What Is Chia Juice and Should You Drink It?

You may have seen them around the health food store, but what are they?
06/05/2014 02:36 pm ET Updated Aug 05, 2014

I have to confess: I love chia. I mean the seeds, not the pets. The pets always weirded me out, but chia seeds are amazing. You may have seen them around the health food store, but what are they?

Chia seeds actually are related to the mint family, and come from the plant Salvia hispanica. Chia is native to Guatemala, Mexico, and California. It has been said that the Aztec warriors cultivated this crop so they could use it as a great energy source during their hunting and gathering times. Chia is still used in Guatemala, Mexico, Argentina, Paraguay, and Bolivia as a nutritious food and drink source.

In recent times, chia has exploded onto the integrative medicine scene because of its numerous health benefits. It is classified as a superfood and is touted as a source of energy, weight management, hydration, strengthened immunity, and overall health and wellness. Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants and contain more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon.

Chia has more calcium by weight than milk. It is fortified in vitamins and minerals such as iron, potassium, folate, copper, and zinc. Chia is cholesterol free and gluten free, and because it is high in fiber and keeps you full for long periods of time, thus aiding in weight management.

Chia is also a very complete source of protein. It sounds unreal -- too good to be true -- but like quinoa, this is something that you should absolutely consider incorporating into your daily diet.

Chia juice is -- obviously -- made using chia seeds. Chia juice is a fantastic energy drink, and the seeds do not need to be ground. They are great for hydration because they hold up to 10 times their weight in water.

You can rehydrate chia seeds by combining one part chia with about four parts warm water, then allowing the seeds to plump up.

I've got some great chia drinks I would like to share with you. You can be as creative as you want and add your own twists. You can add these seeds to just about anything: smoothies, tea, almond or soy milks, the list goes on... just adding a tablespoon of them to your treats will give you immense benefits. Drinking chia is like you perpetually detoxifying your body. Salud!

What is Chia Juice and Should You Drink It?

-- Dr. Verma, The Daily Meal

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