Chia is grown commercially for its seed, a food rich in omega-3 fatty acids since the seeds yield 25–30% extractable oil, including α-linolenic acid. The composition of the fat of the oil may be 55% ω-3, 18% ω-6, 6% ω-9, and 10% saturated fat. Typically, chia seeds are small ovals with a diameter of approximately 1 mm (0.039 in). They are mottle-colored with brown, gray, black, and white. The seeds are hydrophilic, absorbing up to 12 times their weight in liquid when soaked. While soaking, the seeds develop a mucilaginous coating that gives Chia-based beverages a distinctive gel texture.
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Culinary Use of Chia Seeds
- Chia seed gel made from chia and plain water can be used as a substitute for eggs in most baked good recipes.
- Grind chia seeds into a coarse gluten-free flour that can be used in a variety of recipes, including those for many baked goods.
- Chia seeds absorb liquid and give it a thicker texture hence acts as a thickener or as a jelly agent.
- Chia seeds acts as a healthy snack option.
- Extra berries can be mashed into a puree and combined with chia seeds to make a tasty and simple jam.
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
- Chia is being studied as a potential natural treatment for type-2 diabetes because of its ability to slow down digestion. The gelatinous coating chia seeds develops when exposed to liquids-can also prevent blood sugar spikes.
- Just a 28-gram or one-ounce serving of chia has 11 grams of dietary fibre — about a third of the recommended daily intake for adults. Adding some chia to your diet is an easy way to make sure you’re getting a good amount of fibre, which is important for digestive health.
- Chia seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, with nearly five grams in a one-ounce serving. These fats are important for brain health.
- A serving of chia seeds has 18 per cent of the recommended daily intake for calcium, which puts your well on your way to maintaining bone and oral health, and preventing osteoporosis.
- Chia seeds also make a great source of protein for vegetarians and don’t have any cholesterol
- Chia’s stabilizing effect on blood sugar also fights insulin resistance which can be tied to an increase in belly fat, according to Live Strong.
- Chia seeds have been shown to improve blood pressure in diabetics, and may also increase healthy cholesterol while lowering total, LDL, and triglyceride cholesterol.