Chia seeds have long been considered a “superfood,” but what does that actually mean?
The demand for chia seeds is skyrocketing and with good reason. When prepared properly they are easy to digest, loaded with an array of nutrients and pack a powerful energy boost.
What You Need to Know
In ancient time’s chia seeds were known as ‘runner’s food’ because runners and warriors ate them as fuel to run long distances or when going into battle. Chia seeds are harvested from a flowering plant that belongs to the mint family and is called Salvia Hispanica. Good quality seeds are naturally white or black in colour.
The benefits of chia seeds have been widely researched and include improving digestive health, promoting heart health, boosting your energy and metabolism, and can even help treat diabetes.
But before we delve into the Right Way to eat Chia Seeds, let’s take a look at the nutrients available from chia seeds.
The Power of Chia
Just because something’s little doesn’t mean it’s not powerful.
Case in point: Chia seeds.
These little superstars are tiny, but they’re loaded with essential nutrients. Chia seeds are;
• High in antioxidants
• High in calcium, potassium and magnesium
• Contains 37% dietary fibre
• Contains 20% protein
• High in essential fatty acid, omega-3 fats (20% Omega-3 ALA)
• Contain vitamins A, B, E and D,
• Contains minerals including iron, thiamine, iodine, niacin and sulphur
• Naturally gluten-free
How to Eat Chia Seeds the Right Way
If you’ve been sprinkling a spoonful of dry chia seeds onto your meals here and there, you are not unlocking the power of this amazing little seed.
Soak (AKA Sprout) Your Chia Seeds
Chia seeds contain digestive inhibitors (as do all seeds). Digestive inhibitors are nature’s way of protecting the seeds as they lay on the ground waiting for the perfect conditions to germinate. Only when the seed germinates are the digestive inhibitors removed and the full nutritional power released.
So how do you germinate chia seeds before you eat them?
Don’t worry, there’s no soil or potting involved. All you need to do is soak the seeds in liquid (water or plant-based milk), ideally overnight but even 20 minutes will go a long way to releasing its potential.
You can easily make chia pudding, one of the most popular ways to eat the seeds, by mixing a quarter-cup of the seeds in one cup of liquid ( oat milk are popular choices). Once the seeds have gelled up and the mixture is no longer watery, the “pudding” is ready to eat. This can take as little as 15 minutes, although chia pudding keeps well in the fridge for several days. Since chia doesn’t have a ton of flavour on its own, feel free to add spices, chopped fruit, nuts, and any other toppings you’d like.
If you’re adding the seeds to a drink or a “wet” dish like porridge, they’ll swell up slightly while you eat, but they’ll retain a slight crunch. And although these are some of the more common ways to eat chia, its mild flavour and compact size make it easy to slip a spoonful into pretty much anything—so experiment!
Chia Seeds Can Make You Dehydrated
Since chia seeds are capable of absorbing a lot of liquid, it’s important to stay well-hydrated when consuming them, particularly in dry form. Remember that chia seeds can hold up to 12 times their weight in liquid, so when soaked before consumed they’re wonderful for preventing dehydration. But if eaten dry, they can absorb water from your body causing you to become dehydrated.
They’re no better time to start eating chia seeds than now. These are available in all good supermarkets today. Just add some non-dairy milk or yoghurt (my favourite), a sprinkle of fruit, something for a bit of crunch and you’ve got an easy delicious breakfast.
Check out the Healthy Yogurt Based Snacks
Your turn: What’s your favourite way to eat chia seeds?
Leave your questions or comments below.
By Priyanshi Bhatnagar