21 century diet. Hydrophilic
colloids, (a watery, gelatinous, glue-like substance) form the underlying elements of all
living cells. They posses the property of readily taking up and giving off the substances
essential to cell life. The precipitation of the hydrophilic colloids cause cell death.
The food we eat, in the raw state, consist largely of hydrophilic colloids. When cooked on
the other had, precipitates its colloidal integrity. This change in the colloidal state
alters the hydration capacity of our foods so as to interfere with their ability to absorb
digestive juices. If we were to eat a raw diet we wouldnt need to introduce the
addition of any hydrophilic colloid to our diet. Uncooked foods contain sufficient
hydrophilic colloid to keep gastric mucosa in the proper condition. But even with raw
foods, they must first be partially broken down by the digestive juices, beginning in the
mouth and continuing through he upper tract, to allow the gelatinous reaction to take
place. Because of this upper tract digestive process, those who suffer from slow
digestion, gas formation, relaxed cardia and heartburn in which the burning is due to
organic acids instead of an excess of the normal hydrochloric acid, which frequently
accompanies chronic inflammation disease affecting such organs as the heart, lungs, gall
bladder and appendix, are usually restricted from eating raw foods. A hydrophilic colloid
incorporated with these foods may be used either in connection with the patients regular
food or with whatever diet the physician feels is best suited for his patient. The
patient with gastric atony or nervous indigestion who complains of heartburn and/or
vomiting four to five hours after eating is often helped. There is a lessening of
emptying time if the stomach and an improvement in gastric tone. A strict dietary
regimen is at as necessary when the hydrophilic.
Chia seed may be used in
conjunction with almost any diet your doctor or nutritionist feels is necessary for your
condition. The Chias hydrophilic colloidal properties aid the digestion of any
foods contributing to the patients suffering as a result of a sour stomach. Even if
you have sensitivity to certain foods, they may be tolerated with slight discomfort or
none at all if a hydrophilic colloid is made a part of your diet. The positive
effects on the digestion in the upper portion of the gastrointestinal tract often leads to
puree their foods may find benefits from hydrophilic colloids which may lead to
eliminating the necessity for pureeing. Even raw vegetables, green salads and
fruits, which are largely restricted, may often be given to these patients with little or
no discomfort after a short time.
There are several
hydrophilic foods available that offer these natural benefits. Cactus juice, beet
juice, agar, the edible seaweeds, and many proprietary preparations, which include the
silica gels, mucilaginous substance of vegetables origin, are among colloids that prove
effective. Each one of the above mentioned substances have one or more drawbacks.
They are either too expensive, they may produce toxic side effects, bad tasting,
not readily available, insufficient hydration capability, or it is indigestible.
Chia seed, a muscle and
tissue builder and an energizer of endurance with extensive hydration properties,
possesses none of the above disadvantage, and because if its physiochemical properties,
supports effective treatment in immediate problems of digestion. Exactly why this
should be true may be puzzling at first. However, if we consider the effect of
unusual irritation upon the nerves of the gastrointestinal canal, it is reasonable the
think that a less violent and more balanced digestion might quiet the activity of the
otherwise hyperactive gut. Inasmuch as the same foods, which formerly produced
irritation, may frequently be continued without harm when hydrophilic colloids are used.
The relief to nerve irritation seems to offer a logical explanation.
The change, in the lower
gastrointestinal tract, is due to the effect of the hydrophilic colloid and to a more
complete digestion-taking place along the entire tract due to physiochemical alterations.
Both factors are important, as there is undoubtedly a better assimilation of food
that supports enhanced nutritional absorption while significantly extending necessary
hydration as well as encouraging proper elimination.
As a source of protein,
the Chia, after ingestion, is digested and absorbed very easily. This results in
rapid transport to the tissue and utilization by the cells. This efficient
assimilation makes the Chia very effective when rapid development of tissue takes place,
primarily during growth periods if children and adolescents. Also for the growth and
regeneration of tissue during pregnancy and lactation, and this would also include
regeneration of muscle tissue for conditioning, athletes, weight lifters, etc.
Another unique quality if
the Chia seed is its high oil content, and the richest vegetables source for the essential
omega-3 fatty acid. It has approximately three to ten times the oil concentrations
of most grains and one and a half to two times the protein concentrations of other grains.
These oils, unsaturated fatty acids, are the essential oils your body needs to help
emulsify and absorb the fat soluble vitamins, A, D, E, & K. Chia seeds are rich
in the unsaturated fatty acid, linoleic, which the body cannot manufacture. When
there are rich amounts of linoleic acid sufficiently supplied to the body trough diet,
linoleic and arachidonic acids can be synthesized from linoleic acid.
