(Sorry, my husband came up with that!)
I was recently asked by Scribbleartie to write a post about Chia Seeds as I use them a lot in my smoothies and breakfast bowls, so here is the latest in my mini series of informative posts on essential vitamins and minerals. I’ve included some recipes at the bottom of the post.
These little seeds are amazing nutritional powerhouses and I hope by the end you feel inspired to make them a part of your eating regimen.
(Ours are from The Raw Chocolate Company. They are Organic and Fair Trade and come in a resealable bag that actually works!)
‘Mum, you have to try these!’
The first time I tried chia seeds, I took my son’s advice and soaked a tablespoon in a glass of cold water for half an hour, stirring like there was no tomorrow, adding a slice of lime, then sipping it as a ‘refreshing’ drink. Ugh!!! Like drinking tadpoles! Not that I’ve ever drunk tadpoles, but you know what I mean. The seeds swell and form a gel. It was like a tasteless jelly, even with the lime. A lot of people like this Chia Fresca, but I swore it would never pass my lips again!
However, I don’t like giving up that easily when I know something is really good for me and I found that I liked adding the seeds to smoothies or soaking them with oats, nuts and berries for breakfast. (Recipe ideas later).
I’m not doing a great job of selling them to you, am I?!
Let’s begin again…
First, a little history:
Chia seeds are tiny black seeds from a plant belonging to the mint family. Originally grown in Mexico and South America, they were used by the Aztec and Mayan warriors and runners as a source of energy. Reportedly, a spoonful could sustain them for a whole day (Chia means strength in Mayan).
More recently, health enthusiasts have taken to using them as a superfood having discovered their nutritional density and healthy fats and fibre.
Here’s the lowdown on the science:
Chia seeds are 14% protein with 1 oz (28g or about 2 Tbsps) providing 4g Protein and also 18% of your daily Calcium requirement.
Boron is also found in Chia seeds which helps to metabolise the Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium and Vitamin D in the seeds for healthy, strong bones. Add to these Sulphur, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorous, Vitamins B1, B2, B3, and E and you can see where I’m going with the powerhouse metaphor.
But that’s not all…
Chia seeds contain more heart-healthy Omega-3 fats than salmon.
These essential healthy fats are protected from going rancid by a proliferation of antioxidants, which also protect our bodies from free radical damage that can lead to premature aging and even cancer through inflammation, and they help repair already damaged skin.
Being 40% fibre, Chia seeds aid good digestion: soaked seeds promote bowel regularity and waste elimination. Because they can absorb up to 12 times their weight in water, they form a gel which supports the growth of probiotics for a healthy gut. (Be sure to keep well-hydrated).
(Chia seeds are so easily digested that in Mexico, babies are given chia porridge when being weaned in the same way we might give ours baby rice).
And there’s more…
Chia seeds are GMO-Free and naturally Gluten-Free, they help fill you up as they swell in your stomach so you are less likely to snack and interestingly, they are currently being investigated for their potential ability to help control diabetes.
These seeds are not only healthy but versatile:
1 Tbsp of Chia Seeds soaked in 3 Tbsps of water can act as egg replacement in vegan recipes – see Vegan Leek, Carrot & Ginger Sausages, Vegan ‘Cheesy’ Almond, Leek & Herb Sausages, Spicy Chickpea & Coriander Veggie Burgers (vegan & gluten-free).
When combined with other ingredients, Chia Seeds make a tasty, satisfying, wholesome meal, snack or dessert. Promise.
So, are you ready to try them yet?
Vegan Gluten-Free Breakfast 1: Soak 1 Tbsp Oats + 1 Tbsp each of Chia Seeds*, Hemp Seeds* & Goji Berries* with a Glass of Almond Milk for 30-60 minutes. (Stir occasionally). Serve with Sliced Banana, Blueberries, Dessicated Coconut. Yum!
Vegan Gluten-Free Breakfast 2: Blend 1 Cup Dried Mango, 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds,* 1 Tbsp Quinoa Flakes, Small Glass Coconut Water, 3 Brazil Nuts, and 1/2 Chopped Apple. Pour into a bowl and serve with sliced apple and dessicated coconut.
Vegan Gluten-Free Breakfast/Dessert 3: Blend 1/2 a ripe Banana, 1/2 a ripe Pear, 1 Tbsp Oats, 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds,* 1 Tbsp Peanut Butter, 1 Tbsp Golden Linseeds, 1 Tsp Wheatgrass Powder with a Glass of Almond or Tiger Nut Milk (see below). Serve in a bowl with sliced Pear & Banana, Blueberries and a sprinkling of Cinnamon.
This morning’s Tiger Berry Breakfast: 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds,* 2 Tbsps Oats, 1 Tbsp of Goji Berries* soaked in 1 Glass Tiger Nut Milk (see below) for 30-60 minutes (stir occasionally), served in a glass dish on a pretty blue plate (optional) with blueberries, more goji berries and hemp seeds or chopped nuts.
You can also simply soak (for up to an hour) a tablespoon of seeds and a couple of tablespoons of oats in a bowl with some chopped medjool dates or dried apricots for sweetness, using a glass of nut or tiger nut milk (or freshly made apple juice) and serve with your favourite fruit and/or nuts.
There are also recipes in the Menu for smoothies using Chia Seeds.
Are you convinced, yet?
Copyright: Chris McGowan
41 thoughts on “Three Cheers for Chias! What Are Chia Seeds & How Do I Use Them? Recipes included”
Big fan of chia seeds – for all the nutritional reasons you state (especially Omega 3s). I generally add them to blended drinks, however — not so crazy about eating them like pudding, etc.
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I mostly blend them too, but they’re good when soaked and fruit added.
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