Chia Seeds: The Ali of Nutrients
The name “chia” comes from the Aztec word “chiqui”, which means seed. It was first used in the early 1600’s by the Mayans to refer to a type of plant called “maguey”. Maguey is a small shrub or tree native to Mexico and Central America with leaves similar to those of cactus, but smaller and more delicate. It grows up to 10 feet tall and has purple flowers.
Its seeds are white, oval shaped, and resemble tiny peas. They have been eaten by Native Americans for thousands of years.
In the late 1800’s the term “chia” came into use in reference to a variety of small seed pods found growing on various plants such as coffee beans, corn, squash and other vegetables. These were known as “cocoa bean pods.” The name “chia” was then applied to a whole group of related species including the maguey plants themselves.
Today, chia seeds are widely cultivated for their nutritional value. They contain protein, fiber, calcium, magnesium and many other nutrients. Some studies suggest they may even reduce risk factors associated with heart disease and diabetes.
A common misconception is that chia seeds are related to the cannabis plant aka “marijuana.”
In fact, their names are really only similar by sound and a desire by the public to have fun with botanical nomenclature. That being said, there really isn’t anything fun about marijuana, so do not attempt to use chia seeds as a substitute!
Chia seeds come in many different varieties and are generally easy to find online. They are also relatively inexpensive and keep for a long time (depending on the variety). Here is a list of some common kinds:
Red Chia Seed
Black Chia Seed
White Chia Seed
Golden Chia Seed
While these are technically four different types of seeds, they are all more or less the same in taste and nutritional value. Chia seeds can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer to increase their longevity. Adding chia seeds to other foods is generally easy and does not change their taste or texture. They can be sprinkled on almost any dish and are especially good with fruit, yogurt, salads and gelatins.
Chia seeds can also be used in baking and makes a good addition to bread and other baked goods.
Everyone knows that nutrition is vital to our health, yet so many people fail to get the proper nutrients they need. Chia seeds are a convenient and tasty way to get the nutrition your body needs and deserve.
Chia Seed Recipes:
Chia seeds can be eaten on their own or added to other foods for extra nutrition.
How to Eat Chia Seeds:
You can eat chia seeds by themselves, but they have a mild flavor and can be eaten with other foods. The most common ways to eat chia are:
It is important to keep in mind that you should not eat more than 10g per serving. This is because eating too much can lead to digestive problems and has the potential to delay your bowel movements.
It is also important to note that chia seeds can absorb 10 times their weight in water. For this reason, do not eat them dry. To avoid this from occurring, you should always either mix them with water, juice or any other liquid before consuming. You can also put the chia seeds in juice and then refrigerate them for a few hours before drinking.
This will allow the chia to absorb some of the flavor of the drink.
Chia seeds can have a lot of nutrients, but it is very possible to overdose. If you eat too much, you will likely experience nausea, stomach pain and diarrhea. To avoid these side effects, do not consume more than 10g a day.
Chia seeds can be eaten by themselves or added to other foods.
Chia seeds can be cooked into porridge, cereal and baked goods.
You can make chia seed pudding by combining them with milk or juice then refrigerating it for a few hours.
You can add them to pancake and waffle batter before cooking.
You can mix them with honey and spread it on bread.
You can stir them into mashed potatoes.
You can combine them with peanut butter and jelly when making a sandwich.
You can mix them with cocoa powder and make chia cookies.
In addition to being eaten, chia seeds can be used in a wide variety of recreational ways.
Chia Fresca: Chia fresca is the Latin American drink made by using chia seeds that have been soaked in pineapple or lemon juice. The resulting mixture is then sweetened with sugar or honey and chilled before being served over ice.
Chia Fresca is made by mixing 1 tablespoon of chia seeds in a cup of pineapple or lemon juice, then sweetening to taste. Chia fresca can be served over ice.
This drink is popular in Mexico where it is known as “horchata de chia”, however it’s important to note that horchata de chia is made with actual horchata and not chia seeds.
Chia Paint: Chia fresca can be painted on any wet surface and used to create art. To obtain this effect, mix 1 part chia fresca with 2 parts water. This mixture is known as “Chia Paint”.
To create art, spread the chia fresca on a wet surface and let it dry. Wet the dried chia fresca and the picture will disappear. The art can be made to last longer by mixing tempera paint into the chia fresca during the painting process.
Sources & references used in this article:
Nutritional and therapeutic perspectives of Chia (Salvia hispanica L.): a review by R Ullah, M Nadeem, A Khalique, M Imran… – Journal of food science …, 2016 – Springer
POSTHARVEST LOSSES OF DHAKKI DATES DURING SUPPLY CHAIN IN PAKISTAN by …, MS Hashmi, A Muhammad, SA Ali… – FRESENIUS …, 2020 – researchgate.net
Utility of Morphological Features, Chemical Composition of Fruit and Chloroplast Genes in Date Palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) Characterization of. by N Faqir, A Muhammad, GM Ali… – Sarhad Journal of …, 2018 – search.ebscohost.com
Proximate composition and nutritional characterization of Chia enriched yoghurt by AN Kibui, E Owaga, M Mburu – … Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and …, 2018 – ajol.info