Chia seeds are traditionally consumed in Mexico, and United States. At present chia seeds are also grown in Argentina, Peru and Bolivia. Chia seeds are now also being grown in Australia, which is quite likely to become the biggest chia growing country in the world.Many Aztecs and Mayans considered chia seeds as their staple food by turning into small granular form and using them as flour, using them as oil and drinking them mixed with water in form of gel. During this period, chia seeds were considered as the super food because they could increase stamina many fold times and helps in building strong muscles.
Chia seeds contain a good amount of fiber- 5 grams in just a single tablespoon. It is this fiber present in the seeds of chia plant which leads to swelling up of chia seeds when mixed with water, leading to the formation of chia gel.
According to the statistical sampling by United States Department Of Agriculture (USDA), a single ounce of chia seeds contains 9gms of fat, 5mg of sodium, 4gms of protein, 11gms of dietary fiber, 27% phosphorus, 30% manganese and 18% of calcium. In 2009, the European Union approved with chia seeds being called as novel food. These seeds are rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, because they include a good amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
Chis seeds are food supplements that are totally gluten free, healthy for hair, skin and nails. They are rich sources of anti-oxidants and contains complete proteins with all the eight essential amino acids. Chia seeds have the following health benefits –
1. Helps to lower the cholesterol level.
2. Reducing body weight.
3. Has anti-inflammatory properties.
4. Reduces high blood pressure.
5. Maintains healthy heart and keeps immune system strong.
Ways to eat chia seeds –
There are a lot of healthy ways to use chia seeds in order to derive all the healthy nutritious contents of these seeds. Chia seeds is largely used as egg substitute especially when it comes to baking, due to the unique property of chia seeds to absorb liquids and turn into a gel. These seeds can also be used to grill meat and as a soup thickener.
These are the following ways to include chia seeds in our daily diet –
1. Breakfast topping – chia seeds can easily be enjoyed in morning by just simply adding them to your pancakes, yogurts and cereals.
2. Jellies and jams – chia seeds can be consumed more deliciously by adding it to the purree of fresh fruits like strawberries, blueberries and raspberries and converted into mouth-watering jams and jellies.
3. Grilling meat – remember next time you start with grilling, sprinkle some chia seeds to the grilling mixture in order to thicken the spread.
4. Soup thickener – this tip is beneficial for those who are allergic to the use of gluten, you can use an overnight soaked chia seeds as a thickener instead of using the flour thickeners for the soup.
5. To thicken meatballs – meatballs can easily be thickened using a healthy substituent for bread crumbs that is chia seeds, by adding an appropriate amount of chia seeds to your meat.
6. Using as all-purpose flour – chia seeds can grinded or blender in a mixer grinder or with blender and turned into fine powdered form, and can be used as an all-purpose flour.
7. As an egg substituent – as mentioned, chia seeds can easily absorb the liquids and turns into a nice gel, it can be very well used as an egg substituent for baking.
8. Adding to juices and tea – chia seeds can be added to a glass of juice, tea or any of the hot drinks. This can be done by allowing the drink with added chia seeds to stand for a few minutes so that the seeds can absorb some of the liquid, making it into a thick beverage.
9. Chia seeds smoothies or fresca – just 2 tbsp of chia seeds can be added to the smoothies and blended nicely, in order to get the even mixture. For chia fresca , chia seeds can be added to water, lime juice and a spoon of honey to enjoy it in summers.
10. Chia sprouts for salads – this is a simpler and a healthier way of consuming chia seeds- by turning them into sprouts. This can easily be done by putting some chia seeds in water, draining this water off and leaving behind the chia seeds in a jar container for a few days and rinsing and pouring off the water after every 12 hours. Within a few days, you will get chia seeds turning into sprouts.
Some healthy chia seed recipes-
1.so Chia seed smoothie :
In a bowl, blend almond milk, yogurt, vanilla and 2 tbsp of maple syrup with a little salt. Whisk in the chia seeds in this mixture, and let it stand for about 30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate this mixture. After few minutes, mix it with berries, maple syrup and a few almonds.. Serve this in glasses topped up with berries and enjoy on a bright sunny day.
2. Chocolate chia seed pudding :
Mix 2 tbsp cocoa powder, 2 tbsp brown sugar and 1 tbsp coffee powder in a bowl and mix them all together until no lumps remain. Add chia seeds to the mixture, also add 1 cup milk to the bowl and mix properly. keep the mixture aside for a few minutes and repeat this stirring again for a few more times. Cover the mixture and refrigerate it overnight. Serve this chocolaty pudding next day with a spread of honey.
3. Chia cherry crunch bites :
Place 1/2 cup almonds, 1/4 cup cashews, 1/4 cup dates and grind them until finely chopped. Add vanilla, chia seeds, dried cherries and 2 tbsp almond butter and blend them with a blender. Transfer the mixture into another bowl. Now add cacao nibs to mixture and roll them into balls. The chia cherry crunch bites are ready and can be stored in airtight containers in refrigerator.