Your Introduction to Chia Seeds
We all have heard of chia seeds but do we know that these every little grain of chia seed is packed with tons of vitamins, minerals, proteins and what not? These small black or white seeds are indeed power packed with nutrients and are very good for our health.
Chia seeds are a member of the mint family and come from a desert plant called Salvia hispanica. It is said that these seeds originate from the Central America where it was a staple in the ancient Aztec diet. Chia seeds do not have an Indian name. They are often mistaken for sabja seeds but in fact chia seeds are completely different.
Chia seeds: A Superfood You Need to Include in Your Diet
Chia seeds gained popularity due to it being an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids. It is also packed with fiber at 10 grams or 2 tbsp. The seeds are also chock full of protein and minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. They are also rich in antioxidant properties therefore if you have not started eating it this is the best time to do so.
According to many researches it is observed that including chia seeds in your diet can improve your cardiovascular risk factors and lowers your cholesterol and blood pressure. The great crunchy texture and mild flavor of chia seeds makes it easy to eat. You can include them in your food through various means. We have listed some of the ways you can start eating chia seeds and have your family eat it but before that let us look into the health benefits you can gain from them.
The Amazing Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
If we look into the health benefits of Chia seeds the list is never ending but here we have listed some of the major benefits you can gain from eating them.
- Chia seeds are loaded with fiber therefore having them regularly can help your bowl related issues at bay. It helps in getting rid of bowel inflammation and irritability and keeps you happy.
- Chia seed is a superfood. Just a fist full of Chia seeds in your daily diet will keep you feeling full for a long time. You can soak it in water and take it, when it reaches your stomach it quenches your appetite and prevent you from eating junk food which results in weight loss. Taking 100 g for Chia seed has around 480 calories and 30g fat from which polyunsaturated fats make up to 23 g. So, if you want to lose weight start eating Chia seeds.
- Chia seeds are packed with antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help in slowing down the signs of aging and keep your skin looking healthy and young. It also keeps you hair shiny. Researches prove that taking Chia seeds regularly can help prevent certain kinds of cancer as well. So don't think twice before having a handful of Chia seeds in a day.
- If you are a vegetarian you need other sources to obtain enough protein for yourself. Chia seeds have a large amount of protein in it. You get 4 grams of protein in 2 tbs of Chia seeds. You can add it to your peanut butter sandwich or to your oats and get your daily required protein.
- Since Chia seeds are high in fiber, protein and omega 3s they help in reducing the risks of heart disease. They reduce your blood pressure and are good for people with hypertension.
- Omega 3s are very important and Chia seeds are one of the highest sources of plant based omega acid which is also known as Alpha Linolenic Acid. They are called the good fats and are good for your nervous system.
8 Different Ways You Can Use Chia Seeds
If you are new to Chia seeds and don't know how to incorporate them into your daily diet then read on. We have compiled a list of different ways you can use these nutrition packed seeds and benefit from it.
Make Delicious Juices
Chia seeds are a common add on in different fruit drinks in Mexico and Central America. These drinks are called Chia fresca and are quite popular. They turn a fruit juice into an energizing drink. The Chia seeds turn gelatin like when mixed in these juices and absorb around 10 times their weight in water. Once in your body they release the liquid and keep you hydrated for a long time. You can try the same by adding them in your coconut water or try making this delicious Pomegranate Chia seed juice.
Pomegranate Chia Seed Juice
- 1 cup of lukewarm water
- 3 tbsp of Chia seeds
- 2 cups of 100% Pomegranate Juice
- Take a cup of lukewarm water and stir in the Chia seeds.
- Let it sit for the night in your fridge or 3 to 4 hours would do as well.
- The chia you have added will turn gelatin like the next morning
- Take 2 cups of pomegranate juice and add Chia seeds in it
- Stir well and enjoy the goodness of pomegranate and benefits of Chia in it.
Make a Pudding
Pudding is an all time favorite desert and everybody loves them. If you are worried about how to introduce Chia seeds to your kids then you can try making a Chia seed pudding for them. You can make it for breakfast or as a dessert after dinner.
A simple way of making Chia seed pudding is to take 1 cup of milk and or coconut milk and add 3 tbs of chia seeds in it. Put it in the fridge for the night and next morning add fruits of your choice, nuts or spices and enjoy it with your kids.
