You read it before and you will read it again: chia seeds are among the healthiest and most nutritious food in the planet. It contains tons of nutrients, which not only helps you lose weight but also keeps your health at bay.
Chia Seeds: Big Things Come in Small Packages
Chia seeds, which come in white or dark brown and black color, are superfoods seeds that came from a flowering plant in the mint family. These seeds are native to Mexico and Guatemala. At present, chia seeds are grown in a natural environment in Australia and other countries in North America.
History suggests that chia seeds were an important crop for the Aztecs and people use them regularly in their native countries. It was only in the 1980’s when chia seeds became popular, thanks to researcher Wayne Coates, who studied chia as an alternative crop for northern Argentinian farmers.
Since then, Coates has become an advocate of chia seeds. It turns out that chia seeds contain many important nutrients like:
- Omega 3
Chia seeds are now widely available in health and natural food stores, as well as supermarkets and grocery stores. You can also get them online on websites such as Amazon and Walmart. However, you have to be careful when buying chia seeds. It is important to get a good quality product to ensure that you will enjoy its many benefits. When buying chia seeds, make sure to:
- Buy the white and/or black seeds, since the red seeds are immature.
- Check the size. Don’t buy seeds that are smaller than the regular ones.
- Go for whole seeds instead of ground chia for the better protection of nutrients.
Once you know your chia seeds, it is time to incorporate them in your diet. The good news is, you can easily add them to your list of favorite foods.
10 Different Ways to Add Chia Seeds in Your Diet
1. Start your Day with Chia Pudding with Kiwi and Pomegranate Seeds
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. In case you are running late and don’t have much time to whip up breakfast in the kitchen, you can always turn to chia seeds for an instant pick-me-upper. It is a good source of fiber, which helps you feel fuller longer. All you need are these ingredients, which are available in local food stores and supermarkets:
- Three tablespoons of chia seeds
- 12 ounces of almond milk
- One teaspoon of coconut sugar
- Chopped kiwi
- Pomegranate seeds
- A mason jar or plastic container
To do this:
- Place the chia seeds in a mason jar or plastic container, and then pour the almond milk over them.
- Shake the jar until the chia seeds are immersed in the milk.
- Wait for 15 minutes. This should give you consistency similar to tapioca.
- Then, add a teaspoon of coconut sugar.
- Top it off with chopped kiwi and pomegranate seeds.
You can make this Paleo-friendly breakfast at night, pop it in the fridge and you are ready to go the next day.
2. A Chia Berry Smoothie for Ultimate Antioxidant Power
Not everyone appreciates chia seeds’ crunchy texture. If you are one of them, then this recipe is for you. Say hello to a refreshing morning smoothie, which provides you with an antioxidant power.
You will need:
- One cup of frozen berries
- One-half cup unsweetened pomegranate juice
- One-half cup of water
- One-half tablespoon chia seeds
- A blender
To make this antioxidant smoothie:
- Put all ingredients inside the blender.
- Mix until all ingredients are well combined.
- Pour into a glass or mason jar
- Top it off with a sprinkle of chia seeds.
Now, you can take this drink anytime, anywhere. Just don’t forget to buy the ingredients on your next grocery shopping trip.
3. Chia Seed Granola: A Snack That’s Not Too Heavy on the Tummy
Admit it. It is easy to go to McDonald’s and grab a burger or some fries for a snack. Unfortunately, this won’t help you especially if you are trying to lose a few pounds. This is where this snack comes in.
Chia seed granola is not only easy to make, but it also provides a delicious flavor and a healthy snack during your downtime. When you do your grocery shopping, or take a trip to a health food store, make sure to look for the following ingredients:
- Two cups of rolled oats, preferably gluten-free
- One-fourth cup ground chia seeds
- Two tablespoons whole flaxseeds
- One-third cup honey, preferably raw and unprocessed
- One-fourth cup chia seeds
- One-half cup chopped almonds or walnuts
- One-fourth cup light olive oil
- One-half cup raisins
- One-fourth cup dark chocolate chips
In making your own chia seed granola snack:
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large bowl, combine oats, chia seeds, flaxseeds, honey, and almonds or walnuts.
- Mix them well.
- Spread olive oil onto the tray evenly.
- Spread the mixture in a baking tray.
- Bake for 30 minutes while stirring occasionally.
- Allow your granola bars to cool before adding the raisins and dark chocolate.
- Cut into small bars.
It will only take you 40 to 50 minutes to make your own chia seed granola. This could be a good alternative to unhealthy foods, such as greasy burgers, fries or potato chips.
4. Chia and Yogurt: An Omega-3, Heart-Healthy Snack
So, you are quite busy and have no time to bake your own granola snack. Don’t worry. You can still have a healthy snack without spending too much time making it. All you need is some yogurt and chia seeds, and you have a heart-friendly snack.
Simply combine some yogurt, preferably Greek yogurt, and chia seeds and mix them well together. You can also add fruits to this mixture, such as bananas or apples for added health benefits. The best part is you can easily get these ingredients in the grocery and local health stores near you.
5. Chia Ice Cream: A Delicious Treat with Nutritional Benefits
Raise your hand if you are a sucker for ice cream. Unless your dentist requires you to eat it after a tooth extraction, we often associate ice cream with unhealthy and unnecessary foods.
Don’t fret. You can now enjoy this childhood favorite without worrying too much about the calories. For this recipe, you will need:
- One-fourth cup chia seeds
- One and one-half cans of coconut cream
- Two tablespoons cacao powder
- Three tablespoons maple syrup
- One teaspoon vanilla extract
- One ounce melted unsweetened chocolate
- Four pitted dates
- A blender
- An ice cream maker
To make your own chia ice cream:
- Blend all ingredients for one minute or until smooth. Make sure that the mixture is thick and creamy.
- Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker.
- Churn the mixture according to the ice cream maker instructions.
- Place in a freezer until the ice cream is firm enough to scoop.
You can also sprinkle chia seeds on your homemade ice cream when you serve this for dessert. What are you waiting for? Rush to the grocery or health food stores near you and get these ingredients. If you have kids, making your own chia ice cream could also be a great bonding experience.
6. Make Your Own Gluten-Free Blueberry Chia Muffins for a Healthier Snack
Chia seeds are excellent sources of protein, fiber, and omega 3 fatty acids. Aside from being your partner in weight loss, chia seeds are easy to incorporate into baking recipes. In case you are looking for a recipe that combines chia seeds and your favorite blueberries, then this one will light up your appetite.
To make this healthy snack, you will need the following ingredients, which you can get in baking stores and supermarkets:
- One tablespoon of chia seeds
- One and one-half cups gluten-free baking flour
- One teaspoon xanthan gum to keep the muffins moist
- Two teaspoons baking soda
- One-half teaspoon salt
- One cup sweet potato puree
- One cup unsweetened applesauce
- Two egg whites
- One-half cup agave syrup
- Two teaspoons lemon juice
- One teaspoon lemon zest
- One tablespoon vanilla extract
- One-half cup blueberries, preferably fresh
To prepare your own blueberry chia muffins:
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- In a mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients – flour, chia seeds, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt and blueberries.
- In a separate bowl, mix all the wet ingredients – potato puree, applesauce, egg whites, agave syrup, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla extract.
- Combine the wet and dry mixture well.
- Scoop the batter in a muffin pan
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
This recipe makes a dozen muffins, or depending on the size of your muffin pan. This is also a perfect dessert in case you have friends coming over for dinner. The best part is that this is healthy and delicious, too.
7. Quench Your Thirst and Boost Your Health with a Raspberry Chia Lemonade Drink
Perhaps you’re not a fan of smoothies, and you prefer more simple drinks. If so, then this one is for you. This simple drink requires readily available ingredients you can get from the supermarket. They include:
- Two cups of coconut water
- One-half lemon juice
- Three-fourth cups of blended raspberries
- Two teaspoons coconut sugar
- Three tablespoons chia seeds
To enjoy this drink:
- Mix all ingredients in a pitcher.
- Let it sit for 30 minutes until it turns into gel-like consistency.
- Serve in a tall glass.
Aside from quenching your thirst, this drink will be a surefire hit for your health, as well.
8. Do It the Kiddie Way: Chia Pops to Boost Your Health
Who says only kids can enjoy ice pops? There are no limitations when it comes to giving your health a boost – even if it involves making your own ice pops.
To do this, you will need:
- Three tablespoons of chia seeds
- 12 ounces of coconut milk
- One tablespoon coconut sugar
- Three-fourth cups of fresh raspberries
- Ice pop molder
To make your own chia pops:
- Combine chia seeds and coconut milk, which you can get in supermarkets and other health food stores.
- Once the chia seeds are fully immersed in the coconut milk, add coconut sugar and fresh raspberries.
- Mix well.
- Let the chia pudding set for two hours before pouring it in ice pop molder.
- Once poured on the molder, freeze overnight.
Now, you can enjoy ice pops in the healthiest way possible.
9. Chia Seeds as a Debloating Drink
If you are feeling bloated and sluggish, then you might need some help from these tiny superfoods. This drink is an excellent pre-breakfast or pre-workout drink, which offers excellent sources of fiber and other nutrients to pump you during the day and keep you bloat-free. All you need are these three ingredients:
- Four ounces of coconut water
- Two tablespoons chia seeds
- One teaspoon of supergreens
To make the chia debloating drink:
- Combine all ingredients and stir for one to two minutes.
- Drink it immediately before the chia seeds turn into gel.
You can buy coconut water and chia seeds in the supermarket and local health stores. As for the supergreens, there are legitimate sites selling online, although you can get it in health and organic stores.
10. Chia Seeds: A Healthier Substitute for Eggs
Eggs are good, but too much of it may not be good for your body. In case you are looking for an alternative to eggs, especially in baking, then chia seeds might be of service.
To substitute eggs, use one tablespoon of finely ground chia seeds and mix it with three tablespoons of water. This mixture is good for one egg. Hence, if the recipe calls for two eggs, mix two tablespoons of chia seeds with six tablespoons of water.
One Last Piece of Advice
Chia seeds could bring tons of benefits for your health; however, this does not mean there’s no danger to them. According to new research, chia seeds could pose risk if you don’t consume them properly.
Chia seeds are rich source of protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for the heart. Be careful, though, you should not eat them in their raw, dry form, especially if you have constricted esophagus or history of swallowing problems.
This is because chia seeds can absorb up to 27 times their weight in water. When taken in its dry form, chia seeds could expand in the esophagus and that gel could cause an obstruction. Once chia seeds fill the esophagus, you might need traditional tools to get rid of them.
This was evident in a case presented at the American College of Gastroenterology annual meeting of a 39-year old man who had history of swallowing issues, seasonal allergies, and asthma. He ate a spoonful of chia seeds then drank a glass of water afterwards. Since then, he developed trouble swallowing and upon examination, doctors found out that the dry chia seeds blocked his esophagus.
This only shows that you can use chia seeds in different ways. Whether you are trying to lose extra pounds or simply want to give your health a boost, choose among these 10 tricks and chia seeds definitely won’t fail you.