Often referred to as a “superfood” because of its touted benefits, chia seeds are now a staple in many health-conscious individuals’ diets. It has garnered worldwide popularity as a healthy food source in recent years. By 2022, an industry report says that the chia seed market is projected to reach USD 2 billion in sales.
Where Do Chia Seeds Come From?
Tiny, black chia seeds come from a plant called Salvia hispanica, a desert plant originally propagated as a major food crop in Central America, particularly in Guatemala and Mexico. The Aztecs and Mayans have used them as early as 3,500 BC. They have recognized its ability to provide sustainable energy. In fact, chia means “strength” in the Mayan language. It is an important food to them, even using them in religious ceremonies.
Why are they Good for You?
These tiny seeds pack a powerful punch. Another impressive thing about chia seeds is that one ounce only contains about 137 calories.
- Polyunsaturated fat (omega-3 fatty acids)
The are the richest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids tremendously aid in cardiovascular health: keeping our cholesterol low, regulating our blood pressure, and preventing blood clots.
A single ounce of chia seeds contains 18% of the Recommended Dietary Intake. For those who don’t eat dairy, chia seeds are an excellent substitute due to their high calcium content.
The fiber in chia seeds helps slow down digestion and lowers LDL cholesterol. Chia seeds have high soluble fiber content, absorbing up to 10-12 times their weight in water. This means that it expands in your stomach and increases fullness.
They are an excellent source of protein, particularly for people who are on a plant-based diet. They contain all nine essential amino acids.
- Contain important minerals such as zinc, phosphorus, and magnesium.
How Do you Put Chia Seeds in Your Everyday Diet?
Chia seeds are usually prepared with liquids, particularly shakes and smoothies. Since it doesn’t have a distinctive flavor, it can be quite versatile and can be added to a variety of dishes.
There are commercially available food products that have incorporated and are often added to crackers, bread, spreads, beverages, cereals, and many baked goods.
When stored properly in a cool, dry spot, they will last for about 4-5 years without refrigeration. Here are a few ideas on how you can incorporate them into your everyday diet:
- Have a nutritious breakfast by adding them to your morning shakes, porridge, yogurt, cereals, or oatmeal.
- Sprinkle them into your marinades, salad dressings, stir-fries, stews, or sauces.
- Drink juice-soaked chia seeds. Soak about 30 to 40 grams of seeds for about 30 minutes in a liter of fruit juice.
- Add them to your homemade bread dough or your cake or pancake mix.
- Use it as an egg substitute – 15 grams of seeds soaked in water for 1 whole egg.
We hope you have learned more about the healthy ways to use these amazing seeds!
Be sure to visit Bentham-Open weekly for more helpful articles.