Chia Seeds are rocketing in popularity and are flying off the shelves. There is good reason for this meteoric rise of chia seeds too – they pack a powerful nutritional punch.
Before you shear your ‘chia pet’ and have a chia salad, be aware that chia used for the popular 80’s chia pet (salvia columbariae) is different than the chia that is being sold in nutrition stores. This chia, salvia hispanica, is part of the mint family and seems to have it all – antioxidants, fibre, iron, omega3 fat and more.
Besides giving a nutritional boost, chia seeds are thought to be good for your cardiovascular system, lowering your blood sugar levels and even suppressing hunger pangs.
Chia seeds have been carefully studied and have been shown to reduce blood sugar levels in subjects with diabetes. Medical researchers have also found that the risk of heart disease was lowered by the daily consumption of chia seeds. Test subjects have reported that they felt fuller and more satisfied after putting a small portion of chia seeds on a slice of white bread than just eating the slice of bread plain.
While the tests have shown initial success, the test case have been somewhat limiting, as they have only tested one particular strain of the salvia hispanica.
While chia seeds have been shown to be a hunger suppressant they are high in calories. One tablespoon of chia seeds is about 38 calories.
How to Use Chia Seeds
You probably won’t find many chia seed recipes, but chia seeds can serve as tasty additions and even substitutes in your favourite foods and recipes.
- Try soaking a tablespoon or two of chia seeds in a quarter cup of water; use this mixture as a substitute for eggs when baking.
- Make some porridge for breakfast with some ground chia seeds and hot milk.
- If you are making some soup for lunch, chia seeds will give your soup a nice savoury thickness.
- Try chia seeds on your salad as part of your dressing, or even eat them plain.
- Whip up your favourite smoothie and add some chia seeds for some extra nutrients.
- Chia pudding is also a smooth, velvety treat.
It doesn’t really matter what you are cooking or baking – chia seeds are versatile enough and subtle enough to incorporate in most recipes and cuisines. Be creative.
Ultimately, the chia seeds are tasty supplements that will give you some nutritional benefit.
Have you tried chia seeds? Have you found any benefits? How have you incorporated them into your menu?
Chelsea Greiman writes a variety of health and fitness articles. When she isn’t contributing to other sites, she is writing for her own blog about chia seeds.