Chia seeds may come in small sizes, but they are big in nutritional value. 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) (reduces the likelihood of heart ailments)
- caffeic acid (antioxidant, anti-inflammatory) comes equipped with essential amino acids that cannot be made by the body.
Interesting Chia Facts
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 a 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 of chia seeds, one tablespoon of honey, ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract, two tablespoons of coconut flakes, and two teaspoons of 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 of 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 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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6 thoughts on “What is the nutritional value of chia seeds?”
Such treasure in a small package. Rich and well fortified with vitamins. The nutritional value of the chia food continues to amaze me.
To top it off are multiple ways you can consume chia seeds. Adding it to food as smoothies and having it soaked in juice are excellent ways to consume chia and enjoy its benefit.
Thanks for sharing this article.
Thank you Parameter,
For visiting us, reading the post, and taking the time to give your feedback is much appreciated.
Yes, Chia seeds are very nutritious and have been used for centuries by the Artez with good reason. Chia is trending now and is very versatile. You can add chia to food, soups, bread and pastries, pudding, sprinkle on salads, and more.
If you eat it raw, it can increase your chances of choking. It can cause a blockage in your throat because the seeds expand in moisture (water). It is best to use chia in liquids to eliminate the chance of choking.
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Chia seeds are small but have built-in smart nutrients to increase health benefits. Your post is a compilation of all the powerful health benefits that chia can bring to life.
It is inexpensive in this time of hefty inflation. If you eat a teaspoon of chia (do not eat chia seeds dry, it can swell and choke your throat), your satiety level goes up, as you explained in your post.
I like chia because it is a wonderful addition to the kitchen pantry; I use them for breakfast, snacks, and dessert as pudding after dinner.
Some people can be allergic to chia seeds. The symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, and itching of the lips or tongue or may get more severe than these. Talk to your doctor and watch out for signs and symptoms.
I enjoyed reading your article thanks for sharing.
Thank you, Anusuya, for reading the article and sharing your generous feedback and experience with chia seeds.
I agree with you; I enjoy chia for breakfast (left overnight in the fridge with almond milk and topped with fresh fruits the next day) and snacks like the homemade chia chips I shared in the post.
Yes, chia seeds can indeed harm some people who are allergic to them, and it is not good to eat them raw because you can choke when they get into contact with moisture (which can cause a lodge/blockage in your throat).
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Thanks for stopping by.
Thank you for sharing this helpful article. I found it very interesting.
I knew that Chia is healthy, but I did not know just how many nutrients and minerals it contained. I use Chia a lot in my shakes and salads. I never thought of making a cake with it, though. That is something I must try:) I do have a question if you don’t mind. Will the Chia lose its health benefits if I overheat it?
Thanks a lot!
Thank you for your sharing your opinions and experiences with chia seeds. I do agree that chia tastes good in shakes and salads. Because of its gluten-free components, it’s a suitable choice for people who cannot tolerate gluten.
There is always a risk of foods losing their nutritional value at high temperatures therefore, my recommendation is it is not necessary. There are so many other ways to enjoy chia and still get its health benefits.
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Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.