Pantry Staple: Chia Seeds
The Chia Seed is small, yet mighty. This dainty seed comes from a flowering plant in the mint family, native to Mexico and Guatemala. Your first thoughts of the Chia Seed may bring you to the nostalgic, fuzzy green Chia Pet; However, the Chia Seed is becoming better known for its high omega-3, calcium, manganese, phosphorus, and fibre content, as well as the up and coming “Chia Pudding” recipe trend. And recently due to its popularity to mimic the texture of an “egg” it has made its way into almost every baking recipe as an egg replacement.
Adding Chia Seeds to your diet can be incredibly beneficial. Positive health effects are increased energy, better digestion, stable blood sugar levels, and lower LDL (bad cholesterol.) A mere one-ounce serving of Chia Seeds provides 11 grams of dietary fibre and 4.4 grams of protein. Digestion is dramatically improved because of the gelatinous coat Chia Seeds develop when immersed into liquid, the seeds attract toxins and take them out of the body during digestion. Digestion is slowed, and food is absorbed less quickly into the bloodstream – which keeps blood sugar levels stable. The amino acid Tryptophan is found in Chia Seeds and is responsible for a feeling of “fullness” and regulating appetite. Being rich in minerals Calcium, Manganese, and Phosphorus, it is no secret Chia Seeds contribute to fantastic bone and teeth health. Because of these wonderful abilities, Chia Seeds have been linked to managing type-2 Diabetes, Obesity, and Cardiovascular challenges.
When trying to get pregnant, adding Chia Seeds to your regime would be a very wise idea because of the high Omega-3 content. Chia seeds have about 9 grams of fat per one ounce of seeds. Good, healthy, levels of fat are required to keep your hormones functioning properly, which contribute to fertility levels and chances of conceiving. During pregnancy, the high Omega-3 levels contribute greatly to healthy brain development of your baby.
Making Chia Seeds part of your diet is so easy because you can literally add them to anything. They are virtually tasteless, so they won’t change the taste of the food to which they are being added. This versatile seed is one of my pantry staples.
Ways to Enjoy Chia Seeds:
1. Add them to water, smoothies, salads, or use them in baking.
2. Enjoy them whole, milled, raw, sprouted, and soaked- all that matters is that you eat them!
3. Make Chia Pudding. Chia pudding is basically made by adding 1/4 cup of seeds per 1 cup of nut milk, slightly sweetened with honey or maple syrup, shaken, and left to “gel” overnight. Incredibly easy, and equally delicious. You can certainly get creative by adding your own twist like fresh fruit, cinnamon, or cacao.
4. Use chia seeds as an egg replacement in your baking (1 tbsp. chia seeds soaked in 2 tbsp. of water for 10 min).
5. Grind them for better omega-3 absorption.
Tip: When buying chia seeds make sure to buy white, brown, or black seeds. The other kinds on the market are red (immature seeds) or small black (weed seeds) so, for obvious reasons, make sure to stay away from these.