Chia seeds seem to be popping up everywhere and are increasingly gaining popularity as a superfood. But what are they, and what are the benefits of eating them?
These tiny black seeds come from the Salvia hispanica plant, which is related to mint. A raw chia seed will have a texture reminiscent of a poppy seed, it is dense and crunchy. However, when soaked in water, a gel-like texture forms on the outer layer. In fact, chia seeds are said to be able to absorb liquid up to 9 times their weight, which gives them the ideal texture to be used in a variety of dishes.
Chia seeds are a nutrition-packed food - just 100 grams of chia seeds can provide many essential nutrients including iron, calcium, thiamin, manganese, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, B vitamins, folate, and riboflavin. They are also great sources of protein: a 100g serving of chia seeds contains 17g of protein. According to medical experts, small quantities of chia seeds added to one’s daily diet can help strengthen immunity and boost metabolism.
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds:
• Aids Weight Management: Chia seeds are known to help suppress the appetite, mitigate hunger pangs, prevent overeating, and overall facilitate weight loss. They are a good source of healthy fats, which also aid in faster absorption of nutrients by the body.
• Good Source of Omega 3: Chia seeds contain a good amount of Omega-3 fatty acids, also known as Alpha-Linolenic Acid (AHA). They are polyunsaturated fats, which are 'good fats' that are extremely essential to the nervous system of our body.
• Minerals and Antioxidants: Chia seeds contain a lot of different nutrients and minerals that make them a valuable addition to any diet. They also contain antioxidants that can act against inflammation, aging, and cognitive decline related to aging.
Chia seeds are powerhouses of nutrients and contain large amounts of protein. This is why they are often used as a substitute for eggs, as they are perfect for vegetarian diets. When soaked in water, the gel-like consistency of chia seeds makes them ideal for use in cooking. You can make puddings with them, blend them into smoothies or oatmeal, or bake them into bread! Here are some recipes that demonstrate how to eat chia seeds and incorporate them in your daily diet.
Strawberry Chia Quinoa Breakfast
A healthy recipe must taste good as well as be nutritious. That's why this strawberry chia quinoa breakfast is going to become your new BFF. The chia seeds are a great source of protein and go well with berries and quinoa.
• 1 cup cooked quinoa
• 5 tbsp chia seeds
• 1 ½ cup almond milk
• ¾ cups strawberries (sliced)
• ¼ cup raspberries
• 1 tbsp almonds
• Combine the strawberries, raspberries, and milk in a blender and blend until smooth.
• Pour the liquid into a jar and add chia seeds. Combine until the chia seeds are fully coated. Refrigerate overnight. Cover with a lid. You can sweeten it with honey if you like.
• The next day, cook the quinoa and let it cool. Neatly place all the ingredients into a bowl and top with a layer of sliced strawberries and almonds. Enjoy!
Chia Banana Pancakes
This recipe makes healthy, delicious banana pancakes that you can serve guilt-free because they're naturally sweetened by ripe bananas and packed with antioxidants, fiber, and protein. They are also easy to make, and the chia seeds add a crunchy texture to the pancakes. This is one of the best chia seeds recipes.
• 4 medium bananas
• 4 large eggs
• 1 tbsp butter, unsalted
• 3 tbsp chia seeds
• 5 tbsp almond flour
• 2 tbsp flour, all-purpose
• 1 ½ tsp baking powder
• 2 tbsp milk
• Mash and peel the bananas. Add in the eggs and whisk thoroughly.
• Melt the butter and stir into the banana mixture. Blend the rest of the ingredients well.
• Heat a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Pour about 2 tablespoons of batter per pancake into the skillet. After about 1 minute, flip the pancakes and cook the other side until golden brown. Serve warm, topped with fresh berries if desired!
Chia Seeds and Broccoli Salad
A wholesome and satisfying broccoli salad with chia seed dressing that is packed with nutrient-rich ingredients and lets you enjoy the health benefits of chia seeds!
• 1 cup cherries
• ¼ cup orange juice and zest
• 1 tsp lemon juice
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• ½ tsp salt
• 1 tbsp chia seeds, plus extra for topping on a salad
Ingredients (Broccoli Salad):
• 5 cups broccoli florets, cut up into small pieces
• 2 cups thinly sliced kale
• 10 cherries
• A large orange, peeled and sliced into segments
• ¼ cup dried cranberries
• 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
• 2 tbsp sliced almonds
• Mix cherries, orange juice, orange zest, and lemon juice until smooth, about 15 seconds.
• Drizzle olive oil into a blender and puree until it's dispersed, about 30 seconds.
• Add ½ tsp of salt, taste, and add more as needed.
• Add in the chia seeds and blend for 10 seconds.
• While you prepare the salad, let the dressing sit in the blender. Add the chia seeds about 15 to 20 minutes before serving if you are not eating the salad right away.
Instructions (Broccoli Salad):
• Set aside a large bowl of cold water and 2 cups of ice. Bring to a boil the broccoli florets in a large pot filled with enough water to cover almost completely. Blanch broccoli for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer immediately to an ice bath and allow to cool until no longer warm. Drain florets well and set them aside.
• Toss the broccoli and kale together in a large bowl. Pour the dressing then add in the sliced cherries, oranges, cranberries, sunflower seeds, almonds, and extra chia seeds to a large serving bowl.
Healthy Chia Seed Drink
This apple cider vinegar and chia seed drink is a great way to start the day! Yummy, nourishing, and refreshing, this morning elixir is sure to brighten your day. This recipe shows one of the best chia seeds uses for any diet.
• 1 tbsp chia seeds
• ½ lime juice
• 1 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
• 1 ½ cup warm water
• Combine all the ingredients. Stir occasionally for 5-10 minutes, or until the chia seeds have absorbed the liquid. Take a drink!
Chia seeds are a nutrient-rich food that has a mild, nutty flavor and are a great way to boost the fiber, protein, calcium, antioxidants, and omega-3 content in your diet. They have many health benefits that include boosting metabolism, improving skin health, and aiding digestive function. It is very easy to add chia seeds to your diet as they are versatile. Try out some of these recipes!