Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
If you think that the only use for chia seeds is to make those kitschy…ch ch ch Chia Pets, then think again. There are numerous health benefits of chia seeds, even benefits to help with weight loss.
Chia is now considered a “superfood” because it is a great source of fiber, antioxidants, and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Chia is also a complete protein, much like that found in animal sources. With Chia, you don’t need to combine foods to make complete protein, unlike with other vegetable sources.
In just one ounce serving of these brownish gray little power seeds there is 9.8 grams of fiber. If you’re wanting to lose weight than you understand the importance of fiber. High fiber foods fill you up and keep you satisfied longer. However, like all seeds, they are calorie-dense, about 198 calories per oz. (3 TBSP), so keep that in mind when striving for balance, moderation, and variety.
If you are wanting to take advantage of the health benefits of Chia Seeds, but aren’t sure how to use them; don’t worry, they are quite versatile. They can be eaten whole or ground, or in the form of a gel, while still retaining all of their nutrients. They can be used in smoothies, sauces, soups, dressings, in baked goods, burgers or meat loaf, bean loaf, veggie meat balls, and deserts. If you soak the seeds in water (3 tablespoons of chia seeds to about 1 cup of water), it forms a gel and can be used as a natural thickener to smoothies.
Chia seeds can also be used in baked goods instead of eggs. Soak 1 level tablespoon of chia seeds with a quarter cup of water to make an egg substitute for baking cakes and cookies.
Some of the other uses for chia seeds are:
- Grind seeds and mix with flour, milk and eggs to make pancakes
- Add whole chia seeds to a cake batter to make a heavy poppy seed like cake
- Add ground chia seeds to flour when making bread
- Add to yogurt based sauces to thicken up and add more health benefits to the sauce
- Add it to salad dressings
- Soak chia seeds in milk and mix through hot oatmeal.
- Add it in potato salad
- Add it any spreads or jams
The sky is the limit with these nutty tasting power houses. Experiment, have fun, and take delight in knowing that there are numerous health benefits of Chia Seeds and you can turn any dish into a super dish.