What are chia seeds?
Question: I've been hearing a lot lately about chia seeds, what are they are how can they be used?
What are they?
Chia seeds are the ripe seeds from the plant Salvia hispanica which is native to Mexico. They are available in two varieties: black, which naturally contains a combination of black, grey and white seeds; and white, which is produced by selecting only the white seeds. Both varieties have similar nutritional qualities.
Chia seeds are a great plant source of the omega-3, alpha-linolenic acid. Modern diets generally have an abundance of omega-6 over omega-3; chia helps balance this with an omega-3 to omega-6 ratio of 3:2. Chia seeds are also a good source of fibre and protein and contain good levels of the bone minerals calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. They have a high antioxidant activity and are low-GI.
Buying and storing
Chia seeds can be found in breads at selected supermarkets or bakeries and in whole seed form at most health food stores. Chia seeds are also marketed under trademark names such as Salba and Tresalbio.
Because of the high levels of antioxidants chia seeds will keep for up to two years without becoming rancid. No need to refrigerate, simply store in a dry place.
Easily incorporate Chia seeds into your diet by eating as a snack or by adding to your bread, muffins and baking or by sprinkling on cereals or salads. Chia is also often used as a gel and added to smoothies, juice and yoghurts. Simply mix one tablespoon to one cup water and allow to sit until a gel forms.
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