Unsaturated fatty acids
are important for respiration of vital organs and make it easier for oxygen to be
transported by the blood stream to all cells, tissues, and organs. They also help maintain
resilience and lubrication of all cells and combine with protein and cholesterol to form
living membranes that hold the body cells together.
Unsaturated fatty acids
are essential for normal glandular activity, especially of the adrenal glands and the
thyroid glad. They nourish the skin cells and are essential for healthy mucus
membranes and nerves. The unsaturated fatty acids function in the body by
cooperating with vitamin D in making calcium available to the tissues, assisting in the
assimilation of phosphorus, and stimulating the conversion of carotene into vitamin A.
Fatty acids are related to normal functioning of the reproductive system.
Chia sees contain beneficial long-chain triglycerides (LCT) in the right proportion to
reduce cholesterol on arterial walls.
The Chia seed is also a
rich source of calcium as it contains the important mineral boron, which acts as catalyst
for the absorption and utilization of the calcium by the body.
Chia, as an ingredient,
is a dieters dream food. There are limitless ways to incorporate the Chia seed into
your diet. Chia must be prepared with pure water before using recipes. The
seed will absorb 9 times its weight in water in less than 10 minutes and is very
simple to prepare.
Food Extender/Calorie Displacer: The optimum
ratio of water to seed, for most recipes, is 9 part water to 1 part seed. One pound
if seed will make 10 pounds of Chia gel. This is the most unique structural quality
of the Chia seed. The seeds hydrophilic (water absorbing) saturated cells hold
the water, so when it is mixed with foods, it displaces calories and fat without diluting
flavor. In fact, I have found that because Chia gel displaces rather than dilutes,
it creates more surface area and can actually enhance the flavor rather than dilute it.
Chia gel also works as a fat replacer for many recipes.
Making Chia Gel (9to1 ratio): Put water in a sealable plastic container and slowly pour
seed into water while briskly mixing with a wire whisk. This process will avoid any
clumping of the seed. Wait a couple of minutes, whisk again and let stand for 5 to
10 minutes. Whisk again before using or storing in refrigerator (Gel will keep up to
2 weeks). You can add this mix to jams, jellies, hot or cold cereals, yogurts, mustard,
catsup, tarter sauce, BBQ sauce, etc.. Add the gel, between 50% to 75% by volume, to
any of the non-bake mentioned foods, mix well and taste. You will notice a very smooth
texture with the integrity of the flavour intact. In addition to adding up to 50% to 75%
more volume to the foods used, you have displaced calories and fat by incorporating an
ingredient that is 90% water. Use as a fat replacer, for energy and endurance, or for
added great taste, buy substituting the oil in your breads with Chia gel. Top your
favorite bread dough before baking with Chia gel (for toping on baked goods, breads,
cookies, piecrust, etc., reduce the water ration to 8 parts water to 1 part Chia seed) for
added shelf life.
There are additional benefits from the Chia seed aside from the nutritive enhancements
when used as an ingredient. It was also used by the Indians and missionaries as a poultice
for gunshot wounds and other serious injuries. They would pack the wounds with Chia seeds
to avoid infections and promote haling. If you place a seed or two in your eyes it will
clean your eyes and will also help to clear up any infections. There is a wealth of
benefits beyond the information outlined in this article and treasure-trove of benefits
yet to be discovered. Chia seed, having a qualitatively unique situational richness along
with a profound nutritive profile is one of mans most useful and beneficial foods
and is destined to be the Ancient Food of the Future.
"There is Truth in the information outlined
in this article. Truth flows with the fluidity and ease as the valleys river. Each
drop, as with each word flows as the river in the Truth that reaches to and becomes the
" -Wm. Anderson
To Purchase Chia Seeds, Click here.
Want to learn more about chia seeds? Purchase the
||Magic of Chia : Revival of an Ancient Wonder
by James F. Scheer
In the Magic of Chia,
authority James F. Scheer details the seed's abundant nutrients: calcium, amylose (a
slow-burning starch helpful for hypoglycemics), a vast array of vitamins and minerals, and
an unusually good ratio of omega-3 oil to omega-6 oil. The book reintroduces this wonder
food to the modern palate, with numerous tested recipes for using chia.
Included is the never-before-told story about the twenty-year program to domesticate the
wild chia and, for the first time in modern history, grow it in large enough quantities to
supply the U.S. and world markets.