Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Chia Seeds for Your Health and Wellness
People looking for the most perfect natural food need look no further than the chia seed to satisfy their demands. Harvested from salvia hispanica plants, chia seeds have been recognized as a valuable food for thousands of years, and they were used as a form of currency by the ancient Mayans. Taxes and tribute to royalty and religious leaders could be paid in chia seeds. The ancient Aztec and Mayan warriors fearlessly traversed the forbidding jungles of South America subsisting only on chia seeds and some water, often fortifying themselves with a handful of seeds before going into battle. With the fall of these civilizations, the chia seed eventually fell into obscurity, its existence and amazing nutritional benefits known only to the indigenous people who have been harvesting the seeds for millennia.
With the rediscovery of the chia seed in the latter part of the 20th century, scientists, nutritionists, and herbalists all over the world unanimously agree that it is one of the most nutrient dense foods in the world. It contains significant amounts of both protein and carbohydrates, as well as vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants.
What's especially surprising about the chia seed is that it contains so much of these substances and compounds when compared to your everyday, run-of-the-mill fruits and vegetables. To put things into perspective, a gram for gram comparison of chia seeds and other nutritional foods reveals that chia seeds contain 6 times more protein than kidney beans, 4 times more selenium than flax seeds, twice the amount of dietary fiber normally found in bran flakes, thrice the amount of iron in spinach, two times more potassium than bananas, and nine times more phosphorous than whole milk. It also has 15 times the amount of magnesium content of broccoli, over thrice the amount of antioxidants as blueberries, 6 times the amount of calcium of milk, and 8 times the amount of omega-3 fatty acids found in pink salmon. To top it off, it contains large amounts of B-vitamins, and is completely gluten-free.
The quality of nutrition imparted by chia seeds is a big bonus. Most healthy foods are enjoyed in moderation because they can have their own unpleasant and unhealthy side effects when consumed in overly-large quantities. For example, drinking too much red wine, a good source of antioxidants and heart healthy substances, will eventually damage your liver. Fish oil is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, but eating too much can lead to weight gain. And taking artificial supplements to get the same levels of nutrition can be just as risky. In a recent case, a fish oil supplement meant to boost consumers' levels of omega-3 essential fatty acids was found to be contaminated with unacceptably high levels of toxic chemicals. These are risks that simply do not exist with chia seeds because they are all natural, and have no known negative side effects.
As an additional bonus to all this good nutrition, chia seeds, once consumed, form a gel in the digestive system that effectively regulates the body's metabolism to make more efficient use of the body's energy. Athletes, diabetics, weight-watchers, and anyone who wants to lead a healthier lifestyle are all eager to experience chia seeds' benefits for themselves.
And enjoying all these nutritional benefits is easier than you think. While most health foods have strong and distinct flavors that are difficult to mix with other foods, chia on the other hand, has a mild, nutty flavor that can easily be mixed into almost any dish. They're small enough to sprinkle directly on your meals, can be crushed into flour for mixing into any number of baked goodies, and can even be eaten on their own. Chia seeds also make a great addition to any beverage, from plain water to smoothies and shakes. A handful of chia seeds can go a long way towards making any lifestyle much happier and healthier.
Hidalgofoods has made its mission to make such nutritional food more available to everybody, and is determined to supply only the highest quality chia seeds in both wholesale and retail quantities. We offer chia seeds in black and white varieties. White chia seeds occur much less frequently than black chia seeds, but both types are nutritionally identical. However, white chia seeds may sometimes be preferred precisely because of their rarity as well as their aesthetic value. As part of Hidalgo Foods' dedication to making healthy choices easier for our customers to make, we supply only chia seeds that have been grown organically and without the use of GMOs. As a further assurance to our customers' safety, we ensure that our products are uncontaminated by toxic chemicals such as herbicides or pesticides.