I’ve been getting lots of requests lately about Chia seeds. What are they? How do I use them? Why should I eat them? Are they easy to prepare? Are they really a superfood? Aren’t these the same seeds we used as kids to grow Chia pets?
If you’ve wondered the same thing, read on! You’ve got questions, I’ve got answers.
Yes, Chia seeds have become quite popular over the past few years and I am thrilled! They are one of my favorite superfoods (defined as a food super rich in nutrients for little calories). So, exactly what are these seeds and where do they come from?
Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, grown in Mexico dating back to Mayan and Aztec cultures. “Chia” means strength, and folklore has it that these cultures used the tiny black and white seeds as an energy booster. No surprise there, as they contain a respectable amount of protein, fiber, iron, and Omega-3 fat.
Chia seeds are an unprocessed, whole food that can be absorbed by the body. A little over an ounce (about 2 1/2 tablespoons) contains 150 calories, 8 grams of protein, 8 grams fat (5000mg Omega-3), 13 grams carbohydrates (12 of those grams are fiber) plus essential minerals like calcium, iron, manganese and phosphorus.
The mild, nutty flavor of chia seeds makes them easy to add to foods and beverages. They are most often sprinkled on cereal, sauces, vegetables, rice dishes, or yogurt or mixed into drinks and baked goods. They can also be mixed with water and made into a gel to be used as an egg substitute in baked goods.
Simply stated, these tiny seeds pack a powerful nutritional punch!
Oh, and yes, these are the same seeds you used to grow your chia pets ;)
This is my favorite brand. Well sourced. Organic. Non GMO Verified. Click here to order it.
Top 5 Reasons To Eat Chia Seeds
One serving: 2 1/2 tablespoons has:
8 grams protein
5000mg Omega-3 fatty acids
12 grams fiber – that’s almost half your necessary daily intake!
15 grams Iron – essential for energy production2. They are high in important bone building nutrients. The same serving size has:
This is very good news for those who have a dairy intolerance or have a hard time getting calcium in their diet, in general. 3. One serving has 12 grams of fiber- that is almost half of your daily required intake! Moreover, the particular fiber in these seeds is mostly soluble fiber. Think of soluble fiber like a sponge. These seeds go in and soak up water. They expand in the digestive tract and help to carry out waste. It’s essential to have both soluble and insoluble fiber in our daily diets, for good intestinal health. Insoluble fiber is a bit easier to get, as it is in all our leafy vegetables. Complementing the insoluble with the soluble fiber from chia seeds is a perfect fiber marriage :)4. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that chia seeds as a dietary fat source can lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while raising HDL (the cholesterol we want). The study also found that when regularly consuming chia seeds instead of other fat sources like corn oil, soy oil, etc, subjects were able to reduce fat stored around the waist. Chia seeds have also been found to reduce insulin resistance and decrease abnormally high levels of insulin in the blood (just ask my uncle)!5. They are super simple to prepare. You can simply add a tablespoon in your favorite beverage, stir it up, wait five minutes, stir again and drink up! It’s fun for your mouth. Because they don’t have to be ground up, you can sprinkle them on your favorite soup, vegetables, rice dishes, yoghurt, pudding *(check out my yummy pudding recipe below) and even mix them with water and use as an egg replacement in baked goods. They are kind of magical that way.
(walnuts, pumpkin seeds, goji berries, mulberries, cashews and cacao beans).
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 cup almond milk
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon honey
- pinch salt
- Measure 3 tablespoons chia seeds and place in a bowl.
- Stir in 1 cup almond milk. Add the cinnamon and honey and whisk.
- It may not look like much now, but give these little seeds a few minutes and they will swell up and start to soak up all the almond milk. Whisk again after a few minutes. Whisk one more time after about 15 minutes. Refrigerate for one hour.
- I like to make this the night before so it's ready for me in the morning. Just before serving, add about 1/4 cup of the superfood trail mix.
- **Cashew cream is optional. You can whisk in 3 tablespoons cashew cream (blend 1 cup soaked cashews, 1/2 cup water, and honey to sweeten until it's creamy).