Chia seeds are tiny black seeds from the plant Salvia Hispanica, which is related to mint. This plant grows natively in South America. Chia seeds were an important food for the Aztecs and Mayans back in the day. They prized them for their ability to provide sustainable energy and in fact the word “chia” means “strength.”
They are smaller than sesame seeds, and their unique property is the mucilage, making them a valuable superfood to use. Mucilage is a compound found in plants that helps them to retain water. These tiny seeds are able to retain around 8-9 times their weight in water when soaked, making them a popular choice with runners, athletes and dieters.
Chia needs are naturally rich in omega 3 fatty acids, with their profile composed of 60% Omega 3, making them one of the richest plant-based sources of the fatty acids. Omega 3s can help to reduce inflammation and reduce cholesterol and are considered ‘essential’ as the body cannot product them. They must therefore be incorporated through food.
Chia seeds are an excellent source of fibre, with a huge 10 grams in only 2 tablespoons – a third of the recommended intake of fibre per day.
They are rich in antioxidants that help protect the body from free radicals and aging. And because of their ability to retain water these amazing seeds help keep the feeling of being full and satisfied longer, which helps to lower food cravings between meals.
The Chia seed contains no Gluten or grains, therefore all the nutritional benefits can be obtained on a gluten free diet.
Because the outer layer of the Chia seed swells when mixed with liquids to form a gel, they can be used in a place of eggs to lower cholesterol and increase the nutritional content of foods.
To make an egg replacement mix 1 x tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 x tablespoons of water and let it sit for 15 minutes.