Chi Chi Chia! the famous slogan from the Chia Pet Ads may have sparked interest in this superfood many years ago. Today, chia seeds are one of the most sought-after health foods.
They are tiny seeds but are packed with good nutrition. This blog will explore their health benefits and help you include them in your diet by trying 3 simple and easy chia seed recipes below.
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What Are Chia Seeds?
Did you know that chia seeds are harvested from the flowering plant Salvia Hispanica which belongs to the mint family?
According to a National Institute Of Health article, Salvia Hispanica is indigenous to Mexico and Guatemala.
Chia seeds have been around for about 5500 years. Furthermore, the word chia is derived from the Spanish word chian, which means “oily.”
The seeds were traditionally used as food and in the preparation of folk medicine by the Mayas and Aztecs.
Chia Seeds Health Benefit # 1:
1/2 cup = 34.4 g Fiber
According to the Dietary Guideline For Americans, an estimated 90-95 percent of men and women in the United States do not consume the recommended daily dietary fiber.
The Dietary Guidelines recommend that women consume approximately 25 g of fiber per day, while men consume approximately 35 g per day. The recommended daily fiber intake varies by gender, age, and pregnancy status.
Fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains contain a significant amount of fiber, particularly insoluble fiber. Unfortunately, many Americans do not include enough of these food groups in their daily diet.
What type of Fiber Is Found In Chia Seeds
Not all fibers are created equal. There are 2 main types of fiber: soluble and insoluble.
According to the Harvard School Of Public Health, chia are mostly made up of soluble fiber and mucilage, a gluey substance that forms around the chia seeds when it is soaked in water or become moistened.
Soluble fiber can help aid in the reduction of bad LDL cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and improve digestion.
While chia seeds cannot prevent cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or other diseases on their own, including them in a well-balanced diet can help you achieve your healthy lifestyle goals.
Health Benefit # 2:
2 tablespoons = ~5 g Protein
Chia seed protein content is affected by environmental and ergonomic factors.
They have a protein content of 20% by volume. They contain a healthy balance of essential and non-essential amino acids.
Furthermore, the main protein found in the seeds is Globulin, which accounts for approximately 52 percent of total proteins.
Are Chia Seeds Gluten-Free?
The seeds are free of gluten. As a result, people living with Celiac Disease will be able to consume and digest them.
Harvard School Of Public Health warns that people who have dysphagia or difficulty swallowing should avoid eating raw chia seeds. This is because they absorb water quickly and swell, potentially causing choking.
Moreover, the authors recommend that people with Dysphagia or other digestive disorders mix chia seeds with a liquid before eating them.
Chia seeds are high in Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids as well as Omega 6. However, Omega-3 fatty acids account for 64% of polyunsaturated fatty acids.
One of the key Omega-3 components is Alpha-Linolenic Acid. Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to protect the heart and enhance cardiovascular health (decreasing cholesterol, blood pressure, inflammation, and helping to prevent blog clots).
Chia seeds contain a high concentration of antioxidants. They contain antioxidants such as chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, myricetin, quercetin, and kaempferol.
According to Healthline, antioxidants fight free radicals, which can cause cell damage and certain chronic diseases when they accumulate in our bodies.
Chia seeds are a good source of vitamins and minerals in addition to protein, fiber, Omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants.
According to Healthline, 2 tablespoons of chia seeds will provide you with approximately
14% recommended daily value (DV) of Calcium
23% DV Magnesium
20% DV Phosphorus
16% DV of Niacin and thiamin (B Vitamins)
12% DV Zinc and Iron.
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Salvia Hispanica are bland and can be easily incorporated into your diet. They can be added to soup, juice, water, baked goods, smoothies, pudding, and yogurt. Below are 3 easy ways you may enjoy them.
Easy Chia Seed Banana Fritters Recipe.
- Mixing Bowl
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Skillet Pan
- 4 tbsp. Black Chia Seeds
- 1¼ cups All-purpose Flour
- 3 Extra Ripe Bananas
- 1 cup Vegetable Oil
- ½ cup Brown Sugar
- 1 medium Egg
- 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 1 tsp. Coconut Essence
- ½ cup Whole milk or Nut milk
- 1 tsp. Baking Powder
- 2 tsp. Nutmeg, grated
- 1 tsp. Salt
- Personally, I prefer my banana fritters to be dense. As a result, I rarely use eggs and baking powder. However, the banana fritters in this recipe are lighter in texture, and the chia seeds add a lot of texture and crunch.
- Mash ripe bananas in a bowl with a fork or food masher. The riper the bananas, the sweeter they will be and the less brown sugar you will need to add.
- After the banana is uniformly mashed, add milk, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and coconut essence. Mix well together
- In another bowl, add flour and baking powder. Use a whisk to mix dry ingredients together.
- Mix the flour and the banana mixture well together using a whisk.
- Add the chia seeds to the banana fritter mixture and combine until uniform.
- In a cast-iron skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat for 2 minutes. Using a ½ cup measuring cup, scoop the batter into the hot oil. Use a ¼ cup measuring cup to make smaller fritters.
- Cook the chia seed banana fritters for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. When the edges begin to brown, it indicates that they are ready to be turned.
- Turn and remove the chia banana fritters from the oil with a spatula. Place on paper towels to absorb any remaining oil from the surface.
- Serve chia banana fritters warm, room temperature, or chilled.
Coconut Peanut Butter Chia Seed Pudding
- Small Mixing Bowl
- 2 tbsp. Chia Seeds
- ½ cup Coconut Milk
- 2 tbsp Peanut Butter, extra crunchy
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- ½ cup Almond Milk
- 1 tsp. Nutmeg, grated
- In a bowl, mix all ingredients ( chia seeds, almond and coconut milk, spice, peanut butter) using a whisk until evenly distributed
- Place the covered bowl in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour to chill.
- Layer chia pudding with your favorite fresh fruits in a glass. I layered pudding with pineapple, strawberries, and granola in this recipe.
Lemon Chia Water
This is an excellent way to incorporate chia seeds into your diet.
Drink this lemon chia water before going to bed or as soon as you wake up.
Fill a glass container halfway with water and add the juice of one small lemon.
1 to 2 tablespoons chia seeds
Mix thoroughly, making sure the chia seeds are submerged in water. Place in the fridge for 30-60 minutes.