You can also try making Vanilla Orange Chia pudding. The flavors in this pudding are enticing and your kids will fall in love with it. Here is how to make it
Vanilla-Orange Chia Pudding
- 1 cup homemade cashew milk, almond milk or light coconut milk
- ½ teaspoon orange zest, preferably from an organic orange
- ⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract, more to taste
- 3 tablespoons Chia seeds
- Recommended toppings: drizzle of honey or maple syrup, sliced bananas, fresh or defrosted berries or my berry Chia seed jam, shredded coconut, roasted chopped nuts
- Take a small jar or a bowl.
- Take milk, add in orange zest and vanilla extract in it.
- Add the Chia seeds in it and cover the bowl. Put it in the fridge for about 2 hours or overnight.
- If you see Chia forming clumps give it a stir and check if it has come into a pudding texture.
- Serve it the next morning with honey or maple syrup. You can add any toppings you like and use it for about 5 days.
Use as Topping
You can also use Chia seeds as toppings. It is a great way of including it in your food. It gives a great crunchy texture to the food. You can add it in your yogurt or oatmeal, salads, fruit plates, and even soups. Remember Chia seeds turn into gelatin when in liquid so if you are using it as a topping and want the crunch then add it right before eating it.
One tablespoon of Chia seeds will give you 5 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein not to mention magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium and omega 3s. It won't give you more than 60 calories so go for it.
You can order them online from fabindia for Rs. 125 for 100 grams, from Prakruthi Natural Chia seeds from Snapdeal for Rs. 299 for 500 grams or get 1 kg Chia seeds from Amazon for Rs. 391 and enjoy its goodness.
Make Chia Jam
A lot of people are turning into chefs as they are at home due to Covid 19. If you are looking into making jams then why not try making Chia jams. You need pectin to thicken the jams at home but if you use Chia you won't need pectin at all. Chia will absorb the liquid and give a great thick texture to your jam. They are a lot healthier than the store bought jams for sure. You can use it on your bread, pancakes or muffins. Here is a simple Chia jam recipe for you.
Chia Fruit Jam
- 2 cups fresh or frozen fruit of your choice
- 2 tablespoons Chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 1–2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup (only if needed)
- Start by heating the fruit of your choice in a saucepan on medium high heat. Stir it till fruit breaks down and starts to bubble
- Mash the fruit with a spoon or a potato masher
- Add the Chia seeds and lemon juice to it and mix well.
- If you want it extra sweet you can add honey or sugar in it at this point
- Remove it from heat and let it cool. It will thicken as it cools off
- Serve immediately or keep it in an air tight container for about 1 week. You can freeze it for around 3 months as well.
Have them in a Smoothie
Try adding Chia seeds into your smoothies. It will instantly increase the nutritional value of your drink. It will also give it a nice thick texture to it and the nutty flavor the Chia seeds will enhance the taste as well. You can try these two recipes for start and then experiment on your own.
Healthy Green Smoothie
- 1 tablespoon Chia seeds
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 handful spinach
- 2 tablespoons cacao powder
- 1 cup almond milk
- Take all the ingredients with ice if you like and run it in a blender for about 1 minute on high speed
- Add more water if you like and run again for 30 seconds and gulp it down.
Here's Another Smoothie Recipe You Can Try!
Apple Banana Chia Seed Smoothie
- 2 cups fresh apple chunks (from about 2 apples)
- 2 cups frozen banana chunks (from about 2 very ripe bananas)
- 1 cup low-fat plain yogurt
- 1 cup low-fat milk
- 1 tablespoon Chia seeds
- Take an apple and cut in chunks, take a frozen banana, milk and Chia seeds and run it in a blender
- Run it till it is smooth and blended well.
- Pour it in a glass
- Serve it immediately or put it in the fridge for later. You can keep these smoothies for a day in the fridge and enjoy
Add Chia Seeds to Your Stir-Fry
If you like stir fries then you've got to try adding Chia seeds in it. When stir fried these seeds will soften and you won't even know that they are there but they will provide you with protein and omega 3s as well as fiber. Here is how you can try including them in your stir fried vegetables.
Vegetarian Garden Stir-Fry
- 1 serving cooking spray
- ½ cup sugar snap peas
- ¼ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup dried fruit and nut mix, such as cranberries, almonds, and cashews
- ¼ cup chopped mushrooms
- ¼ cup bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- salt to taste
- 3 tablespoons egg whites
- 2 tablespoons shredded Cheddar cheese, or as desired
- Take a large skillet, spray some oil on it and heat it on medium low heat.
- Put in sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes, fruit and nut mix, mushrooms, bell pepper and Chia seeds
- Stir fry it for 2 minutes and add cayenne, garlic, and salt
- Cook and stir again for 2 minutes.
