What are Chia Seeds?
I hear you cry. If you happen to already be into healthy eating, the the chances are you’ve come across chia seeds somewhere before. Originating in South America, Chia was prized way back in the 12th Century among Aztec and Mayan cultures for its health benefits.
In a word
Mucilaginous. Actually I just like the word!
How much does it cost
Whole Chia Seed – available in 200g (£5.49) and 400g (£9.99
Milled Chia Seed – available in 150g (£5.49) and 315g (£9.99)
Chia and Blueberry Mix – available in 100g (£5.49) and 260g (£9.99)
Chia and Cranberry Mix – available in 100g (£5.49) and 260g (£9.99)
Where is it available?
Holland and Barratt, Ocado, Amazon, Selfridges and independent health stores.
Some of their properties:
Popular because of their high protein and low fat content, chia seeds also absorb up to 7 times their own weight in water, which means they can keep people hydrated.
When added to water, chia forms a gel, which is analgesic for sufferers of inflammation and IBS, and helps to slow the release of carbohydrates & the rate at which they are turned into sugars.
They contain ridiculous amounts of omega-3 & omega-6 which is essential for cell growth/repair & oxygen/nutrient uptake among many things.
Contain calcium and B Vitamins – essential for a balanced diet.
Purported to assist weight-loss & diabetes, the slow release prevents blood sugar highs & lows which usually prompt food cravings.
- Chia is the highest-known plant-based source of omega-3 in the world which works to maintain a happy heart and strengthen the brain
- High in fibre, the tiny seeds aid digestion and help to balance blood sugar levels and reduce cholesterol
- Chia helps to reduce inflammation and improves circulation
- High in zinc which is known to benefit the immune system and nervous system
- Chia is a complete (plant) protein – making it a perfect source for vegans and vegetarians
Chia Bia can be used as an egg replacement, gluten-free replacement for flour or a healthy alternative to butter, so its uses for people with specific diets are pretty varied. Entirely plant based, this is obviously vegan and vegetarian.
The seeds don’t have a remarkable taste, and as such can be added easily into shakes and water, as well as other recipes.
At £4.99 and above, chia seeds are more expensive than many other seeds such as flax and hemp, which also contain some excellent properties.
As replacement flours go, there are others which work out cheaper, and its use as an egg replacer would need refining, as some of the cakes I cooked were flat.
Again, low in flavour, it depends what you are looking for in a seed, but these are not high flavour products and are revered for their properties, as opposed to any flavour.
I have enjoyed using Chia Bia in a variety of different ways, from salad toppers to recipe creation, and expect I will continue to do so. However, it is quite costly, so I think perhaps it is best used sparingly. As with all things, as part of a balanced diet, Chia seeds can contribute to a healthy system.
So, try them, by all means. But don’t expect miracles from just eating a seed!