Food items are tricky, especially when some ingredients look similar and are available in various colour options. For example- People often confuse chia seeds with sweet basil seeds(also known as Sabja or falooda seeds in India), but they are two different seeds with distinct properties.
This blog will talk about ‘Chia seeds’ and why you must consider making them a part of your life. You might have seen, consumed or used those oval tiny black colour seeds in creamy yoghurt, healthy oatmeal, nutritious cereals, and tasty smoothies. But, you can’t ignore the benefits of chia seeds as it contains dozens of essential nutrients.
The increasing demand for chia seeds because of their nutritional benefits is a reason not to miss adding them to your daily food consumption. It is one of the ancient foods and has gained popularity for its Omega-3 fatty acids and insoluble fibre. In addition, chia seeds are gluten-free and are an excellent protein source with remarkable health benefits.
“I believe the best way to activate genius within the immune system is by ingesting certain superherbs and superfoods, taking probiotics and cultured foods, minimizing toxic food exposure by eating pure organic raw-living foods, and making appropriate healthy lifestyle improvements.” — David Wolfe
There are invaluable benefits of chia seeds. So, if you have never heard of chia seeds or you are looking for reasons to add them to your diet, I have got your back. Because you will get all the information, you need to kick start your relationship with Chia.
What Are Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds are like beautiful soft confetti that can easily be sprinkled on various foods, soaked or dried. It’s oval and appears to be black.
Black, white, and brown are the three types of chia seeds available in the market. Black chia seeds dominate the market. However, white chia seeds are also famous for specific chia puddings and recipes.
Chia seeds with mild and nutty flavour have become the star feed of food content creators and influencers. Often served in breakfast, mixed with cereals, baked products, nuts, fruits, and even for direct consumption. It’s a substantial source of various excellent nutrition.
Due to its hygroscopic nature, chia seeds absorb up to 12 times their weight in liquid when soaked. As a result, it gives Chia mixed foods and drinks a different gel texture.
Chia Seeds Origin And History
Native to Central and Southern Mexico, the chia seeds are the edible seeds of Salvia hispanica, a flowering plant from the mint family. Central Mexico and Guatemala remain the ancestral homeland for the small-scale production of chia seeds and Central and South America commercially.
According to various evidence and reports, the Aztec cultivated it in pre-Columbian times. Nahuatl Aztec culture celebrated chia seeds as their staple food back in the day. It eventually became the third most important crop.
Have you heard of Chia pets? Joe Pedott created the first chia pet in 1977. The American-style clay figures of terracotta served as a base for the sticky base of chia seeds. The seeds once watered sprouted Chia and resembled like a fur covering.
Chia pets contributed to the first considerable sign of chia seeds sale and gained popularity in the United States in the 1980s. And, up till 2019, the chia pet sales went up to 15 million annually during the holiday season.
Chia Seeds Nutrition Content
Chia also means ‘strength’. Many from the ancient Mayan and Aztec cultures used Chia as an ‘energy food’.
The following nutritional details of two tablespoons (28.3 grams) of chia seeds contain an approximate-
4.4 g protein
11 g fibre
10 g unsaturated fat
12 g carbs
179 mg calcium
2.2 mg iron
5 g omega- 3s
They are high in minerals like manganese, phosphorus, copper, selenium, iron, magnesium, and calcium.
What Are The Benefits Of Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds have immense health advantages. Despite its small size, it delivers significant results for your overall robust health. They aren’t just great for your social media feed but can equally become your go-to food choice when mixed with flavoursome food items.
Let’s check out some health benefits of adding chia seeds to your diet-
- It’s packed with antioxidants.
- Healthier weight management
- Lower blood pressure
- Gives enough fibre
- Reduced inflammation
- Reduces the risk of developing heart disease
- Increased blood levels of Omega 3
- Controls blood sugar
- Controls hunger
- A superb source of dietary fibre, vegetarian protein and exogenous amino acids
- Enhances the overall diet
- It helps in better digestion
Where To Buy Chia Seeds?
