Chia seeds are all the rage these days.
Whether you’re young or not so young, the so-called “superfood” is very notorious. It is not very shocking because it’s fairly easy to incorporate into your lifestyle.
You simply soak them in water to drink for later, make delicious puddings, you can even just sprinkle them on whatever you’re eating or even eat them raw. The possibilities are endless (almost).
I’ve mentioned a lot of things you can do with chia seeds, but those are just a few of them, the many others, I will discuss in this article.
Since the trend train of chia seeds is still ongoing, why don’t we hop in? Maybe we’ll be hitting two birds with one stone.
Being in on the current trend, while also having a healthier lifestyle (we’ll see).
What are chia seeds? 🌾
Maybe you’re too busy to hear about it but simply put, chia seeds rose to fame due to claims it is a superfood.
Plant Family 🌱
Chia seeds are edible seeds of the plant called Salvia hispanica. This plant belongs to the mint family Lamiaceae and is native to Central America.
These seeds may also derive from another plant called Salvia columbariae,
Chia seeds are edible seeds of either plant Salvia hispanica or Salvia columbariae. The former is native to Central America while the latter is native to the southwestern United States and Mexico.
Both plants are a member of the plant family Lamiaceae, commonly known as the mint or sage plant family.
Chia seeds are oval and gray, with either black or white spots. The diameter is around 1 millimeter or 0.04 inches.
The seeds are also hydrophilic, or in other words, very attracted to and tends to be dissolved by water molecules.
They can absorb liquid up to 12 times their weight and also form a thick jelly-like coating, giving them gelatinous texture. Amazing, right?
People have been using these seeds way back since 3500 BC, by the Mayans and the Aztecs.
These people consumed chia seeds by grinding them into flour, pressing them to extract oil, or by simply mixing the seeds into their drinking water as most people consume it nowadays.
Also, the word chia means “strength” in the Mayan language. From the name alone, you can tell it really is something.
It is said that the Mayans and the Aztecs used chia to increase their stamina and strength for long periods.
So they are like energy drinks back then, but healthier, huh?
Chia Seeds and Nutrition 👩⚕️
General Recommended Daily Intake (1) 🥄
The standard serving size for adults: 15 – 20 grams / 1 to 1 and a half tablespoons
*Note: For kids 10 years old and below, it is advised not to take more than 13 grams / 1 tablespoon.
Nutrition Facts (2) 📄
Based on the recommended adult daily intake of 20 grams / 1 and a half tablespoons.
- Fiber: 6.88 grams
- Protein: 3.3 grams
- Carbohydrates: 8.42 grams
- Fats: 6.14 grams
- Energy: 97.2 kcal (406kJ)
- Iron: 12% of the RDI
- Calcium: 13% of the RDI
- Manganese: 26% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 19% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 25% of the RDI
- Zinc: 10% of the RDI
- Also contains great amounts of:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
- Vitamin B9 (Folate)
*RDI = Recommended Daily Intake
These loads of nutrients come at a staggeringly low amount of 99 calories!
Just how the heck can these large amounts of nutrients be present in these tiny little seeds? Crazy!
Now I get it why people consider it a superfood.
Chia seeds benefits 🌟
Loaded with antioxidants 👍
Free radicals are basically the “bad guy” cells in our bodies. If left unattended, they may cause serious damage and even result in dangerous diseases.
It is very rich in protein 💪
This is especially good for the gym junkies out there since protein is very essential when it comes to muscle-building.
Helps with weight loss ⬇️
I personally think this is one of the biggest reasons chia seeds became a trend.
Losing weight is no easy work (as well as gaining weight, for hard gainers), so the possibility of losing weight just by mixing seeds into your water sounds very appealing.
As stated a while ago, chia seeds absorb liquids a lot and they are also rich in fiber.
These two qualities both make you feel full for longer, resulting in reduced food intake, which then leads to weight loss.
Packed with bone-building nutrients 🦴
Our bones protect our organs, supports our muscles, and are essential when it comes to physical activities, so it is just right to keep them healthy and strong.
As you can see from the nutrition information above, it provides a decent amount of calcium, magnesium, protein, and phosphorus.
Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels (5) 💖
According to this statistic, “116.4 million, or 46% of US adults are estimated to have hypertension.”
