If you have ever ordered a falooda and wondered what those weird gel globules were that oddly looked like tiny eyes staring at you (but which, nevertheless, tasted delicious and crunchy!) then get ready. Today's the day your curiosity will finally be sated.
Those odd objects were chia seeds.
Soaked chia seeds, to be more precise, because the dry ones look like tiny, round, black-and-white grains of sand!
Chia Power and the Ancient Mayans
Chia seeds are native to South and Central America, especially the regions of Guatemala and Mexico, and are harvested from the flowers of the Salvia hispanica plant once the petals start to fall off.
And though they are considered a superfood in the modern world, the benefits of having chia were actually discovered thousands of years ago by the ancient Mayans and Aztecs who used to eat them regularly with their meals.
Chia Seed Buyer’s Guide
Mature chia seeds pack a lot of punch in terms of nutrition value. And they have a speckled black and white appearance. So remember the last point before you purchase some at your local supermarket.
This is because a lot of companies try to scam buyers by selling them lower quality brown chia seeds, which are actually immature, and therefore, not as nutritious.
Plus, these brown seeds have a slightly bitter taste too, which makes them quite unappetizing as compared to the tasteless but crunchy mature ones.
Storing guidelines: Chia seeds have a long shelf life. Just keep them in an airtight jar in a cool and dry place away from direct sunlight.
How to Eat Chia Seeds: 4 Delicious and Easy Ways
Chia seeds are unique because when soaked in water they absorb almost 10 times their weight and become large gelatinous globules that are tasteless, yet delicious and crunchy.
And while eating spoonfuls of these soaked seeds will give you the same benefits, it's more fun when you can incorporate them into some delicious recipe and then eat them.
A word of caution: Never have dry chia seeds directly and then chase it down with water. Many news stories have reported incidences where this led to a clogged esophagus (a.k.a your food pipe), which later needed surgical intervention for removal.
So now that we have gotten that out of the way, here are 3 delicious (and easy) ways you can consume chia seeds at home.
Recipe #1: Chia Pudding
You just need two basic ingredients to prepare this pudding - 1 cup milk or fruit juice + ¼ cup chia seeds.
Now soak the seeds in your chosen liquid and leave it for at least half an hour. Once the seeds swell up and soak up all the fluid, you can grab a spoon and bite into your pudding.
Just remember: Chia seeds are tasteless but crunchy. So if you are on an uber-healthy diet, this simple recipe will suffice. But if you want to add a little more flavor to your pudding, you can boil the milk with some spices (like cardamom, cloves, and saffron) or dissolve a little sugar in it before you soak the seeds.
Fruit juices don't really need any accompaniments. But adding nuts and raisins to the liquid before you soak the seeds is a recipe for a more delicious chia pudding. Just remember to add a little bit more juice than the given ratio, since raisins imbibe fluids as well.
Recipe #2: Chia Pancakes
This recipe is simple.
Prepare your regular pancake batter and then throw in some chia seeds in it. Then fry those little cakes of joy and enjoy the added crunch in your meal.
Recipe #3: Chia Muffins, Breads, and Biscuits
The concept is the same as above. Add some chia seeds to your regular cake or bread batter and then throw it in the oven.
The viscosity of the batter won't allow the seeds to swell up, but the crunch will make the final product all the more delicious!
You can try this with all kinds of baked goodies.
Recipe #4: Chia Smoothie
To prepare this, you will need to soak 1/4th cup of chia seeds in 1 cup of water overnight.
Once the seeds have swollen up, throw them into a blender with a ripe banana, a few strawberries, and some yogurt to make a smoothie.
The possibilities here are as endless as your imagination.
But if these recipes are not enough to convince you to give these seeds a try (come on, the rest of the world is!), then perhaps the following health benefits will.
Seed Superpower: Tiny Seeds, Massive Gains
2 tablespoons of chia seeds, or roughly 28g of it, contains a massive amount of nutrients. Namely, 4g of protein, 9g of healthy fats (most of which is omega-3), 11g of fiber, and enough calcium, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus to supply one-third of your daily recommended dose!
And if that was not enough, having just 2 tablespoons of it will give you 101 calories. Which, in health-conscious speak, means they are at par bananas when it comes to energizing you.
Plus, they are completely gluten-free!
Chia Seeds Have a High Amount of Antioxidants in Them
Antioxidants are necessary for scavenging all the free radicals produced in your body during its day-to-day functions. And these are responsible for aging your body, reducing organ function, and causing cancer.
That's why you should add as many antioxidant-rich foods to your diet as possible, including berries and chia seeds.
They Are Packed With High Quality Proteins
14% of a chia seed is made up of proteins. That's an incredibly high amount considering the fact that these seeds are plant products.
And since proteins are known to improve our metabolism, reduce hunger pangs, and decrease untimely cravings for food, you should definitely add chia seeds to your diet if you want to lose weight and stay fit.
In fact, this is more imperative for vegans and vegetarians who have very little proteinaceous options on their menu.
Chia Seeds Are a Calcium-Alternative for Vegans
Vegans do not consume any product that is remotely related to animals. That's why they often need to take supplements for many essential nutrients.
So if you are a vegan, you can stop taking those calcium tablets now. Consuming one-fourth cup of soaked chia seeds every day is enough to supplement your body's calcium needs.
Don't Just Sit There. Share This Article!
Don't keep all this wholesome goodness to yourself! Share this article and let the whole world know what you know. #chiapower
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