Ancient Grains 101: Millet-Chia
Millet and chia seeds are both ancient super foods that are beginning to play an important role in a healthy gluten free American diet. For thousands of years people all over the world have been reaping the benefits of these culinary powerhouses. Nutritionally rich and fiber-packed, millet and chia seeds deliver a tremendous nutritional boost and are a smart addition to a daily diet.
Millet is not only tasty, but also rich in B vitamins, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, riboflavin, thiamin, phosphorous, Vitamin E, lecithin, methionine, protein, and fiber. Millet grasses can grow in poor soil and arid climates requiring very little water. So not only is millet good for our bodies, growing the crop is gentle to our planet. Considered non-allergenic, we use the small rounded seeds of the millet grasses to make highly alkaline foods, which are easy to digest and soothing to the stomach. Although millet can be used to make a variety of products from beer to couscous, we most commonly see it as a main ingredient in gluten free bread.
When we hear the word chia, most of us think of the little terracotta planter that sprouts when watered. That association is soon going to change as more people learn of the incredible health benefits of the little dynamo. Chia seeds were once a revered staple in the diets of the Aztecs and Native Americans of the southwest. The seeds were consumed not only to build strength and endurance, but also for their tremendous nutritional value and their medicinal properties.
Chia seeds come from the desert plant, Salvia hispanica. The richest known plant source of omega-3, the seeds are brimming with fiber, antioxidants, and protein. Full of vitamins and minerals, chia seeds are also easily digestible. The seeds have an incredible ability to absorb up to 14 times its weight in water. Consumption of chia not only helps to keep blood sugar levels under control, it also slows down digestion and absorption of carbohydrates making us feel full while eating fewer calories.
Alone, millet and chia seeds are tremendous sources of protein, fiber and omegas, but can you imagine the health benefit of combining the two super foods? Well, Udi’s did and they created gluten free bread that not only tastes great, but is brimming with an abundance of nutrition. For a quick breakfast, toast a couple of slices of Udi’s Millet-Chia bread, top them with almond butter and sliced bananas, and reap all the wonderful nutritional benefits from nature’s top two super foods!
– Bea Lavelle