Chia, or Salvia hispanica, is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae. It’s a kind of flowering plant which grows in Guatemala and central and southern Mexico. It’s an ancient super-food currently experiencing a glorious renaissance.
Its name came from the Mayan word for “strength”. This amazing plant was commonly used since the ancient era to boost energy levels, especially for the running messengers. Due to this property, it was also known as The Indian Running Food.
The taste of Chia seeds is mild and pleasant, and it easily enters various dishes. It does not alter the taste much. You can add it to many different smoothies, sauces, bread butters etc.
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds:
Chia seeds have:
- 3 times the reported antioxidant strength of blueberries
- 2 times the amount of potassium contained in bananas
- 3 times more iron than spinach
- 5 times the calcium of milk, as well as boron, a trace mineral that helps transfer calcium in the bones
- they are abundant in omega 3 and omega 6, which are essential fatty acids
- 2 times the protein of any other seed or grain
Chia seeds are also rich in soluble fiber, as well as proteins and essential amino acids in an easily digestible form.
These seeds are highly hydrophilic which means they absorb water and form a mucilaginous gel. They can absorb 9-12 times their weight in water in an extremely quick way and in no more than 10 minutes!
Chia seeds are a very rich source of antioxidants. They can be stored dry for 4-5 years and they will not lose their nutritional value, odor or flavor. They are the best replacement for flaxseed.
The taste of chia is very mild and pleasant. You can easily combine it with other foods without changing the taste dramatically. People add chia to their sauces, bread batters, puddings, smoothies and more. The flavor is retained, plus masses more nutrition is added.
Chia seeds displace calories and fat when added to food, but they do not alter the flavor of the meal. Now you can enjoy all your favorite meals and still intake half the calories that you used to consume before!
Chia has many other health benefits, like:
- Regulates digestion
- Regulates blood sugar
- Provides energy
- Boosts your body strength
- Boosts endurance
- Helps the process of weight loss
Health conditions which can benefit from Chia seeds are:
- Reduces cholesterol levels
- Weight loss/balance
- Thyroid conditions
- Acid reflux
- Celiac disease
Chia slows the impact of sugars on the system, if eaten together. Chia gel creates a physical barrier between carbohydrates and the digestive enzymes that break them down, which slows the conversion of carbs into sugar. That means the energy from the food is released steadily, resulting in more endurance. This is clearly of great benefit to diabetics in particular. It also means that I can combine chia with super-sweet tastes like apple juice and not get super-spiked.
Easy to Digest
When they are soaked in water, the body absorbs and digests these seeds easily.
Absorb and Retain Water
Chia seeds may prolong hydration and retain electrolytes, especially during the process of excretion.
Add a tablespoon of Chia seeds in some water and it will successfully absorb the excess of acid. After 5 minutes, drink a cup of water, since these seeds are hydrophilic and if they lack water, they will absorb it from the tissues.
Due to the mild taste, chia may be a part of many recipes. Add Chia seeds into your dressings, smoothies, crackers, juices, ice creams, and cookie mixtures etc.
Cleanse the intestines
Chia seeds help you get rid of the waste deposits in the intestines and promote regular bowel movements.
These remarkable seeds promote rapid tissue regeneration due to the numerous nutrients they contain, so they are incredible in the case of recovering from injuries, as well as during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
1 lb bags cost $8. Moreover, 1/3 cup of dry chia seeds (2 ounces) makes about 17 ounces of chia gel which costs about $1. Since these 17oz will last around 4 days, their price is about 25 cents daily.
How to Use Chia seeds?
You need to soak them in water, and they will quickly absorb a large amount of water.
In order to prepare Chia gel, you should add 1/3 cup of Chia seeds (2oz) to 2 cups of water. Then, pour the mixture in a sealed jar in the fridge. In this way, you will prepare 17oz chia gel. The gel will be prepared in 10 minutes time, so you can consume it immediately. Yet, you should know that the power of its nutrients comes only after a few hours, so you should wait a bit. The gel will last up to 3 weeks.