That is pretty alarming.
Both goodies are highly present in chia seeds, so that’s really good
Reduces inflammation 🐝
Inflammation is one of the body’s built-in defense mechanisms. Some of the reasons this happens include reaction to injury or defense against foreign/harmful substances.
Even though it is a defense mechanism, when chronic, it can possibly be dangerous.
The omega-3 and antioxidants present in chia seeds helps a lot with inflammation. Say goodbye to puffiness too!
Helps with diabetes (6) 😮
A particular study suggests that chia seeds may have the ability to convert glucose into a slow-release carbohydrate.
This is particularly helpful for people suffering from type-2 diabetes. A high-fiber diet also lowers the risk of developing diabetes in general.
Aids digestion and treats constipation 😖
The wonderful seeds assist the digestion process and are a great remedy for constipation as well.
The seeds’ high water content moistens the stool while the soluble fiber basically makes it “heavier” so it passes through the intestines easily.
No more need to “push” so hard.
Speeds up ulcer recovery (7) ⏩
Chia seeds promote faster ulcer healing. It is considered as one of the natural remedies for ulcers. The high amount of fiber and omega-3 is what hastens the recovery process.
Gives you amazing skin ✨
As previously stated, chia seeds help with inflammation. Puffiness and blemishes are examples and you guessed it right. It helps reduce or rid of those pesky “face demons”.
It fights free radicals on the skin as well, so the chances of your skin sagging and getting wrinkly are reduced.
Using Chia Seeds 101 📚
Can you eat chia seeds raw? 🍴
Yes, you definitely can. But make sure you chew them really, really well.
You’ve probably heard of this guy sent to the ER because he was having a hard time breathing.
Apparently, the 39-year old man took a spoonful of chia seeds and swallowed them raw. He then drank water afterward.
The bad thing is, chia seeds expand as it absorbs moisture, and over time, his breathing passageways got blocked.
This is the reason I hardly stress chewing your chia seeds very well if you are eating them raw.
Chia seeds can be a substitute for eggs 🍳
Great news for vegans out there.
Yes! Chia seeds may be used as a substitute for eggs in recipes.
According to this recipe, you simply use a 1:3 ratio.
Simply mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds and 3 tablespoons of water. Then, let the mixture sit for 15-20 minutes or overnight.
And that’s it! Simply use the now gel-like mixture as a substitute for an egg in a recipe.
Should I refrigerate my chia seeds? ❄️
No need! … At least for long.
Chia seeds generally stay good for 2 years outside the fridge, so definitely no need to refrigerate them.
You’ve probably consumed the entire pack before it expiring (unless you’ve got like, a big sack of it).
But if you insist, you may refrigerate them, it will expand it’s life a little bit more, 2 more years to be exact. Make sure to keep it in a tightly-sealed container.
What is the best way to eat chia seeds? 🤔
I don’t think there’s a “best” way to eat the seeds, regardless of what you incorporate it with, there will be very little to no difference in the nutrients you’ll be getting.
But I will give you some ideas on what specific kinds of food people usually incorporate chia seeds into.
Foods people incorporate chia into 🌾
- Pudding 🍨
- Yogurt 🥣
- Ice cream 🍦
- Oatmeal 🍚
- Soup 🍲
- Porridge 🥘
- Cookies 🍪
- Muffins 🧁
- Bread 🍞
- Cakes 🍰
- Pancakes 🥞
- Stir-fry 🥡
- Salad 🥗
- Dips 🥫
- Milk 🥛
- Lemonade 🍋
- Tea 🍵
- Juice 🍹
- Smoothies 🥤
A simple chia pudding recipe 🍨
Puddings are one of the very popular ways people use chia seeds. To be honest, I’ve never really tried making chia puddings, I just randomly sprinkle them raw on my food.
I have tried making one, I just mixed chia seeds (not even bothered doing measurements) and cow’s milk and it was not so good. I didn’t know that you need to add sweeteners too.
So, as I have no prior chia pudding experience and knowledge, you may want to check this easy (expert) chia pudding recipe instead.
Experts say chia puddings are very healthy and nutrient-packed but don’t forget to monitor the amount of sugar you’re putting into it.
