Chia seeds

Chia seeds are tiny black or white seeds of the chia plant Salvia hispanica and were at one time a major food crop in Mexico and Guatemala. “Chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength”. In the past few years, they have become very popular all over the world. Did you also know that they are among the healthiest foods on the planet? Chia seeds come in black and white varieties, but there is no difference in nutritional content. They quickly swell after absorbing liquid and that’s why it is recommended to eat chia seeds that have already been soaked in liquid or are served with moist food, such as oatmeal or yogurt. They absorb up to 10-12 times their weight in liquid. So, do not eat dry chia seeds as they can cause a blockage in the food canal.

Salvia hispanica.

Health benefits

They’re loaded with nutrients that can have important benefits for your body and brain:

• Polyunsaturated fat, as omega-3 fatty acids

• Fiber

• Protein

• Calcium

• Phosphorus

• Zinc

Chia seeds are 40% fiber by weight, making them one of the best sources of fiber in the world and they are also a decent protein source, that makes them perfect for people who eat no animal products. Also, they are best known plant-based heart-friendly omega 3-fatty acids. Chia seeds are a poor source of vitamins but they contain many important antioxidants and minerals such as magnesium, iron, selenium, copper, manganese, phosphorus and calcium. Studies have shown that chia seeds can help to control blood sugar and pressure.

Chia seed pudding with collagen.

Where to use?

Chia seeds are a highly multifaceted ingredient. They don’t have any distinctive flavor, so you can use them basically in every dish. Using chia seeds on breads, cereals, baked goods or crackers is getting more popular because it increase their nutritional value. Basically, chia seeds can be added as long as there is moisture to hold the seed in place.

• Add few teaspoons into salads, stews or soups.

• Stir into salad sauces, marinades, yoghurt, porridge or cake/ bread dough.

• Stir chia gel as a thickener to smoothies, puddings, and soups.

• Use them to replace whole eggs in baking. For 1 whole egg, mix 1 tablespoon of whole chia seeds or 2 teaspoons ground chia seeds with 3 tablespoons water. Wait for at least 5 minutes, the consistency should become just like raw scrambled egg.

Use chia seeds inside of a smoothie or as a decoration on top.

 

References:

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/chia-seeds/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds

https://unsplash.com/photos/MsTOg6rhRVk

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