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Amazing Chia

Friday, September 11, 2015

Australia is one of the leading producers of chia seeds. Many crops are grown right here in WA in the Ord Valley. Chia is considered by many as one of the world’s healthiest foods.

First used by the Aztecs in Central America over 4,000 years ago, chia is an exceptional source of fibre, which helps improve digestion, and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to help lower cholesterol. Chia seeds are a wholesome source of protein, manganese, and phosphorus, and are an ideal option for vegans, vegetarians and people with gluten allergies.

Compared to other seeds and grains, chia seeds have the highest source of complete protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids, making them a super antioxidant and energy booster.

Chia seeds also have a unique ability to absorb up to 10 times their weight in liquids. This helps to prevent dehydration and to retain electrolytes, which is important when exercising. It also adds to a feeling of fullness, leading to eating less.

Chia seeds can be eaten plain but it is common to blend chia seeds with yogurt, milk, or oatmeal, sprinkle on salads or add to cooking. Another common use of chia seeds is to make a pudding with them. Due to their high absorption rate when combined with water, the chia seeds turn into a gel-like substance, which is ideal for puddings.

So, now that we know chia seeds are so good for us, here are some ways to try and add them to our daily diet.

Make a Pudding:
Chia pudding has a sort of tapioca texture, you simply combine all the ingredients and refrigerate overnight. The little tiny chia seeds when soaked in liquid expand to more than 9 times their size! A quick and easy healthy dessert. Simply add 3 tablespoons of chia seeds to a ½  cup of liquid, e.g. unsweetened coconut milk, almond milk or a leftover smoothie, you could even add a dash of vanilla essence, and put the mixture in the fridge for a few hours to set. (Try adding chopped fruit to the mix as well.)

Use as an Egg Substitute:
As chia easily absorbs liquids and turns into a gel, it makes a good egg substitute for baking. Just mix one tablespoon of chia seeds with three tablespoons of your desired non-dairy milk and let sit for five minutes until reaching the consistency of raw eggs. Then use as a substitute in pancakes, cookies, and muffins.

Add to a Smoothie:
Add an extra nutrient boost to your smoothie by adding chia seeds. Mix 1 tablespoon with some of the liquid before blending. The seeds will act as a thickening agent, too, so the more you add, the thicker your smoothie will be.

Make a Delicious Breakfast:
Overnight oats. Update this breakfast basic by adding some chia seeds to the mix. Combine 2 teaspoons of chia seeds with 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats, 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, and 1/2 cup of non-dairy milk and place in the fridge overnight. The next morning, you’ll have yourself a no-cook, nutritious brekkie.

 What’s your favourite way to enjoy chia seeds?