The Benefits of Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are among the healthiest foods available. They’re loaded with nutrients that can have important benefits for your body. Despite their ancient history with the Aztecs and Mayans, as a dietary staple, chia seeds became recognized as a modern-day superfood only recently.
In the past few years, they have exploded in popularity and are now consumed by health-conscious people all over the world. You can find a plethora of studies supporting the many health benefits of chia seeds. The antioxidants in chia seeds are praised for reducing the risk of chronic diseases, such as cancer, as well as the protective benefits in preventing diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s Disease. It is also worth noting chia seeds, especially for vegans, are a great choice for protein and calcium.
Do not be fooled by the size — these tiny seeds pack a powerful nutritional punch.
According to the USDA a one ounce (28 grams) serving of dry chia seeds contains:
Creative Ways to Use Chia Seeds
Now that we have your attention on the many benefits these tiny seeds deliver, let us discuss several ways to use them outside the standard action of throwing them in a smoothie.
Add Them to Baked Goods
The addition of chia seeds to baked goods not only is a good way to get your daily dose of great nutrients but it adds an unexpected crunchy bite, making it fun to eat. Try them in freshly baked oatmeal raisin cookies, banana muffins, and homemade bread loaves, to name a few.
Make Chia Pudding
Chia seeds can absorb 10x their volume in liquid, so try making a chia seed pudding by mixing 1 tablespoon chia seeds in a ¼ cup of the milk alternative of choice, stir every few minutes and within 15 minutes you will have a chia seed pudding with a consistency similar to tapioca. For more flavor, try jazzing up your chia pudding with vanilla or almond extract, honey or maple syrup, berries, and granola.
Make Your Own Jam
Toss those sugar-packed highly processed jams in the trash and make your own healthy version. Since chia seeds turn liquid into a jelly-like matter, all you need to do is mash up your favorite fruit and combine with the chia seeds: 1 tablespoon of chia seeds to every 1 cup of mashed fruit will create the best consistency without any unnecessary additives.
Use It As A Garnish
Perhaps the easiest use is adding chia seeds to salads, fruits, veggies, eggs, soups, cheese and peanut butter spreads to name just a few. Sprinkle them generously over your food to get a boost of omega-3s, protein, and fiber. Chia seeds on their own have a bland flavor that won't impact the taste but bring great texture to the dish.
Breading For Poultry or Fish
Dry chia seeds can add a nutritious crunch to baked poultry or fish. Use them to make gluten-free chicken nuggets and your kids will have no clue they are eating tons of fiber, antioxidants, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Dry chia seeds are mixed with cornmeal and spices to create a crusted tilapia dish in a recipe from Savor the Thyme. The tilapia is brushed with mayonnaise, then coated in the chia seed breading before being baked.
Any way you use them, chia seeds offer a variety of uses, add texture and give you a healthy dose of nutrition.