- Now add the egg whites and mix till it is cooked but not crusty.
- Put it in a bowl and sprinkle with Cheddar cheese and let it melt.
- Serve it hot.
Make a Crust for Your Meats and Fish
All you non vegetarians don't need fret because you can add Chia seeds in your non vegetarian dishes as well. Till now you must be using starchy white flour to coat your meat to get that extra crunch but now you can easily use Chia seeds for the same without having to eat unhealthy starch. Try the Chia Crusted Chicken to start with and then move on to other dishes.
- 6 (10oz)small chicken-breast tenders
- 2 tablespoons almond meal
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 4 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut
- 4 teaspoons olive oil
- 4 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 1/2 cups shredded brussels sprouts
- 1 1/2 cups shredded kale
- 1/2 cup sliced red onion
- Heat your oven to 400 degrees
- Take 6 small chicken breast tenders and coat it with 2 tbsp almond meal tossed with 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper.
- Take a bow and put in 2 eggs with 2 tsp of Dijon mustard.
- Take another bowl and add 2 tbsp Chia seeds with 4 tbsp of shredded unsweetened coconut
- Now dip each piece into this mixture remove and dip it in Chia seed mixture
- Bake the chicken for 10 to 15 minutes
- Take another bowl and put in 4 tsp olive oil, 4 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp honey, ¼ tsp turmeric, ¼ tsp garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste and whisk well.
- Toss with 1½ cup each shredded brussels sprouts and shredded kale, and ½ cup sliced red onion.
- Serve with chicken, you have a perfectly healthy plate of chicken
Work Them into Your Beauty Routine
Ladies get ready, you not only get beautiful from the inside but get super skin by using Chia seeds in your beauty routine. Chia seeds are great exfoliant and makes your skin smoother and brighter. You can make some really good and effective face masks and hair masks with it. Here are two DIY masks for you.
- Take two tbsp of Chia seeds and add half cup of coconut oil and a tbsp of lemon juice to it.
- Mix well and apply it on your face and neck.
- Leave it on for 12 to 15 minutes. It will soon turn into a gel like layer then massage it on your face in circular motion for a couple of minutes.
- Wash it off with lukewarm water.
- Your face will be free of dead skin and will be hydrated and moisturized.
- Take four tbsp of coconut oil and mix with half cup of honey and a tbs of Chia seeds and apple cider vinegar each.
- Heat it for 40 seconds or so and apply it on your hair.
- Leave it for 15 minutes and wash it off.
- You will see shiny and bouncy hair from the very first application.
FAQs on Chia seeds
Here are some common concerns people have for Chia seeds and their answers. These will help you understand the benefits of using Chia seeds.
Answering Common Questions You Many Have!
- Are Chia seeds same as Chia pets?
- Yes, it is the same. They sprout into microgens which can be eaten with food or plain. They are a lot like alfalfa sprouts in texture and taste.
- How does Chia seeds taste?
- If you eat them alone they may taste like poppy seeds. They are nice and crunchy. You can soak them in water and they absorb the liquid and become lumpy. They have it own sweetness something close to tapioca pearls
- Is over eating Chia seeds harmful?
- No, if you end up eating a lot of it you may feel bloated or get mild diarrhoea.
- Can Chia seeds be allergic?
- Not likely but then again you never know. If you are allergic to peanuts, sesame or mustard seeds you might want to avoid it.
- Is there a difference between the Black and White Chia seeds?
- Both Black and White Chia are same in nutrition and flavor. The White seeds a little more costly than the Black once
- Are Chia seeds fortified with vitamins or pharmaceuticals?
- No, they are 100% natural. They are themselves packed with all the nutrition needed and you can keep them in an airtight container for up to 3 years.
- Are they Gluten and cholesterol free?
- Yes, you don't have to worry about toxic heavy metals that are found in fish or other grains. They are healthy throughout. They are Gluten free therefore eat all you like.
- Is it harmful for pets?
- Not really. It will help build strong and shiny coat on your pet. If the pet ends up eating a whole lot of them they may feel thirsty so give them lots of water.
A great addition to your diet.
As you can see chia seeds are very versatile! With our list of all the different ways you can use chia seeds, you are sure to find the best suited way for add to your diet. However, it can be easy to go overboard. Though the seeds do not cause any major harm, experts state that daily consumption should be around 40-45 g each. So buy good quality chia seeds and track your daily intake so you can get the best benefits of this amazing superfood!