Chia seeds have amazing health benefits. I have a great fondness for sabja seeds and when our local departmental store started selling chia seeds, I immediately bought and started using them regularly like sabja seeds. Though both sabja and chia look the same when they swell up and almost have the same nutritional profile, I was curious to see how different chia seeds tasted from sabja seeds. Surprisingly I liked chia seeds better than sabja seeds, because the pudding which I usually make with sabja seeds was more creamy when I made it with chia seeds.
Chia Seed Plant:
Chia seeds also have wonderful health benefits and medicinal uses like sabja seeds. The plant that produces chia seeds is called Salvia Hispanica and it is native to Mexico. Chia seeds are oval shaped and mottle colored. Chia seeds have an amazing ability to absorb water that is almost 10 to 12 times it’s weight and they also develop a gelatinous coating like sabja seeds.
Chia Seeds Common Names:
Chia seeds are called Chiya Beej in Hindi, Chiya Vithaikal in Tamil, Chia Bijagalu in Kannada, Chia Ginjalu in Telugu, Chia Bija in Punjabi and Gujarati and Chia Bi in Marathi.
Chia Seeds Nutrition:
100 grams of chia seeds have around 486 calories, 17 grams of protein, 34 grams of fiber, 31 grams of fat and 42 grams of carbohydrate. Chia seeds are rich in vitamins and minerals like iron, vitamin A, calcium, magnesium and vitamin C.
Chia Seeds Health Benefits:
1. Chia Seeds for Weight Loss:
Chia seeds digest slowly and also since it soaks up so much water, it keeps us fuller for really long periods of time. I remember having the pudding mentioned below the first time in between meals and not feeling hungry at all even past my usual lunch time.
2. Chia Seeds For Skin:
Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants and foods rich in antioxidants prevents premature skin ageing as they fight off the free radicals very effectively.
3. Chia Seeds For Diabetes:
Chia seeds are very good for diabetic patients as they help regulate blood sugar levels. Consuming chia seeds for breakfast is one good way to ensure that there will be steady release of blood sugar levels.
4. Chia Seeds For Hair:
Chia seeds are very rich in protein, 17 grams for every 100 grams. Any food that is rich in antioxidants and nutrients particularly protein is very very good for hair growth.
5. A Good Egg Substitute:
Chia seeds which are gelled by soaking it in water are a good replacement for egg. Chia seeds have a neutral taste and so can be used in any recipe that calls for egg.
6. Chia Seeds For People On a Gluten Free Diet:
Chia seeds are gluten free, high in nutrients and very filling making it an amazing ingredient to include in gluten free diets. A simple chia pudding made with a plant based milk and some fresh fruits can be had for breakfast daily.
7. Rich Source Of Omega 3 Fatty Acids:
Chia seeds are an amazing source of omega 3 fatty acids but remember like most plant sources of omega 3 fatty acids, it is in the form of alpha linolenic acid and it has to be converted into active forms (EPA &DHA) so our bodies can use it. So though it is high in omega 3 fatty acids, it is still not wise to rely on it solely.
8. Chia Seeds For PCOS:
Like mentioned above, chia seeds are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and any food that is high in omega 3 fatty acids is good for people suffering from PCOS.
9. Chia Seeds For Heart Health:
Since chia seeds are rich in antioxidants, it reduces oxidative stress and inflammation and also lowers cholesterol levels making it a wonderful heart healthy food.
10. Chia Seeds For Sports:
Chia has been used as a source for sustained energy by runners and warriors form ancient times and instead of relying on sugary energy drinks, we can consume chia pudding before long runs to energize us throughout the run.
Chia Seeds Side Effects:
Like any other seed, some people might be allergic to chia seeds. Also consuming raw chia seeds on it’s own can cause esophageal blockage for some people. And avoid consuming too much chia seeds as it can lead to bloating and chia seeds contains a compound called phytate which might interfere with nutrient absorption if had in excess.
Where Do You Buy Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds can be ordered online and in India it is sold in most health food stores and departmental stores. Though it is not commonly found like sabja seeds, you can find it in most stores. It is also expensive when compared to sabja seeds, 100 grams costs around 180 rupees.
How Much Chia Seeds To Take in A Day?
I would suggest starting with a teaspoon of chia seeds and slowly increasing it to 1 to 1.5 tablespoon. When you start consuming large amounts of chia seeds suddenly, you might experience bloating
How To Eat Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds can be had whole, powdered or soaked in water. Some people just add chia seeds to smoothies, grind and consume immediately. It is just personal preference, try out different chia seed recipes and see which form of chia seeds you like to consume. I personally like the chia seed pudding.
Chia Seed Pudding That I Make At Home Regularly:
1. Take 1 tbsp of chia seeds in a bowl.
2. Boil 125 ml of milk and add the hot milk to the chia seeds and mix well. Sweeten with honey according to your taste. Mix well else it will form lumps.
3. Add in cut mango pieces or any fruit of your choice, I prefer mangoes or berries.
4. Close with a lid and refrigerate for 3 hours and the chia seed pudding will thicken to a perfect consistency.
- I used 1/4 cup ripe mangoes, you can increase or decrease it according to your preference.
- I didn’t add any sweetener as the mangoes were very very sweet.
- I have used grass fed, organic whole milk from our farm for this recipe which made this pudding taste creamy and rich.