When someone says “Chia”, what’s the first thing that pops into your mind? For millions, the answer is “Chia Pet!” Many probably have the “ch-ch-ch-CHIA” song rolling around in their heads right now. What many don’t know is that Chia has more uses than just “pets that grow”. Chia is incredibly nutritious and truly deserves the “superfood” label.
Chia, or Salvia Hispanica, is known today as the forgotten crop. Domesticated in 2.600 BC, chia is a flowering plant native to southern Mexico and Central America. It was cultivated by the Mayans and Aztecs and one of the main foods of their diet and was even used as trade currency. Aztec warriors and runners are said to have sustained themselves on just a tablespoon of chia seeds a day, providing them with abundant energy and endurance.
Because of the plant’s ability to increase stamina and energy over long periods, chia seeds were considered quite magical. Due to its superior nutritional value, chia became a holy seed among these ancient civilizations, used in religious ceremonies and offered to their gods.
Related to the mint plant family, there are two varieties, white chia and black chia. Chia oil is a component of many ointments due to its emollient properties. Each seed is potent enough to prevent infections, with 19-23% protein, which is gluten free, 34% oil and 25% fiber. Chia seeds offer an excellent source of B vitamins and they are loaded with important Omega-3, 6 and 9 fatty acids and antioxidants.
Omega Fatty Acids
Chia has 3 times the amount of Omega-3 fatty acids as salmon! Omega-3 is important to balance out Omega-6 fatty acids and promotes healthy:
• Immune system
• Skin and coat
• Brain development and maintenance
• Eye development and maintenance
And it reduces inflammation too. Two tablespoons of chia seeds provide a 3 to 1 ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6. fatty acids
Increasing dietary fiber can help when bowel movements are a concern. Fiber will alleviate constipation, generate regularity and help in weight loss. Dogs that suffer from impacted anal sacs will also benefit from more fiber. Chia seeds provide 34 grams of fiber per 100 grams of seeds.
Endurance, Weight Loss And Diabetes Support In One Package
Chia can absorb 10 times its own weight in water and generates a gel which can be consumed. The gel slows the conversion of carbohydrates into sugars. Stable blood sugar levels contribute to naturally high levels of energy. By doing so, chia supports normal insulin function and sensitivity, blood sugar regulation and glucose tolerance. The added benefit of slowing down digestion enables full absorption of nutrients while dogs feel satiated longer.
Due to the highly absorbent qualities of chia, fresh water should always be available.
Chia contains more calcium than whole milk, more iron than raw spinach and more magnesium than broccoli. Chia is non-allergenic too and an excellent source of phosphorus, potassium, copper, iron and zinc.
Chia stores very easily for long durations, unlike its competitor flax seed. There is no taste or scent for even the pickiest of dogs to turn their noses up at. The dosage is quite potent, with only 1 teaspoon for small dogs or 2 teaspoons for large, or 1/4 teaspoon for every 10 pounds of your dog’s body weight. Feed in seed form, soaked in water or ground; sprinkle on top or mix into food. Look for milled, organic chia seeds whenever possible.