The amazing health benefits of Chia Seeds & how to use them!

 

Chia seeds are among some of the healthiest and most nutritious foods on the planet. They have gained popularity in recent years because of their health and therapeutic benefits, and are now considered a must-have superfood with a range of benefits for the body and brain. Because of their high nutritional value and amazing water absorbing properties, Chia seeds will also help you to feel full for longer, control appetite and therefore assist with weight loss!

Chia seeds – An ancient superfood!

The word, Chia means ‘strength’ and ancient Mayans and Aztecs valued them for their energy boosting benefits, even using them before going to war to bring them strength!

Chia are tiny black seeds that  come from the Salvia hispanica plant, which is related to the mint family. Chia grows natively in South America and was an important source of nutrition for the Mayan and Aztec cultures centuries ago. 

These tiny seeds are a powerhouse of important nutients - containing carbohydrates, proteins, fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and antioxidants. They are a whole grain food, unprocessed and naturally gluten-free. Power-packed with nutritional goodness, chia seeds are a kitchen staple you definitely want to have around!

We look at the amazing benefits of Chia Seeds and how to use them PLUS share two great recipes with you.

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Benefits of Chia seeds

  1. Chia increases your fibre intake

Chia seeds are an excellent source of fibre which helps regulate bowel functioning, reduce inflammation and lower cholesterol. Did know that there is a hefty 10 grams of fibre in only tablespoons of chia seeds? This low-carb friendly food is able to absorb up to 10 times its weight in water because of all the fibre and becomes a gel-like substance, expanding in your stomach. As a result, this helps to keep you fuller for longer, absorb food slower and eat fewer calories. Definitely a good supportive aid for your weight loss journey!   

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  1. Chia is high in protein

Chia seeds are packed with protein and contain all the essential amino acids – in fact, 19% of protein is available in chia seeds. A high protein intake also reduces your appetite and cravings, and helps you to stay satisfied for longer which is vital for weight loss. Chia seeds also make an excellent source of protein for vegetarians or those who eat fewer animal products.

  1. Chia is packed with antioxidants

Chia seeds contain a high amount of antioxidants that fight the production of free radicals and protect the body from aging and cancer. The antioxidants in chia seeds also ensure that they have a longer shelf life. Including this age-busting superfood in your diet every day can help you to stay younger and healthier for longer!

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  1. High in omega 3 fatty acids

Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, specifically alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Studies show that omega-3’s in chia seeds help to reduce inflammation and high cholesterol and enhance cognitive performance. The high omega-3 content in Chia seeds also makes them beneficial for women’s health, as well as brain functioning. Inflammatory processes such as arthritis will also be soothed by adding Chia seeds to your diet.

  1. Chia helps to regulate blood sugar levels

Chia seeds have been shown to regulate insulin and blood sugar levels significantly. These seeds can reduce insulin resistance and lower high levels of sugar in the blood. This makes Chia seeds a valuable health food for diabetics and pre-diabetics who are trying to control blood sugar levels naturally!

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As you can see, chia seeds offer some amazing benefits for your overall health and wellbeing! Without a doubt, Chia should become a pantry staple in your household!

How to use Chia seeds

Chia seeds are small black seeds that are bought dry from the health shop. They have a very long shelf life due to their high levels of anti-oxidants – and because they absorb so much water, Chia seeds are more economical than you think! A little Chia goes a long way!

Before using Chia seeds, water should be added to them to form a gel – which looks almost like sago. The best way to do this is to take a 500 ml jar. Add 10 teaspoons of dried Chia seeds and fill the jar up with water. Leave to stand for about 10 minutes, stirring once or twice. These hydrated Chia seeds will last in your fridge for at least 10 days so you can start adding Chia to almost everything! For example:

  • Add 3 - 4 teaspoons of Chia to your smoothies
  • Add 4 – 5 teaspoons of Chia to your breakfast cereal or muesli
  • When baking muffins or bread, add 3 – 5 teaspoons of Chia

It’s easy to start incorporating Chia into your diet!

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Here are two great recipes with Chia seeds

  1. Chia Porridge

3 tablespoons chia seeds

Cover with water and leave to stand for 10 minutes

Add nut milk (almond or coconut milk) of your choice

Sprinkle with superfoods such as Lucuma, Goji berries, cinnamon, raisins, honey or raw cacao nibs 

  1. Chia Omega Super Milk (nut free)

Ingredients

3 cups of water

¼ cup of hemp seeds

1/8 cup of chia seeds

¼ cup of Lucuma powder

1 to 2 tablespoons of raw honey

½ teaspoon vanilla seeds (optional)

Method

Hemp and chia seeds combined give you a fantastic omega super-milk! With lucuma and honey for extra flavour, this is a delicious no-nut milk that can be used as a base for all types of smoothies.

Blend together and allow to stand for 1 to 2 minutes to thicken.

Superfoods organic Chia seeds, Goji Berries and Hemp seeds are available online and at the Feelgood Health shop in Cape Town – please CLICK HERE for more information on the Superfoods range.

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Comments

  • Feelgood Health - February 15, 2017

    Hi Penelope

    It’s generally recommended that you first soak the seeds first to maximise benefits but you can add them dry into your mixture for rusks. Hope this info helps! :)

  • Penelope Gurney - February 07, 2017

    I have always put chia seeds dry into my rusk mixture (like sunflower or poppy seeds) – should I be soaking them first and why?

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