What is Chia Seed?
Salvia hispanica, also known as chia, is a species of flowering plant in the mint family, Lamiaceae, found in central and southern Mexico and Guatemala.
Chia is the Mayan word for strength. It was used since the ancient times as an energy-booster food, particularly for their running messengers. It was also known as Indian Running Food since it has the ability to significantly boost the energy in the body.
Why would you want to eat Chia?
Chia seeds contain:
- 2 times the protein of ant other seed or grain
- 5 times the calcium of milk, plus boron which is a trace mineral that helps transfer calcium in your bones
- 2 times the amount of potassium as bananas
- 3 times the reported antioxidant strength of blueberries
- 3 times more iron and spinach
- Copious amounts of omega 3 and omega 6, which are essential fatty acids.
They are an excellent source of proteins, providing all the essential amino acids in an easily digestible form. Also, they are loaded with soluble fibre.
Chia is highly hydrophilic which means that the seeds absorb water and create mucilaginous gel. They can hold 9-12 times their weight in water and they absorb it very rapidly- in less than 10 minutes.
Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants and can stay stable for much longer. They can be stored dry for 4-5 years without losing its flavor, odor and nutritional value. It is the perfect substitute for flax.
Chia seeds have mild and pleasant taste. It can be easily combined with other foods without changing its taste dramatically. It can be added to bread butters, sauces, puddings, smoothies and other.
The Dieter`s Dream Food
When added to food, chia seeds have the ability to displace calories and fat without changing the flavor. Therefore, you can enjoy your meals yet only consume half the calories that you might have eaten.
What are some other benefits of eating Chia?
- Provide energy
- Boosts strength
- Bolsters endurance
- Regulates blood sugar
- Promotes weight loss
- Regulates digestion
Chia gel creates a physical barrier between carbohydrates and the digestive enzymes that break them down, which slows down the conversion of carbs into sugar.
Absorb and Retain Water
It can prolong hydration and retain electrolytes, particularly during excretion.
Easy to Digest
When water soaked, chia seeds are easily absorbed and digested.
They can help eliminate the old accumulated waste in the intestines. Also, they can promote regular bowel movements.
1 lb bags cost $8. 1/3 cup of dry chia seeds (2 ounces) makes about 17 ounces of chia gel which costs about $1. These 17oz will last about 4 days, on average, which is about 25 cents a day.
Chia is used in numerous recipes, savoury, sweet and they work perfect with almost any food. You can use them in salad dressings, smoothies, cookie mixtures, crackers, ice creams, juices etc.
Which medical conditions can Chia help relieve?
- Weight loss/balance
- Thyroid conditions
- Celiac disease
- Acid reflux
- Lowers cholesterol
One tbsp of chia seeds with just a little water can absorb the excess acid.
Consume a glass of water after 5 minutes because the seeds are hydrophilic and if there is not enough water in the stomach, it can absorb it from the tissues instead.
Chia seeds promote rapid tissue regeneration due to its high nutrient content. Therefore, it is very beneficial for people who are recovering from injuries, like bodybuilders who are always re-forming tissues and pregnant and breastfeeding women.
How do you use Chia?
Simply soak the seeds in water. They will easily absorb a large amount of liquid-between 9-12 times their volume in less than 10 minutes.
The Basic Gel
Add 1/3 cup of seeds (2oz) to 2 cups of water. Mix well and leave it in the fridge, in well sealed jar. This will give you 17oz chia gel.
You can eat it right away if you like because the gel is ready in just 10 minutes. However, most of the nutrients are accessible after a few hours. Its shelf life is about three weeks.
Chia can absorb any liquid, not just water. It is perfectly combined with apple juice for instance. Also, you can blend it with fruits such as bananas and persimmons. Wait at least ten minutes before consuming it.
You can also use the whole seeds. Sprinkle them on salads or add them to granola mixes. Optionally, you can grind them in coffee grinder and then add them in your smoothies and soups.
Ten Raw Chia Recipes
Basic Chia Gel
Mix 1/3 cup chia seeds with 2 cups of water. Mix well. This is the basic gel recipe that can be stored in your fridge and used when necessary.
Sweet Shortbread Chia
4-5tbsps chia seeds
2 cups fresh apple juice
2 tbsps lucuma powder
½ cup dried mulberries
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
Soak the chia seeds in the apple juice. Mix with the remaining ingredients. Allow it to soak for at least 10 minutes before consuming.
2 tsp chia seeds
100z pure water
Juice of one lemon or lime
Agave syrup or raw honey to taste
3 small or 2 big apples
8 dates, pits removed
4-5 tbsp chia seeds
¼ cup dries mulberries
1 cup papaya flesh
6 dried Turkish figs
4-5 tbsp chia, ground
Blend the papaya flesh and banana together. Add the figs in this mixture and allow it to soak overnight. Stir the whole mixture, including the figs, the next day. Mix in the gorund chia seed. Serve.
Chia Gel Muesli
1 cup of basic chia gel
2 bananas, mashed with a fork
1 tbsp lucuma powder
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
Mix all the ingredients with a fork and consume.
8 dried prunes, soaked in 1 pint pure water
1 tbsp spirulina powder
1/3 cup chia seeds
Drain off most of the prune soak water and put the chia seeds to soak in the prune soak water. Mix together the prunes with the spirulina and a small amount of the soak water. Stir the mixture in the soaked chia seeds. Allow chia to soak for at least 10 minutes before consuming.
4-5 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp maca
1 tsp cinnamon
Handful of goji berries
Handful of pumpkin seeds
Mix the bananas and persimmons. Put the mixture in a bowl. Mix together the chia seeds, maca, cinnamon, gojis and pumpkin seeds. Allow chia to soak for at least 10 minutes before consuming.
Raw Rice Pudding
4-5 tbsp chia seed
2 cups almond milk
Raw honey or agave syrup to taste
Mix the ingredients to your taste. Allow the chia to soak for at least 10 minutes before consuming. Also, you can add other flavors such as vanilla, cinnamon and cardamom.
2 cups vegetable juice pulp (preferably at least half carrot)
8 tbsp ground chia
¼ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup raisins
In a food processor, mix the veggie juice pulp and bananas. Add in the ground chia and let the food processor run until the seeds are completely mixed in.
Put the mixture in a bowl with the walnuts and raisin and mix well using your hand.
Shape it into a loaf. Top with Cream Cheese.
Flesh of three avocados
Juice of 1 or 2 lemons
Big handful of dulse seaweed