We have all seen trendy foods that come and go in a blaze of glory. Whatever is the “hot” food at the moment gets all the attention, praise and incorporated into every dish under the sun. Is chia another one of these hipster gimmicks? Many of us remember the Chia Pet, and would never have thought of eating the precious seeds of our ch-ch-ch-chia! Long before chia became popular in every food blogger’s Instagram feed, or used as a goofy decoration, it was cultivated by the Mayans and Aztecs and could have been as important a crop as maize! Find out why chia has endured as such a small yet powerful food, and how you can try it yourself at the Starving Actor in Los Angeles.
So what is chia, exactly? Do I need a cool beard to eat it? Chia (or Salvia Hispanica) is part of the mint family and native to central America. This herb can grow up to 5 feet tall with purple or white flowers. Chia is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and the seeds yield 25-30 percent extractable oil. Chia seeds are tiny, only about 1mm in diameter, and resemble poppy seeds. Chia seeds are hydrophilic, and can absorb up to 12 times their weight in liquid! This makes them useful for thickening and bulking up dishes. Still don’t feel a need for chia seeds? Read on to see how incredibly nutritious these little guys are!
Folklore has always regarded chia seeds as energy boosters, and these small seeds pack in not only omega-3s, but carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants and calcium. 1 ounce of chia seeds, just two tablespoons, packs in 4 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat and 137 calories. Chia seeds are one of the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet. Legends surround the use of chia seeds as some of the earliest performance enhancers, maybe this is where the Mayan ball game players got their energy? Chia seeds shouldn’t be discarded as just a new, trendy “superfood” but really deserve a permanent place in our diets as a nutritionally packed powerhouse.
Unlike flax seeds, our bodies are able to process chia seeds without grinding them first. They can last up to two years without refrigeration, due to the high levels of antioxidants they contain. Chia seeds are high in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which our bodies cannot produce on their own. ALA’s have been linked to numerous health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, protecting the liver, being anti-inflammatory and supporting healthy cholesterol.
Is your interest in trying chia seeds finally piqued? There is an easy way at the Starving Actor- in the form of our lemonade with chia seeds! The only thing better than cold, sweet-tart lemonade is the addition of a nutritional punch of chia. This is just one amazing offering at the Starving Actor in Los Angeles, where we serve comfort food with love! We are committed to bringing the freshest foods and most delicious meals to the Los Angeles population. We hope we can entice you to try chia seeds, and maybe you will fall in love with these ancient, powerful seeds!