What are chia seeds and why are they considered to be a superfood? Why should you consume them on a daily basis and what kind of exciting dishes can they be used in? Can chia seeds really be a substitute for eggs? Let’s take a closer look!
1.Chia seeds are extremely nutrient-rich
Let’s start with the basics – the nutritional value! Chia seeds have gained a lot of attention for their high nutritional value, being rich in essential fatty acids, antioxidants, essential amino acids as well as vitamins and minerals, more than in many vegetables and even salmon, loved for its beneficial fatty acids. Firstly, the nutritional value of chia seeds. These tiny greyish seeds contain 8 times more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon, 3 times more iron than spinach, 2 times more potassium than bananas, 7 times more vitamin C than oranges, 10 times more fiber than rice and as much as 15 times more magnesium than broccoli. In addition, chia seeds are great for keeping your heart healthy, they come handy in controlling blood sugar levels, speed up metabolism, strengthen bones and muscles, and also help in the elimination of toxins from the body. So it’s safe to say that chia does deserve its title as a superfood and should definitely be a part of your diet!
2.Packed with useful fibers
Chia contains both water-soluble and insoluble fibers, which aid digestion and help in keeping you feeling full for a longer time period after a meal. A tablespoon of chia seeds contains a total of 5.6g of fiber!
3. A great alternative to eggs
Thanks to its water-binding properties, chia seeds are also an excellent substitute for eggs. When in contact with liquid, the seeds form a sticky mass with a gel-like texture, which helps to hold together baked goods. If you’re a vegetarian or simply prefer an egg-free diet, chia seeds are the perfect alternative! To make one ‘chia egg’, all you need is 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, 3 tablespoons of water and a few minutes of patience for the seeds to absorb the water.
4.Chia seeds help boost your energy levels
Just 1 tablespoon is enough to provide an adult’s daily energy reserves, which is why chia seeds also make a great pre-workout supplement, helping to be more resilient during exercise. Studies have also shown that consuming chia seeds helps to increase endurance in workouts lasting more than 90 minutes and, thanks to its high omega-3 fatty acid content, they also help to reduce sugar intake.
5. Ideal source of plant protein
The protein-rich chia seed contain 15-20% of protein, giving it an huge advantage over many grains and legumes, including beans, rice, corn and oatmeal. In addition, these super seeds also contain 8 essential amino acids and are gluten-free, making them suitable for gluten intolerant.
How much should chia seeds should you consume?
In fact, just 1 tablespoon per day is enough. A spoonful of chia seeds contains 100mg of calcium, 70mg of magnesium, plus high-quality plant-based protein and fiber. To get the maximum benefits from chia seeds, it is recommended to soak them in water for at least 10 minutes before consumption. Doing so activates the beneficial enzymes hidden in the seeds.
Where could you use chia seeds?
Chia seeds are ideal for a variety of salads or as a topping for porridge, in smoothies, in pastries or even for using in pancake batter instead of eggs. They are also perfect for making delicious, nutritious and healthy chia porridge and, of course, as an addition to smoothies.
If you want to replace one large egg, mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and leave to rest for about 10-15 minutes. Then stir into the batter mixture in place of a regular egg. For making pudding, however, mix the seeds with your favorite plant-based milk or yoghurt and wait until a thick custard-like texture forms and season to taste. You can use a variety of freeze-dried fruit powders, fresh berries or even jam!
Recipe for a healthy chia pudding (for 4):
1 jar of skimmed coconut milk
3 tablespoons chia seeds
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 cup mango puree
vanilla extract (optional)
Instructions: Once the seeds have swelled to a custard-like texture, layer the custard with the mango puree in goblets and garnish with whatever you like.
Here are inspirational photos of different chia puddings to show what these wonderful little seeds can be used for.
Chia seeds are also available in Centralsun’s e-shop, you can conveniently order them HERE and try it out for yourself!