Not everyone has heard or tried chia seeds, but lately, they have become one of the most popular superfoods in the health community. They are easy to digest when prepared properly and are a very versatile ingredient that adds easily to recipes.
So, you can add chia to your favorite smoothies, sauces, bread butters, etc. Chia seeds are loaded with nutrients that can have important benefits for your body and brain, they are a nutrient dense and packs a punch of energy boosting power.
Aztec warriors consumed chia seeds to provide them high energy and strength. They said just 1 spoonful of chia could sustain them for 24 hours. Chia signifies “strength” in the Mayan language, and they were known as “runner’s food” as runners and warriors would use them as fuel while running long miles or through battle.
A 1 ounce (28 grams) serving of chia seeds contains:
- Fiber: 11 grams.
- Protein: 4 grams.
- Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are Omega-3s).
- Calcium: 18% of the RDA.
- Manganese: 30% of the RDA.
- Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
- Phosphorus: 27% of the RDA.
- They also contain a decent amount of Zinc, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Potassium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B2.
As you can see, the seeds contain11 grams of fiber in one serving of whole seeds. This fiber bulks up your stool, promote digestion and helps you feel more full.
How To Use Chia Seeds
You should know that the seeds are hydrophilic, meaning that they absorb liquid and create a gel. In under ten minutes, the seeds can soak roughly ten times its own weight in liquid!
The first way of consuming chia seeds is to soak about 1.5 tablespoons chia seeds in one cup of water. It does not have to be exact, but you do want it to gel all the way and not be too watery. Then let them sit for about 30 minutes to 2 hours. This is the best way to access their vitamins and minerals is to either grind or soak them.
When made with water, the gel can last up to 3 weeks in the fridge. This gel can then be used in smoothies and desserts or simply taken on its own.
You can make chia pudding similar to chia water. For a thicker pudding texture, add more chia seeds and let the mixture soak longer.
Another option is to grind chia seeds in a coffee grinder or Vitamix to break down the hard outer shell before eating them. When pulverized, chia seed flour can be used in most gluten-free recipes like pancakes, muffins, breads and even pastas. When grinding omega-3 rich seeds, however, it is important to store them in a sealed, glass container in your refrigerator or freezer.
The last but not least, you can eat them whole and still get their “energy-packed” punch! You can even just eat a spoonful straight – but beware – they do tend to stick in your teeth!
At the end, here are some benefits of chia:
- weight loss/balance
- thyroid conditions
- celiac disease
- acid reflux
- lowering cholesterol