Because of the increased popularity and perpetual demand, chia seeds are now grown worldwide. Therefore, you can easily shop or buy chia seeds from local grocery stores, supermarkets, departmental stores, online, etc.
Always look in the nuts, seeds, or wholegrain section if you shop from supermarkets. Also, be careful of the expiration dates mentioned on the packaging before buying chia seeds. Look for the gluten-free symbol on the label before your purchase.
How Much Chia Seeds Per Day You Must Consider
Chia seeds can become an excellent source for your essential nutrients if taken in the correct quantity with the right combination of foods. According to various research, the recommended intake is 15 – 20g of Chia seeds twice a day for an average adult.
Remember not to go beyond the suggested serving size to avoid any side effects.
How To Use Chia Seeds?
Because of their versatile nature, chia seeds can be a brilliant choice to add to various foods. You can consume chia seeds whole, or you can sprinkle them on top of other foods. And if you are yet to try Chia for the first time, drizzle it on some salads, cereal bowls, mix with salad dressings, etc.
Chia seeds have little of a taste and are pretty bland. However, it can do wonders when mixed and added with other ingredients like milk, yoghurt, fruit juices, etc. Adding chia seeds directly to liquids will give you chia gel.
Attractive chia gels are a super easy option to have in your fridge all the time. Learn how to soak chia seeds.
Basic Chia Gel Recipe-
1 tablespoon of chia seeds
3 tablespoons of water to soak the chia seeds
Note- You can also use other liquids like Almond milk, fresh fruit juices, etc.
- Combine the chia seeds and water in a bowl.
- Stir it well for 30 seconds. Make sure the seeds get soaked in the water.
- Let the mixture sit for 3 minutes.
- Again, stir it for 30-45 seconds. Avoid clumps formation.
- Yay! It should be ready in a few minutes.
The chia gel can survive up to 2-3 weeks in the fridge. After that, make sure it’s sealed properly. Mason Jar is a popular option for such a purpose. The longer the gel sets, the thicker it becomes.
You don’t have to overthink if you’re starting with Chia because you can easily mix-match ingredients with chia seeds as per your tastes and preferences. Here are some ways to incorporate chia food in your healthy lifestyle-
- Chia Jams
- Salad Dressings
- Protein and Energy bars
- Chia seeds pudding
- Bread and baked cookies
- Chia Drinks (try Mexican lemonade also known as ‘Chia Fresco’)
Note- Don’t eat the chia seeds dry if you have difficulty swallowing food. Avoid eating it raw and mix it well with liquids and let it expand. Chia seeds are safe if used properly.
Many use chia seeds as whole, ground, oil and gel. In many parts of the world, people consider using flour of chia seeds to produce pasta of higher nutritional value than wheat pasta.
Chia seeds are an excellent substitute for eggs and fats due to their hydrophilic properties.
How To Store Chia Seeds
The dry chia seeds have a longer shelf life as compared to soaked chia seeds. You can store the dry chia seeds in a sealed container or zipper at room temperature.
Chia gel can live for 2-3 weeks if refrigerated in an airtight container, whereas chia pudding can survive up to 4- 5 days, depending on the contents of the mixture.
In Other Words
From restaurants, bakeries to home kitchens, chia seeds have become a popular choice for mindful eating. It’s a powerhouse packed with high-quality protein, antioxidants, fibre, and omega-3.
Chia seeds are the easiest to add to your everyday diet for much-needed nutrition. So don’t shy away from making some healthy food habits a part of your daily life. These seeds are readily available. Take minutes to add to your foods, and they are worth the effort.
Chia seeds are for everyone!
Tell me in the comment below if you’re ready to experiment with chia foods?
Disclaimer- All content, including advice, suggestions, and health benefits provided on this blog, is only informational. It is not a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Therefore, we recommend that you or any other person who has a medical concern consult a professional or doctor for more information.