Chia seeds are harvested from a flowering plant that belongs to the mint family and is called Salvia Hispanica. Good quality seeds are naturally white or black in colour. According to Nutritionist Mehar Rajput from FITPASS, these tiny black seeds are loaded with fiber, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and various other macronutrients, which help prevent the storage of undesirable fats that can cause heart disease and stroke. Being rich in fiber, chia seeds are absorbed slowly which keeps you full for longer and prevents binge-eating. The mucilaginous (gum like) fiber in the sprouted seeds promotes bowel regularity and helps stabilise blood sugar levels. Chia seeds are also naturally gluten-free and rich in calcium, phosphorus and magnesium making them a great dairy alternative for people following a vegan diet.
Here are some interesting ways to include chia seeds in your diet
As per the book Healing Foods by DK Publishing, you can add soaked seeds to yogurt, cereal, and muffin recipes, or scatter them on a salad. Chia sprouts can be used in the same way or turned into a wholesome salad. Try adding them to soups or stews as a natural thickening agent. These seeds also add flavour and nutrition to baked goods, such as bread, muffins and homemade crackers.
(Also read: 7 Power-Packed Seeds for a Slimmer, Fitter and Healthier You)
According to Nutritionist Mehar, "Chia seeds can be eaten as whole or in milled form. Whole chia seeds can be blended in smoothies, juices or soups. Some people prefer the powder-like texture as it mixes well in whole wheat flour. No matter what form you eat them in, chia seeds do not lose their nutritional qualities." It is suggested to eat 1-2 teaspoons (whole or milled) of chia seeds on a daily basis to derive its healthy benefits. Milled chia seeds can be mixed with flours like whole wheat flour or besan for making chilla and chapattis. Whole chia seeds can be soaked and added to your detox water, smoothies, cold soups and yogurt. Whole chia seeds can be soaked and added to your detox water, smoothies, cold soups and yogurt
1. Chia Pudding
If puddings are your go-to desserts, there's no better way to make them healthier than by adding some chia seeds. Add chia seeds to your pudding to get a thicker texture. Then, top it up with milk, yogurt or cocoa. You can even add fresh fruits. If you don't like seeds in the pudding, you can blend chia seeds with the other ingredients to get a creamy consistency.
2. Chia Smoothie
Make smoothies and add chia seeds to give it a nutritious twist. Be it a mango smoothie, banana smoothie or an apple smoothie, you can add a tablespoon of chia seeds to make it more filling.
3. Baked in Cakes
Baking a cake at home? Throw in some chia seeds! For instance, a banana and chia tea cake makes for a perfect healthy evening snack.
4. Chia Seeds in Oatmeal
If you are looking for a healthy breakfast recipe, add some chia seeds to a bowl of oats with milk or coconut milk.
5. Chia Seeds in Yogurt
Chia seeds are great as a topping. If you like to add some crunch to your bowl of yogurt, sprinkle two teaspoons of these seeds.
6. Added to Tea
If you are not in the mood to add them in your meal, try them in your cup of tea. While preparing the tea, add one teaspoon of chia seeds and let it rest for a minute or two till they are well-soaked.
7. Added in Lemonades
Chia seeds in lemonades? Well yes, chia seeds in your homemade lemonade can add a nice texture to the beverage.
These are just a few examples of adding chia seeds to your diet, you can explore more options to enjoy and reap all the benefits of these power-packed seeds.
Chia seeds were once considered a niche ingredient that you could only get at select health stores. Today, they have become popular as a superfood, are easily available and used in almost everything - from cereals and yogurt to energy bars and drinks.