Basically, you can incorporate them with ANYTHING 🍴
That list above goes on, and on, it’s almost infinite.
The thing is, you can mix chia seeds into anything. Yes, anything. At least, into anything you want to.
The seeds almost have no taste, so it is extremely easy and convenient to add them to anything. Others describe the taste of chia as mildly nutty, and that it goes well with sweet and savory dishes.
Personally, I don’t really notice the difference in taste when I mix them with my food, I usually sprinkle my chia into white rice.
(White rice is almost always present in our meals here in the Philippines, I think not a single day has passed that I haven’t eaten rice, lol.)
Yeah, I don’t really feel or taste any difference when I use chia seeds, or maybe I’m using them way too little of them or my taste buds just suck. Hehe.
Chia seeds and water (or drinks) 🍸
This is probably the easiest (and safest, remember the ER man) way incorporate chia seeds and it’s numerous benefits into your lifestyle.
You just mix the seeds into your water or beverage of choice, wait for a few minutes until it “swells”, and just gulp it like you normally drink your drink.
How long do I soak the seeds? 💧
People generally soak chia seeds in water or beverages for 20-30 minutes. As long as you see that it already has that gel-like consistency, it’s usually ready-to-drink.
Soak them in hot or cold water? 🔥❄️
It doesn’t really matter. Hot or cold, it’s okay. The nutrients in there will remain unaffected, the beverage will have a thicker consistency, though.
Do we still need to chew soaked chia seeds? 🙋♀️
The say about this matter is rather diverse, but to be sure and safe, just still chew the seeds, even if they are soaked. Better safe than sorry, nobody wants a sudden trip to the hospital.
How long does soaked-in-water chia last? (8) ⏳
Chia seeds soaked in water lasts for about 5 days if refrigerated, so feel free to make a big batch if you want, if that’s more convenient for you. Just make sure to keep them refrigerated.
Lemon and chia water for weight loss 🍋
If you are planning to use chia seeds mainly for losing weight, then this easy-2-ingredient drink might be interesting for you.
Chia seeds precautions ⚠️
Though these seeds are indeed very nutritious, you still need to be careful as there is a very slight chance of harming yourself.
These are some things you need to remember to stay safe while consuming chia seeds.
Again, chew then very, VERY well 😬
Especially if you are eating them raw and not soaked. There is a risk of choking due to the “expanding” quality of chia seeds.
Not for people with low blood pressure 🩸
The seeds tend to “thin” out the blood, and this may be bad news for people with low blood pressure.
If you have this condition, it would be best to consult an expert first if you still want to consume chia seeds.
Gastrointestinal issues 🥴
Even though chia is known to promote better digestion, some people might experience different effects, bad ones.
Some folks report experiencing diarrhea, constipation or gas problems.
This is why it is best to try taking them at small doses if it is your first time and check if it works well with your body.
Possible allergic reactions 😨
Chia seed allergies are not very common, but still possible.
Allergies are weird and sometimes you discover you are allergic to a particular food you don’t expect to have bad reactions from all of a sudden.
It also kind of sucks when you discover you are allergic to something you really love to eat.
So, yeah, watch out for food allergy reactions such as:
- Itching of the mouth
- Skin itching
- Difficulty in breathing
If you experience any of these, go to the hospital immediately, allergic reactions are no joke and can be lethal.
May not work with some medications (9) 💊
This is especially true if you are taking blood pressure medications and diabetes medications.
Consult your specialist first and ask whether it is okay to take with your current medication/s to be sure.
Now I understand why many people consider chia seeds one of the superfoods.
The seeds, even in low quantities, deliver huge amounts of nutrients to the body. It even supports a great portion of our RDI (Recommended Daily Intake).
Chia seeds also have plenty of amazing health benefits and can even help people with conditions such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, diabetes, constipation, inflammation, and ulcer.
It’s also very easy to incorporate into your lifestyle, you can even just sprinkle them into whatever you’re eating, as long as you chew the seeds well.
However, the nutrient-rich seeds can also pose some health risks in some cases, so it is ideal to take precautions and consult the experts first.
I personally use chia seeds every day, and it has helped me particularly with my digestion issues. I also “feel” healthier.
So, what are you waiting for? Come join us here in the chia seeds trend train. Choo-choo!