Mix Chia with whole seeds. You can also grind them in a coffee grinder and add them to soups of smoothies. What’s more, you can sprinkle the mixture on your special meals and salads, or you can add it to granola mixes.
Add it to drinks
Apart from water, chia seeds also absorb all kinds of liquids, so you can add them into your juices, mix it with some fruits in the blender and prepare your new healthy drink! You should always wait for 10 minutes before you drink it.
Ten Raw Chia Recipes
WARNING – these are ‘hardcore’ raw foodist recipes, developed and used by long-term raw food eaters. Some may seem quite peculiar or unfamiliar to those who are not accustomed to eating raw. We encourage you to try them out though and to perhaps use them as a ‘spring-board’ for creating and enjoying your own chia recipe.
All of these recipes are based on one person.
Basic Chia Gel recipe
- Add 1/3 of a cup of Chia seeds in two cups of water and mix well. Refrigerate and use when needed.
Raw rice pudding
- 4-5 tablespoons of Chia seeds
- Raw honey or agave syrup to taste
- 2 cups of almond milk
Soak the Chia seeds 10 minutes before use. Then, mix all ingredients. You can also add some cinnamon, vanilla or cardamom to enrich the taste.
Sweet Shortbread Chia
- 4-5 tablespoons of chia seeds
- 2 cups of fresh apple juice
- 2 tablespoons of lucuma powder
- 1/2 a cup of dried mulberries
- 1/4 of a cup of pumpkin seeds
Soak the chia seeds in the apple juice. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Leave to soak for at least 10 minutes before consuming.
- 8 tablespoons of ground Chia
- ¼ of a cup chopped walnuts
- 2 cups of vegetable juice pulp
- 5 bananas
- ½ a cup of raisins
Mix the bananas and veggie juice pulp in a food processor. Add the ground Chia and mix until you get a homogeneous mixture. Then, mix it with the raisins and walnuts in a bowl. Make a loaf and add the following mixture on its top: mix 9 dates, the juice of 1 or 2 lemons, cream cheese, a bigger handful of dulse seaweed and the flesh of three avocados.
- 2 teaspoons of Chia seeds
- Agave syrup or raw honey to taste
- 10 0z of pure water
- Juice of 1 lemon or lime
- Just stir all the ingredients and enjoy.
- 3 small or 2 big apples
- 8 dates, pits removed
- 4-5 tablespoons of chia seeds
- 1/4 of a cup of dried mulberries
Blend the apples and six of the dates together. Transfer that mixture into a bowl and stir in the chia seeds and mulberries. Chop down the remaining 2 dates into pieces and stir those in too. Leave to soak for at least 10 minutes before consuming.
- 4-5 tablespoons of ground Chia
- 1 cup of papaya flesh
- 1 banana
- 6 dried Turkish figs
Mix the banana and the papaya flesh, and add the figs. Leave the mixture to soak during the night. Stir it well in the morning, and add the ground Chia seeds.
Chia Gel Muesli
- 1 cup of basic Chia gel
- 1 tablespoon of lucuma powder
- ¼ of a cup of pumpkin seeds
- ¼ of a cup of raisins
- 2 bananas mashed with a fork
Mix all the ingredients using a fork, and it is ready for consumption!
- 1/3 of a cup of Chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon of spirulina powder
- 8 dried prunes, soaked in 1-pint of pure water
Drain the prunes soaked in water and place the chia seeds to soak in it. Combine the spirulina, prunes and a small amount of the soaked water. Stir it well and leave the chia to soak for at least 10 minutes. Consume an enjoy!
- 4-5 tablespoons of Chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon of maca
- Handful of pumpkin seeds
- 1-2 bananas
- 1-2 persimmons
- Handful of goji berries
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Mix the persimmons and bananas in a bowl. Add the maca, cinnamon, gojis, pumpkin seeds and Chia seeds. The Chia needs to soak for 10 minutes before use.
- Flesh of three avocados
- 9 dates
- juice of 1 or 2 lemons
- a big handful of dulse seaweed
Enjoy these recipes and feel the benefits of Chia seeds!