What is it?
Chia seeds are tiny black seeds from the plant Salvia Hispanica, a relative of the mint family.
This plant grows natively in South America. Chia seeds were an important food for the Aztecs and Mayans back in the day. They prized them for their ability to provide sustainable energy. The ancient Mayan word for “strength” is Chia.
Despite their ancient history as a dietary staple, chia seeds only recently became recognized as a modern day superfood.
Health-conscious people all over the world consume chia seeds. It has exploded in popularity over the past few years.
What can I do with it?
The seeds have a mild nutty taste and can easily be added to most dishes as a garnish. Chewing small seeds like flax or chia generally doesn’t make the omega-3’s and other nutrients readily available for digestion and assimilation. The best way to access their vitamins and minerals is to either grind or soak them.
Pulverise chia seeds into flour. Use it in most gluten-free recipes like pancakes, muffins, breads and even pastas
When soaked in water the seeds will form a gel which can be useful in gluten free baking as it serves as a binder to replace the gluten in wheat flour or to replace eggs.
What could it do for me?
Chia seeds are high in protein, fiber, Omega 3 fatty acids and also loaded with anti-oxidants.
Virtually all the carbs in chia seeds is fiber with the result that the actual nett carb content is almost zero. This makes it ideal as part of an LCHF lifestyle.
What can I substitute?
Flax seed, also high in Omega 3 and with similar properties when used in baking would be the best substitute for chia seeds. Baking results may however not be identical.
How do I store it?
Store any ground omega-3 rich seeds in a sealed, airtight, glass container in your refrigerator or freezer. Exposure to air causes it to become rancid.