A World of Health Benefits in the Tiny Chia Seed

Chia seeds (Salvia hispanica) seem to be the next best thing these days, much like Acai was not too long ago.

These little seeds are currently grown mostly in Latin America and are packed with protein, Omega-3s, antioxidants, fiber, and can possibly enhance athletic performance due to the gel that is created when they’re mixed with water.

Unlike flax seeds, chia seeds don’t need to be ground first. The gel is also created once digested, so it’s touted as a way to lose weight because you stay full longer.

Studies have been done where chia gel was used as a replacement for oil or eggs. When the gel was used to replace 25 percent of oil or eggs, there wasn’t a significant difference in color, taste, or texture. When 50 percent of oil was substituted, it had 36 fewer kilocalories and 4 grams less fat per 100 gram portion. This is great news for those of us who want to have our cake and eat it too. We want a healthier version of our favorite cake or dessert while still retaining the deliciousness factor. Substituting chia gel when baking can be a great option.

Chia seeds take on whatever flavors they’re mixed with, so they can be added to anything for an extra nutritional punch. If you’ve tried them and didn’t like the taste or texture, give them another try by adding them to your granola or smoothie or mix them with your flour of choice when baking.

I routinely add them to oatmeal and sprinkle them over hummas wraps or any snack that needs a little more substance. I’m currently trying to perfect a chocolate pudding using cacao and coconut milk.

What are your favorite ways to use chia seeds? Share your favorite recipes or comments below!

 

Photo credit: Revitalise Your Health

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About Monique Minahan

Monique Minahan is a writer and yoga teacher offering her heart to the world through words that motivate, inspire, and encourage. Connect with her at mindfulmo.com.