Chia Seeds (Salvia columbariae).
‘Chia’ means strength as these small seeds pack a nutritional punch.
The Aztec cultures in Mexico cultivated the tiny Chia seed which became an important food crop from about 1300 to 1521.
They come in different colours, black, mottled, grey and white, with all colours having about the same nutritional benefits.
The seeds absorb 12 times their weight in water (hydrophilic) and develop a gelatinous coating, mainly soluble fibre and mucilage when soaked. They have an extremely low glycaemic index of 1, which reduces the insulin/blood sugar spike.
Uses for Chia seeds
Chia seeds make a great thickener when added to soups, desserts or jams, stirred into salad dressings, sauces or added to muffins. As they have no distinctive flavour of their own, they are great to use in this way. Sprinkle Chia seeds on your breakfast, add to smoothies or ground into a gluten-free flour for use in baking.
It is important to drink more water when consuming these seeds.
How to replace an egg in a recipe with Chia Seeds
1 egg replacement – 1 Tbsp chia seeds to 3 Tbsp water, let sit for 10 – 15 minutes until a thick gel.
Do Chia seeds help you lose weight?
Theory has it that chia seeds may benefit in weight loss when added to your diet as they make you feel fuller for longer. However, in two clinical trials this does not seem to be the case.
Chia Seeds Nutrition
Chia seeds are a nutrient dense food. 1 ounce / 28g contains:
- Calories 137 (574 kJ),
- Carbohydrate 12.3g,
- Fibre 10.6g,
- Net carbs 1.7g
- Protein 4.4g,
- Fat 8.6g, (6.5g polyunsaturated)
Chia seeds are a rich plant source of plant omega-3 fatty acids that are important in helping reduce inflammation in the body and beneficial for heart and brain health. They are good sources of minerals, calcium, potassium, phosphorus and manganese. They are also beneficial as a high antioxidant and isoflavone source.
Word of Caution:
Do not eat the dry seeds by themselves as they may cause a blockage in the oesophagus as they swell quickly. Allow the Chia seeds to swell in water or liquid before consuming .