Chia, or Salvia hispanica, is a kind of flowering plant –member of the mint family Lamiaceae, and grows in Guatemala and central and southern Mexico.
Its name came from the Mayan word for strength. This remarkable plant was commonly used since the ancient era in order to boost energy levels, especially for the running messengers. Due to this property, it was also known as Indian Running Food.
The taste of Chia seeds is mild and pleasant, and it easily enters various dishes, as it does not alter the taste much. You can add it to smoothies, sauces, bread butters and the like.
Chia seeds- health benefits
Chia seeds have:
- 3 times the reported antioxidant strength of blueberries
- 2 times the amount of potassium contained in bananas
- 3 times more iron than spinach
- 5 times the calcium of milk, as well as boron, a trace mineral that helps transfer calcium in the bones
- great amounts of omega 3 and omega 6, which are essential fatty acids
- 2 times the protein of any other seed or grain
Chia seeds are also rich in soluble fibre, as well as proteins and essential amino acids in an easily digestible form.
Chia seeds are highly hydrophilic, that is, they absorb water and form a mucilaginous gel. They can absorb 9-12 times their weight in water in an extremely quick way, in no more than 10 minutes.
Chia seeds are a rich source of antioxidants. Also, these seeds can be stored dry for 4-5 years and they will not lose their nutritional value, odor or flavor. They are the best replacement for flaxseed.
Chia seeds displace calories and fat when added to food, but they do not alter the flavor of the meal. Hence, now you can enjoy all your favorite meals and still intake half the calories that you used to consume before.
Chia has numerous other health benefits, including:
- Regulates digestion
- Regulates blood sugar
- Provides energy
- Boosts your body strength
- Boosts endurance
- Helps the process of weight loss
Therefore, chia seeds can help in numerous other health conditions, like:
- Reduces cholesterol levels
- Weight loss/balance
- Thyroid conditions
- Acid reflux
- Celiac disease
Easy to Digest
When soaked in water, the body easily absorbs and digests these seeds.
Absorb and Retain Water
Chia seeds may prolong hydration and retain electrolytes, especially during the process of excretion.
Add a tablespoon of chia seeds in some water and it will successfully absorb the excess acid. After 5 minutes, drink a cup of water, since these seeds are hydrophilic and if they lack water, they will absorb it from the tissues.
Due to its mild taste, chia may be a part of many recipes. Add Chia seeds to your dressings, smoothies, crackers, juices, ice creams, and cookie mixtures etc.
Cleanse the intestines
Chia seeds get rid of the waste deposits in the intestines and promote regular bowel movements.
These remarkable seeds, due to the numerous nutrients they contain, promote rapid tissue regeneration, so they are incredible in the case of recovering from injuries, as well as during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Chia gel forms a physical barrier between carbohydrates and the digestive enzymes responsible for their breaking down, which decelerates the carbs’ conversion into sugar.
1 lb bags cost $8. Moreover, 1/3 cup of dry chia seeds (2 ounces) makes about 17 ounces of chia gel which costs about $1. Since these 17oz will last around 4 days, their price is about 25 cents daily.
Chia seeds- How to use?
You need to soak these seeds in water, and they will quickly absorb a large amount of water.
In order to prepare chia gel, you should add 1/3 cup of chia seeds (2oz) to 2 cups of water. Then pour the mixture in a sealed jar in the fridge. In this way, you will prepare 17oz chia gel. The gel will be prepared in 10 minutes, so you can consume it immediately. Yet, the power of its nutrients comes only after a few hours, so you should wait a bit. The gel will last up to 3 weeks.
Mix chia with whole seeds, and if you want, you can grind them in a coffee grinder and add them to soups of smoothies. Moreover, you can sprinkle the mixture on your special meals and salads, or you can add it to granola mixes.
Add it to drinks
Apart from water, chia seeds also absorb all kinds of liquids, so you can add them to your juices, mix it with some fruits in the blender and prepare your fabulous healthy drink! Yet, always wait for 10 minutes before you drink it.
These are the top 6 Chia recipes:
Basic Chia Gel recipe
Add 1/3 cup chia seeds in two cups of water and mix well. Refrigerate and use when needed.
- Raw Rice Pudding
- 4-5 tablespoons chia seed
- Raw honey or agave syrup to taste
- 2 cups almond milk
Soak the chia seeds 10 minutes before use. Then, mix all ingredients and you can also add some cinnamon, vanilla or cardamom to enrich the taste.
- Banana-nut Bread
- 8 tablespoons ground chia
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
- 2 cups vegetable juice pulp
- 5 bananas
- ½ cup raisins
Mix the bananas and veggie juice pulp in a food processor. Then, add the ground chia and mix until you get a homogeneous mixture. Then, mix it with raisins and walnuts in a bowl. Make a loaf and add the following mixture on its top: mix 9 dates, the juice of 1 or 2 lemons, cream cheese, a bigger handful of dulse seaweed and the flesh of three avocados.
- Chia Fresca
- 2 teaspoons chia seeds
- Agave syrup or raw honey to taste
- 10 0z pure water
- Juice of 1 lemon or lime
- Bana-paya Chia
- 4-5 tablespoons ground chia
- 1 cup papaya flesh
- 1 banana
- 6 dried Turkish figs
Mix the banana and the papaya flesh, and add the figs. Leave the mixture to soak during the night. In the morning, stir well and add the ground chia seeds.
- Fruity Chia
- 4-5 tablespoons chia seeds
- 3 small or 2 big apples
- 8 dates, without the pits
- ¼ cup dries mulberries
- Chia Gel Muesli
- 1 cup of basic chia gel
- 1 tablespoon lucuma powder
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup raisins
- 2 bananas mashed with a fork
Using a fork, mix the ingredients and it is ready for consumption!
- Green Chia
- 1/3 cup chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon spirulina powder
- 8 dried prunes, soaked in 1-pint pure water
Drain the prune soak water and place the chia seeds to soak in it. Combine the spirulina, prunes and a small amount of the soak water. Stir well, leave the chia to soak for at least 10 minutes, and consume.
- Persi-nana Chia
- 4-5 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon maca
- Handful of pumpkin seeds
- 1-2 bananas
- 1-2 persimmons
- Handful of goji berries
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
In a bowl, mix the persimmons and bananas, and add the maca, cinnamon, gojis, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds. Chia needs to soak for 10 minutes before use.