Chia seeds may come in small sizes, but they are big in nutritional values. Chia seeds hail from the Aztec and Mayan cuisine for many centuries.
These tiny black or white seeds from the Salvia Hispanica L plant may not be a sight for sore eyes but offer a long list of health benefits worth noting.
Let´s explore chia seeds and discover what they are good for.
What are chia seeds?
Chia is a superfood with a long history going as far back as the Aztec times. But chia seeds are making a comeback in a big way. They are now the new trend in our modern meals.
Chia stems from the mint flowering plant. Chia has a reputation for having medicinal properties that combat free radicals and inflammation in the body. Chia seeds contain high levels of fiber and are one of the plant sources with the highest amount of Omega 3 fatty acids. This plant source is made up of some very impressive nutrients and minerals, such as:
- vitamin B1 and B3 (thiamin and niacin)
- omega 3 fatty acids
- alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) (reduce the likelihood of heart ailments)
- caffeic acid (antioxidant, anti-inflammatory) comes equipped with essential amino acids that cannot be made by the body.
Chia seeds expand in water; they absorb up to ten times their weight in fluid.
Chia seeds are gluten-free.
Chia has a very long shelf and refrigerator life of up to several years.
Chia helps improve inflamed skin; rub a little chia gel on a scar to reduce redness.
Health Benefits of Chia
Consuming a small portion of chia seeds regularly can do wonders for your health, such as:
- significantly lower risk of heart condition
- may encourage and maintain bone health
- may reduce and regulate blood sugar levels
- may reduce inflammation
- boosts metabolism (decreases hunger pangs)
- responsible for building new cells
- regulates body processes
How to prepare chia seeds
Chia does not have a distinct taste. Therefore, it is very versatile and easy to add to your favorite meals and snacks. You can use chia seeds effortlessly in several ways.
You can add one teaspoon of chia seeds to your favorite smoothies. It adds nutrition, and because chia has no distinct taste, it will not affect the taste of your smoothie.
Chia adds nutritional value, especially fiber to your pudding. To make, take two cups of almond milk, one teaspoon chia seeds, one tablespoon honey, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, two tablespoons coconut flakes, and two teaspoons raisins/cranberries.
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Stir well, cover, and refrigerate. Top with fresh fruits of your choice when ready to consume.
Soaked in juice
Chia soaked in juice, lemon juice for example can help the body eliminate toxins and help you lose weight naturally.
- Add two teaspoons of chia seeds to the juice of your choice.
- Mix well.
- You may allow the juice to sit for several minutes before drinking.
Sprinkle as garnish
When you sprinkle chia seeds over your meals as a garnish, it helps keep you full for longer periods.
As an egg substitute
If you are allergic to eggs; chia seeds mixed with water make a perfect egg substitute. Chia seeds swell in the presence of liquid and turn into a gel-like mixture.
Add one teaspoon of chia seeds to four tablespoons of water. Let the chia mixture remain at room temperature for 15 minutes. This mixture is protein-rich.
Soup lovers can add more nutritional value to their meals by adding one teaspoon of chia seeds to their soups, thus making them thicker and healthier.
Add chia in rice dishes if you want meals that are low in calories and cholesterol.
Chia is ideal for people who enjoy gluten-free cakes, cookies, pies, and bread as it is an excellent source of a binding agent (ground chia is best).
Chia homemade chips
For those with a salty tooth, homemade chia chips may be a great treat.
- Use one cup of whole wheat flour
- ½ cup chia seeds
- one teaspoon season salt
- one teaspoon of sea salt
- ½ a cup of water.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
- Add the water and form into a dough.
- Form the dough into small bite-size pieces on a baking sheet.
- Sprinkle with the salt and herbs of your choice.
It is best not to eat chia seeds raw as this increases your chance of choking; chia seeds need to be moisturized before consumption (they swell up in liquid) as they may swell up in your throat and cause a lodge or blockage. Be careful.
Some people may be allergic to chia seeds, especially if they have a nut allergy. Consuming too much may cause bloating and diarrhea.
Chia seeds are making waves in trending healthy diets and meal prep, but they have a long history dating back to the Aztec Era. Chia seeds are a great plant source of Omega 3 fatty acids and fiber and offer many other health benefits; that are proven by science.
They are easy to incorporate into many meals and drinks as they have no distinctive taste and do not take away from flavorful foods. As with anything good, too much of a good thing can be bad for you.
Overconsumption of chia seeds can cause some side effects such as bloating and diarrhea. Since chia seeds swell up in the presence of liquid, it is not wise to eat large amounts of raw chia as the chia seeds may swell up in your throat and can cause a lodge or blockage.
However, chia seeds in small quantities can promote bone health, reduce heart attacks, and stop inflammation.
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