While some people may associate the idea of chia seeds more with chia pets than with food, these seeds pack a real nutritional punch and have a number of uses in the kitchen. You can buy chia seeds online, which may be the cheapest way to get them, but they're also available in the natural foods sections of many major grocery stores.
Source of Concentrated Nutrition
These tiny seeds are an excellent source of concentrated nutrition. Just one ounce, which is about 2 tablespoons, provides 10 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein as well as essential omega-3 fats and more than 10 percent of the daily value for essential minerals like manganese, phosphorus and calcium. This amount of chia seeds has just 138 calories, which isn't much considering how much nutritional value it provides.
May Lower Disease Risk
While the research is still preliminary, eating chia seeds may help to lower both inflammation and cholesterol, thus decreasing the risk for heart disease. Chia seeds may also be helpful for controlling spikes in blood sugar levels after meals, and because most of the carbohydrates they contain are in the form of fiber, aren't likely to cause large increases in blood sugar themselves. This makes them a good choice for diabetics to include in their diets. Because chia seeds are high in nutrients that help build strong bones, they may be good for those looking to limit their osteoporosis risk.
Can Work As An Egg Substitute
If you're a vegan trying to bake without eggs, or if you've just run out of eggs and don't want to run to the store, chia seeds can be used to make an egg substitute that works in baking. Simply mix 3 tablespoons of warm water with 1 tablespoon of chia seeds and let them sit for about 5 minutes or so until they form a gel. Then add them to the recipe as you would eggs. Obviously, this wouldn't work for something like scrambled eggs or dishes where you need to whip the egg whites to stiff peaks, but for many baking recipes, it's a suitable replacement.
Lots of Uses
Those who are worried about what they'll actually do after they buy chia seeds and bring them home shouldn't be. There are plenty of recipes online for making chia seed puddings, chia seed jams, overnight oats and other recipes. You can add nutrition to cereal, smoothie, yogurt or other dishes by adding chia seeds as a topping. Sprinkle them on right before eating the dish if you'd like to add crunch, or a short while before eating if you want them to soften in the liquid from the dish so they aren't as noticeable.Share