The Chia plant originates from Mexico and belongs to the genus of sage plants. The pseudo-cereal already played a fundamental role in the diet of the Aztecs more than 5000 years ago. The plant was first imported to Europe by the Spanish in the 15th century. Nevertheless, over time it fell more and more into oblivion.
In recent years, this has changed drastically. The seeds of the Chia plant are said to have numerous positive effects. But are the seeds really to be recommended and do they contribute to a healthy diet?
The black seeds are celebrated, and chia is said to have a positive effect. Their content of protein, omega-3 fatty acids and fibre surpasses other, conventional foods. In addition, chia seeds promote digestion and can regulate blood sugar. They are also said to relieve heartburn and joint pain.
Just 15 grams of chia seeds can work wonders. Chia seeds also help with cardiovascular diseases. The high proportion of omega-3 fatty acids in the seeds is a great advantage for our body. However, these are only available to us if the seeds, similar to linseed, have been crushed or chewed very well.
Chia seed ingredients in detail
Only their ingredients reveal that the black seeds really are a superfood.
Chia seeds contain more iron than spinach, for example. In addition, the seeds, which are valuable for the body, contain many antioxidants, such as phenolic acid. The seeds also contain vitamin B3, which contributes significantly to health. All these active substances help to protect the cells in the body by scavenging free radicals.
What is a pseudocereal?
Grains from plant species that do not belong to the genus sweet grasses are pseudocereals. Despite this, they are used like normal cereals. The seeds of pseudocereals usually have a high content of protein, starch, fat and minerals. Although they do not have their own baking properties like normal cereals (wheat, rye), they are otherwise treated and used like normal cereals.
How can I prepare chia seeds?
The black seeds have no real flavour of their own. This sounds quite negative at first, but it is actually a huge advantage. Because you can use the small grains for all kinds of things. It doesn’t matter whether you make cakes and bread, porridge and muesli or smoothies and soups, everything is possible.
Chia seeds also taste savoury on salads. The best-known dish with chia seeds is chia pudding. This is a jelly-like cream made from water or milk and the seeds. It can be refined as desired.
Chia seeds swell. When soaking in milk or water, the mixture thickens and the volume is increased tenfold. Therefore, the rule of thumb is to mix half a cup of chia seeds with at least three cups of water or milk. Then leave the pudding to swell for at least ten minutes in a cold place. This chia gel or chia pudding keeps you full for a long time.
Or try adding the seeds to your Overnight Oats and let them swell overnight. Then you can relax and enjoy your healthy breakfast the next morning without having to get up earlier.
Put water, milk or a plant-based alternative in a glass together with the oat flakes and chia seeds and stir well.
Our secret tip: add a tablespoon of yoghurt.
To sweeten your Overnight Oats we recommend honey, agave syrup or maple syrup.
Put the mixture in the fridge overnight or for at least 2 hours.
Then stir well once again, decorate with fruits, nuts or seeds and enjoy!
Crushing and grinding Chia seeds
Chia seeds should be crushed or ground, but the human body can also use them whole. However, you have to take them with enough liquid, otherwise the seeds can cause side effects.
If you do decide to grind the seeds, it is best to put them in a normal coffee or grain mill. Afterwards, you should eat the seeds quickly, as they quickly become rancid in ground form.
Cooking – Chia seeds can also be cooked
Chia seeds can be cooked. However, they lose a large part of their ingredients when they are cooked. That is why chia seeds should always be eaten raw. So it is better to use them as a topping.
Roasting – Roasting Chia Seeds in the Pan
Roasting chia seeds makes sense, however, as they develop their flavour in the same way as oat flakes. This makes them a delicious topping for soups and salads.
To roast, simply place the seeds in a coated pan and roast without oil or butter for about three minutes. After that you should let them cool down first. The small seeds will keep for several months when roasted in sealable containers.
Why Chia seeds are a special substitute for animal products
Because chia seeds are perfect as an alternative source of protein, they are loved by vegetarians and vegans. They can be used as an egg substitute in burgers, waffles, cakes, spaetzle, pancakes and many other treats.
Overall, you should really give seeds a try and incorporate them into your diet. They can help you lose weight, aid digestion, prevent cardiovascular disease and help protect cells. With as little as 15g of chia seeds per day, you can improve your health.
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