The Mayan’s Best Kept Secret: Navitas’s Chia Seeds
Written by: Jeremy Strav Madhavan
Many of us consume some type of seed on a daily basis – various legumes, beans and nuts are all popular ingredients included in many forms of Singaporean cuisine. Not only do seeds add an uneven, crunchy texture to a dish, they provide a hearty dose of fiber, iron, protein and even folate into our diets. However, Chia seeds are an entirely different beast when it comes to sheer nutritional content.
Ironically, while Chia seeds are one of the most recent foodstuffs to be given the superfood label, they probably have the longest tenure within ancient history as a food with incredible nutritional qualities. The name “Chia” has its roots from the ancient Mayan word for “Strength”, a highly prized ingredient within the Aztec culture said to provide one with sustainable energy. In fact, the Mendoza Codex (an Aztec historical codex containing records of various Aztec rulers and their exploits) indicates that the plant was widely cultivated by shamans and was an premium item of tribute within Mayan civilization.
Through the wonders of technology, Navitas has packaged this mystical ingredient into a convenient, affordable packet! And while the Aztecs knew that chia seeds were incredibly nutritious and beneficial to health, I’d wager they didn’t have scientists breaking down exactly why. Well, luckily, we do! Let’s take a closer look at the chia seed and how it interacts with our body.
Omega 3-Fatty Acids
In our health conscious modern society, virtually all of us have taken an Omega 3 supplement at some point of our lives. Remember those oval shaped yellow looking globes of fish oil that our parents would constantly nag at us to eat daily at breakfast? They’re filled with Omega 3 fish-extract which reduces our triglyceride levels, slow arterial clogging and helps us maintain a healthy blood pressure – all tremendous boons to our cardiovascular system. The fishes with the highest naturally occurring Omega 3-fatty acid content are commonly salmon, mackerel and tuna. Yet, amazingly, Chia seeds contain gram-for-gram more Omega 3s than any one of those fish. And they provide that whilst evading the common complaint of a fishy aftertaste or bad breath from extract-based supplements.
We’ve already established that chia seeds have a high amount of fiber. What’s important to note is that fiber is the main component of food we consume that makes us full, much like carbohydrates. This is a byproduct of the porous nature of fiber – it absorbs large amounts of water within our stomachs and consequently increases its volume, essentially tricking our stomachs into thinking we’re full. It also slows the rate in which we digest and absorb what we consume, resulting in us being less hungry throughout the day and less likely to succumb to the munchies.
While Chia seeds themselves don’t have an instant appetite suppressant quality unlike some stimulant-based energy products, long-term and healthy weight loss is primarily achieved through attaining a balanced low-calorie diet, especially when combined with exercise and a proper sleep-cycle. Unhealthy crash diets where the body’s appetite is subdued through chemical means often result in some form of loss of muscle mass and a drop in metabolism; a disastrous recipe for putting on even more weight once you resume your regular eating patterns. Navitas’s Naturals chia seed mix is the perfect complement in designing a diet that cuts calories by consuming smaller meals at regular timings throughout the day.
The all-important taste section. In preparation for this article (and, I admit, with a hint of trepidation), I travelled to my kitchen and made myself a chia seed infused blueberry smoothie, with a couple tablespoons of protein powder and just a touch of sweetener. Here’s what i found – Chia seeds are “hydrophillic”, able to absorb liquid and form something resembling a gel-like texture. This provided a unique blended texture and created an uneven mouthfeel with its mild, nutty flavor mixed in with the sour blueberry juice. Think of how the cream in a caramel macchiato enhances the experience of drinking a coffee by providing opposing textures, and you’ll get a rough sense of what chia seeds can add to meals such as breakfast cereals or even baked goods. Don’t miss out and try some soon!
Purchase now at: http://gofresh.com.sg/product/navitas-chia-seeds-organic-450g/