Chia Seeds: What Are They? How Do You Eat Them?
You may have heard the hype surrounding these little seeds of goodness and for good reason too! They have many health benefits, are extremely versatile and because you only need to consume 2 tablespoons a day to receive their benefits they won’t break the budget.
Chia comes from a plant called Salvia Hispanica (which is related to the mint plant) originally found in South America.
Some important facts and health benefits of chia seeds include:
- They contain around 30% omega-3 fats, making them a great source of good fats which are essential for glowing skin and hair and healthy brain, cardiovascular and nervous system function.
- They contain the minerals magnesium, zinc and iron, plus B vitamins which are all important for keeping your energy levels up.
- 100g of chia seeds contains as much calcium as 500ml of milk, making it great for optimal bone health.
- They are a great source of plant based protein, with 4 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons of chia seeds.
- There is 11 grams of fibre per 2 tablespoons of chia seeds. This is great for promoting a healthy digestive system and keeping you regular.
- They are high in antioxidants, which helps to fight signs of aging.
- They produce gelatinous fibres. When these fibres enter the digestive tract they bind the toxins produced by the liver. The gelatinous fibres take the toxins through the digestive tract and out of the body. Volia! You have an amazing aid to help your body detoxify.
- They can absorb up to 9 times their weight in liquid causing them to expand in your stomach which will make you feel fuller for longer.
So how do you consume these little seeds? Some of my top tips are:
- Making a chia seed pudding for breakfast or dessert.
- Add about 2 tablespoons to your smoothies.
- Add them to bliss ball recipes for a nutritious snack, I have many recipes for these on my blog.
- Sprinkle them on your salads or stir-fry’s.
- Due to all their health benefits they are a great energy booster so you can use them to make a healthy sugar free version of energy gel by mixing 1/3 cup to 2 cups of water or coconut water.
- Make a healthy energy drink by mixing 500ml of coconut water with 3 tablespoons of chia seeds in a bottle. Not only are you getting the energy from the chia seeds but the coconut water is full of natural electrolytes.
- Add them to your morning fruit and yoghurt, cereal or bircher muesli.
- Use them as an egg substitute in baking. Do this by mixing 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water (this is equal to 1 egg), leave it to sit for 10 minutes until it forms a gel, then add it to your baking mixture.
- Thicken up sauces or soups by adding in a few tablespoons of the seeds.
- Make a healthy jam by mixing 1/3 cup seeds with 2 cups of pureed fruit of your choice then leave to set in the fridge for about an hour.
- If you’re feeling really game you can eat them dry on their own, a little warning, if you do this they may get stuck in your teeth.
A few things to note when consuming chia:
- Due to the amount of liquid they absorb it is important to drink lots of water when consuming them so you don’t get dehydrated.
- As they contain omega 3 fatty acids which, can be easily spoiled in the heat it is best to store them in the fridge once opened.