Chia is a herbaceous plant native to Mexico that belongs to the sage family. The term chia is derived from chiyan which designates the sage Salvia hispanica in nahuatl, the Aztec language. This sage is cultivated for its seeds, which were part of the basic food of the ancient peoples of Mexico. They used them for their medicinal virtues but also as offerings to the gods. After being ignored for centuries, chia seeds made their return in the early 1990s thanks in particular to nutritionists, who recognized many virtues. To date, they represent a real trend in healthy eating!
Chia seeds are relatively small. Their texture can remind poppy seeds. Generally brown, they can be beige, grey or white depending on the variety. White chia (called pale chia) has a neutral taste. Brown seeds have a more pronounced taste.
BENEFITS OF CHIA
Chia seeds are naturally rich in “good fats”. They contain about 15% alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a fatty acid that belongs to the omega-3 family. Other interest: the seeds also contain omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (between 5 to 8%).
Very rich in dietary fiber and soluble, chia seeds promote intestinal transit and help prevent cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and type 2 diabetes.
Chia seeds contain 23% protein. They are also a good source of vitamins B9, calcium, magnesium, antioxidants and minerals.
PRECAUTIONS WITH CHIA
People allergic to other seeds (sesame or flax, for example) should, therefore, exercise caution because of a possible cross-allergy.
Chia is not recommended for people with prostate cancer or at risk of prostate cancer due to high levels of alpha-linolenic acid18.
HOW TO EAT THEM ?
Chia seeds have a neutral taste. When brought into contact with a liquid, they take on a gelatinous texture. Eaten plain, they will therefore take this consistency in contact with saliva. They can be eaten this way, but most often they are combined with other foods.
Some examples of use :
- sprinkle the chia seeds on a salad of raw vegetables
- sprinkle the chia seeds on a yoghurt or muesli
- mix the chia seeds in cottage cheese
- integrate chia seeds into a cereal bread recipe
- use chia instead of an egg: one tablespoon of seeds with 3 tablespoons of water. Let
- stand half an hour. The gelatinous consistency obtained is equivalent to one egg. Here is probably one of the most interesting reasons to use chia seeds in cooking.
Vegans and/or egg intolerants can replace the binding effect of the egg with whole chia seeds soaked in a little water or directly in moist ingredients.
When we put the whole chia, we must wait for a little, the time that the fibres absorb water & that the consistency of the egg is formed (approximately 40 minutes).
- reduce chia seeds to powder and use instead of flour
- thicken a sauce with chia seeds
add the seeds to a smoothie
Here one of my favourite recipe with chia seeds.
Chia pudding is a classic in vegan cooking.
- Pour the chia seeds into a small bowl and pour the coconut milk, agave syrup and lemon juice on top, not the other way around (this prevents the seeds from clumping too much).
- Mix everything well.
- Let stand 10 minutes and mix again, so that the chia seeds do not mix together. Pour into two glasses, a few pineapple cubes.
- Cover the pineapple with the chia pudding mixture. Place in a cool place for at least 1h30 or more (or overnight for the next morning).
Serve your chia pudding with the rest of the pineapple.
Decorate at your convenience
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