Chia (Salvia hispanica) is a flowering plant that is a member of the mint family that grows in central and southern Mexico and Guatemala.
The name is a Mayan word meaning strength and this amazing plant has been used since ancient times to provide energy and stamina, especially for the running messengers. Because of this use, it was also called ‘Indian running food’.
Chia’s taste is mild and pleasing and can be used in various dishes because it doesn’t affect the taste too strongly. It can be added in a range of dishes such as sauces, smoothies, bread butters, and others.
The health benefits of chia seeds
- 3 times the iron of spinach
- 3 times the reported antioxidant potency of blueberries
- 5 times the calcium of milk, as well as boron, a trace mineral that aids bone calcium transfer
- 2 times the potassium of bananas
- 2 times the protein of other seeds or grains
- High amounts of omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids
- Soluble fiber, essential amino acids and proteins in easily-digestible form
In addition to their amazing nutritious value, they are also highly hydrophilic, meaning they can absorb a lot of water, actually 9 to 12 times their weight in less than 10 minutes, and form a kind of mucilaginous gel.
These seeds are abundant in antioxidants and can be stored for up to 5 years without losing their flavor, odor, or nutritional value. They are a great substitute for flaxseed.
Chia seeds can be added to numerous foods without altering the flavor and they actually displace calories and fat, which means you can enjoy your favorite foods while taking in half the calories you would without the seeds.
Chia seeds provide loads of other health benefits, such as:
- Regulating blood sugar
- Regulating digestion
- Boosting strength and endurance
- Providing energy
- Supporting the weight loss process
Chia seeds can therefore be beneficial for conditions such as:
- High cholesterol levels
- Acid reflux
- Thyroid conditions
- Celiac disease
Properties of Chia seeds
When they are soaked in water, they are easily absorbed and digested by the body
Absorbing and retaining water
They can retain electrolytes and prolong hydration, especially during excretion
To absorb excess acid, simply add a tablespoon of chia seeds to some water. Just remember to drink a glass of water after 5 minutes because the seeds are hydrophilic and when they lack water, they absorb it from the tissues.
Its mild taste makes it a great addition to just about every kind of dish including juices, smoothies, ice creams, crackers, dressings, cookie mixtures, etc.
Cleansing of intestines
Chia seeds help in promoting regular bowel movements and also eliminate waste deposits from intestines
Due to all those nutrients they contain, these remarkable seeds promote speedy regeneration of tissues and are great when recovering from injuries and during pregnancy and breastfeeding, too.
Chia gel can actually form a physical barrier between the carbohydrates and digestive enzymes which are responsible for breaking them down and this slows down the conversion of carbs into sugar.
A 1 lb. bag costs around 8 dollars. Moreover, 1/3 cup (2 ounces) can make around 17 ounces of chia gel, which costs approximately one dollar. This comes to around 25 cents daily since 17 ounces will last about 4 days.
How to use chia seeds
All you need to do is to soak chia seeds in water and they will very quickly absorb a great deal of water.
To prepare 17 oz. chia gel, you need to add 1/3 cup of chia seeds to 2 cups of water. Pour this mixture into a jar, then seal it and put it in the fridge. In ten minutes, the gel will be ready to consume although it’s best to wait a few hours for the full power of all its nutrients to be released. The gel lasts up to 3 weeks.
You can mix chia with other whole seeds and then grind them if you want in a coffee grinder and add them to smoothies or soups, etc. You can also sprinkle the mix on meals and salads or add it to various granola mixes.
Add it to drinks
Chia seeds can absorb not only water, but all kinds of liquids, and can be added to all juices or mixed with fruit and blended to prepare super healthy drinks! Just remember to always wait for ten minutes before drinking.
Here are the top six chia recipes:
Basic chia gel
Add 1/3 cup chia seeds to two cups of water and mix well. Refrigerate and use as needed.
- Raw rice pudding
Soak 4-5 tbsp. chia seed in 2 cups of almond milk for 10 minutes. Then mix in raw honey or agave syrup according to taste.
You can also add vanilla, cinnamon or cardamom for further flavor, as you like
- Banana-nut bread
Mix 5 bananas with 2 cups vegetable juice (pulp) in a food processor. Then add 8 tablespoons of ground chia and mix until it’s homogenous. Mix it with walnuts and raisins in a bowl. For it into a loaf and put the following topping, 9 dates mixed with juice of 1 or 2 lemons, cream cheese, handful of dulse seaweed and soft fleshy part of 3 avocados.
- Chia Fresca
Mix 1 banana and 1 cup of papaya flesh, then add 6 dried Turkish figs, juice of 1 lemon or lime, raw honey or agave syrup to taste, 10 oz. pure water. Leave this mixture overnight. In the morning, stir well and then add 4-5 tablespoons of ground chia seeds.
- Fruity chia
Mix the following with a fork and it’s ready to eat! 4-5 tablespoons chia seeds, 3 small (or 2 big) apples, 8 dates (without pits), ¼ cup dried mulberries, chia gel muesli, 1 cup of basic chia gel, 1 tbsp. lucuma powder, ¼ cup of pumpkin seeds and ¼ cup raisins, 2 bananas (mashed with a fork),
- Green Chia
Soak 8 dried prunes in 1 pint pure water, drain the prunes and place 1/3 cup chia seeds to soak in the water. Combine 1 tablespoon spirulina powder, prunes and a small amount of the water. Stir well, leave chia to soak for 10 minutes at the least, then it’s ready for consumption.
- Persi-nana chia
Mix 1 – 2 persimmons in a bowl with 1 – 2 bananas, then add 1 teaspoon of maca, a handful of pumpkin seeds, a handful of goji berries, a teaspoon of cinnamon and 4-5 tablespoons of chia seeds (soaked previously for 10 minutes).
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