Chia seeds have been used for thousands of years as a food and as a medicine. In the last decades they have become a commercially popular health food. Chia seeds can be easily mixed into other foods and they have almost neutral flavor, so you can easily incorporate them into your usual meals.
How you will eat chia seeds is a matter of your personal preference, but in this article we will tell you something more about raw chia seeds. Are they good for our health or they can cause side effects? Below you will get the answers to these questions, but first we will tell you some basic things about chia seeds.
What are Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds are seeds harvested from Salvia hispanica, a flowering plant in the mint family. This plant is native to Mexico and Guatemala, but today chia seeds are used all around the world. Quality chia seeds are black or white and they should never be brown.
Chia seeds are rich in protein, fiber, antioxidants, calcium and omega 3 fatty acids. They have a lot of health benefits and they are usually considered a superfood. Chia seeds don’t need to be ground, because if you eat them whole you will also have the same health benefits. You can buy chia seeds at any health food store, but also in supermarkets that are well-stocked. There are different brands of chia seeds, but all of them are vegan and gluten-free.
Chia seeds also help in weight loss because they expand their size when they are in water and that helps you feel full for a longer period of time. Good thing is that chia seeds have a pretty long shelf life and they can last for several years if they are stored properly. It means that you should store them away from moisture and other contaminants.
How To Use Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds are safe and beneficial if they are used properly. It means that chia seeds should be soaked in water before you use them. After being soaked, chia seeds form a gelatinous coating that helps the seeds to move easily through our digestive track. The researches have shown that chia seeds should not be eaten in their raw and dry form. This is especially important for people who have swallowing problems or constricted esophagus.
As we have already said, chia seeds expand in water and some studies have shown that chia seeds have the ability to absorb up to 27 times their weight when they are soaked in water. Because of that chia seeds should only be consumed if they have had the ability to expand in liquid before the ingestion. If you eat dry and raw chia seeds, they may expand in the esophagus and the gel may cause an obstruction. It can lead to many complications and you should seek medical help. It may happen even if you eat dry chia seeds with a glass of water. So, it is best to soak chia seeds in water until they expand completely.
Chia seeds can be eaten in different ways. They can be also eaten raw if you mix them in other dishes or if you sprinkle them over. For example, you can add raw chia seeds to smoothies, juices, yogurt and oatmeal or sprinkle them on a salad.
Since chia seeds don’t have strong flavor, you can add spices, nuts or chopped fruits that you like. You can make a chia pudding only by mixing a quarter-cup of chia seeds in one cup of almond milk or fruit juice. After 15 minutes your pudding will be ready to eat and you can keep it in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
As you have seen in this article, chia seeds are safe if they are used properly. It means that before eating chia seeds you should mix them with liquid, so that they can fully expand.
Avoid eating them dry and raw because they can cause swallow problems. You can use chia seeds raw when you sprinkle them over salad or yogurt. We hope this article was useful for you and that you will include chia seeds in your diet.