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Chia Seeds - A Healthy Supergrain

July 12, 2018

What are Chia Seeds and how are they grown?

 

Chia seeds come from the desert plant 'Salvia hispanica'. It grows abundantly in southern Mexico and is actually a member of the mint family. The chia plant can grow up to 6 feet, with the seeds held in the head of the flowers, which are dried before harvested.  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."Chia" is the ancient Mayan word for "strength." Ancient Aztec warriors are thought to have used chia seeds as rations, with one teaspoon sustaining a warrior for 24 hours.

Chia is Gluten Free, so it is suitable for those with coeliac disease.

 

 

White Chia Seeds versus Black Seeds

According to Wayne Coates, professor emeritus in the office of arid land studies at the University of Arizona, there is no significant nutritional difference between the two colours of chia seeds. A long-time researcher on the best ways to grow and harvest chia seeds, Coates says that black and white chia seeds boast essentially the same nutrient profile.

 

What do they taste like?

Chia seeds have a mild, nutty flavour that works well to complement both sweet and savoury dishes. They’re very subtle in their taste, though some find the taste to be similar to a poppy seed or an alfalfa sprout. When they are combined with liquid they start to form a gel-like consistency.

 

Health Benefits

  • Omega 3 fatty acids – Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are essential fatty acids, meaning that you need to get from food sources because your body cannot produce them itself. Omega 3’s reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. They’re also said to help with weight reduction related to their regulation of blood sugar levels and insulin.

  • Plant-based protein – An essential macro nutrient needed for many functions in the body, including muscle building.

  • Antioxidants – Anti-oxidants help rid our body of free radicals, which have been linked to cancer and heart disease.

  • These seeds are an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fibre, making them great for digestion, gut health and keeping you fuller for longer.

  • Unlike flaxseeds, chia seeds are digestible without the need to grind them into a meal. 

  • They can be stored in a cool, dark place for long periods with no deterioration and are ideal for enriching many different foods.

  • Chia seeds are rich in vitamins A, B, E and D. They also contain the minerals calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and manganese.

What you can use them for

  • Combine with your choice of milk to create a chia pudding

  • Thicken soups, curries, pasta sauces and dips

  • Add to muffins, cakes, crackers, bread, bliss balls or raw desserts

  • Thicken soups, curries, pasta sauces and dips

  • Chia seeds soaked in water or fruit juice is also often consumed and is known in Mexico as 'chia fresca'.

  • Add to porridge, yoghurt or overnight oats

  • Sprinkle on top of breakfast bowls, smoothies, or salads

How much should I eat daily?

For general purposes of health, nutrition and energy an adult would typically consume about 1-2 tablespoons of chia seeds daily. 1 Tablespoon of dry seeds have about 60 calories, 5 g of Fat, 6 g of Carbohydrate, 6 g of Fibre, 3 g of Protein

 

Chia Gel Recipe

Add 60g (1/3 cup) chia seeds to 500ml (2 cups) cold water in a large airtight container with a lid. Cover and shake the container until well combined, then set aside for 20-30 minutes or until gel forms, shaking the container every 10 minutes. This mixture can keep covered in the fridge for up to two weeks. Add it to drinks to give them a nutritional boost.

Chia, mango and raspberry breakfast smoothie recipe

 

 

 

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: Nil

Serves: 2

 

Ingredients

350ml Milk

130g Plain Yoghurt

1.5 tablespoons white chia seeds

1 mango, seed and skin removed, flesh diced

60g fresh or frozen raspberries

2 teaspoons honey

 

Method

Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

 

Handy Hint

If you prefer a smoother texture, you can make the gel above. Reduce the milk to 200ml and add the chia gel with the remaining ingredients.

 

Did you know?

Putting chia seeds in your breakfast smoothie adds a massive 4.2g of fibre per serve as well as a good dose of omega–3 (That hit of Omega 3 is linked to lean muscle mass, clearer skin and a healthy heart) and omega–6 fatty acids.

 

**We have both black and white Chia seeds in stock, in-store and online.

 

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