Chia seeds are very fashionable. Everyone talks about them, their benefits and how to introduce it into the diet of adults, pregnant women, children and even babies, but why is it so famous? The secret is in the properties it has. These are the superpowers of chia seeds for kids.
Chia is actually a plant, what we know as chia is the seed of its plant, Salvia Hispanica. Interestingly, it is from the same family as mint. Another curious fact is that its seeds, due to their high hydrophilic power, are capable of absorbing 12 times their weight. When they are soaked, they generate a viscous gel called mucilage, which, as we will see, has very interesting qualities for health.
The chia seeds They have as nutritional qualities, in terms of macronutrients, a high protein value (17 grams). At that level, the most remarkable thing is undoubtedly its high value in omega 3 fatty acids, (Seven times more than salmon!) Especially alpha-linolenic.
In addition, it is a very high source of fiber (35 grams), of which they have 25% of the aforementioned mucilages, very useful in various intestinal pathologies.
As for vitamins and minerals, it has very high levels of calcium (5 times more than milk), magnesium, manganese and phosphorus. In addition, chia has a great antioxidant effect, due to its high content of vitamin E. And, one last important fact, They do not contain gluten so they are suitable for celiacs.
When we think about the nutrition of our little ones, before introducing a new food, we must let the immune system be a little more mature, that is why nutritionists usually indicate introducing less common foods after two years, and after three years if there is a history of allergies in the child or direct family.
On the other hand, chia seeds they do not usually generate food allergies such as nuts or other foods, but remember that whenever we offer a new food to the child we must put it in a more or less isolated way to be able to check that it does not generate any reaction. The ideal would be to try it in a mid-morning or snack, and with other already known foods.
When you discover all the chia benefits For children, you will begin to think about incorporating it more often into your recipes and taking advantage of its properties too:
- Due to its high fiber content, it is a remedy indicated for constipation without irritating the intestinal mucosa such as other types of laxatives. These fibers, called mucilages, are like a gel-like texture that help improve the rate of bowel movements.
- Those same fibers generate a high satiating and hypoglycemic effect, so it can be very useful to improve diabetes and avoid other less healthy foods such as sweets. In order to benefit, we must soak it with water or another liquid such as vegetable drinks for about 15 minutes, until the texture begins to change and becomes much more viscous.
- Its high content of omega 3 fatty acids has shown that greatly improves attention in children, even those diagnosed with ADHD. For this, the chia must be ground, since our body is not able to digest the shells of the seeds, and they would appear complete in the stool, it must be ground to be able to access the fatty part of its interior. Once ground, they should not be exposed to light or heat, it is best to keep them in a closed container.
Chia seeds have little taste or smell, so introducing it in the feeding of the smallest should not be a problem on that side, because if we do it well, they may not notice it. The only downside is that its texture is gelatinous, and some children may feel strange if they have never tried it. 'In the case of consuming the whole seed, it is advisable to eat it ground (flour) or very well chewed, to allow its correct metabolization', as recommended in the study 'Chia: important vegetable antioxidant', carried out by the National University of Rosario (Argentina ).
When this happens, it is a good idea to remind him of a similar texture that he has agreed to eat, such as purees, rice pudding or custard can have a similar texture. Another trick is to put a known or chewy texture, like pieces of some fruit.
Not having great flavor, it is a fantastic thickener for making healthier desserts, to which we can put from a fruit puree to make it a pudding texture to a vegetable drink or milk. For example, yogurt with chia seeds and fruit. Take a natural yogurt, chop your favorite fruit and a teaspoon of washed and drained chia seeds. Mix everything together and enjoy!
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