Chia seeds: our new Wellbeing Wednesday Challenge

Jar of Black and White Chia SeedsWhen we packed up and moved office last month, we found this little jar tucked away at the back of a cupboard in the Echolife kitchen. It had not seen the light (as in, been taken out of the cupboard) or been used for a good year, if not two. Why the neglect?

Although chia seeds have a bit of a reputation as one of the health foods you’re supposed to be eating, we just didn’t think about eating them. In fact, didn’t know how to eat them apart from soaking them in water and watching them slowly acquire a gelatinous consistency – while we slowly acquired more and more reservations about eating that jelly with seeds floating in it.

Since our recent foray into green smoothies (which we also had reservations about) was such a success, we decided yesterday it was Chia’s turn to get demystified and re-enter our eating radar. So our Wellbeing Challenge for this week is to eat chia seeds – every day.

You might ask: what are chia seeds?

Thanks for asking – chia seeds (or ‘Salvia Hispanica‘) come from a plant from the mint family native to Mexico and now grown in a few other parts of the world. The etymology of ‘chia‘ is traced to a word meaning ‘oily‘* (not ‘gelatinous consistency‘, to our surprise). Chia seeds are in fact incredibly rich in essential fatty acids and can yield up to 30% oil. So far, so good for you.

What are the nutritional benefits of chia seeds?

The seeds might be very small, but they contain a bounty of nutrients and are well deserving of their reputation as a health food. They are incredibly rich in ALA, an essential fatty acid proven to reduce the risk of heart disease**. They also contain protein, a large amount of fibre and minerals like calcium, phosphorus and potassium***. All in all, introducing chia seeds to your diet is a quick and easy way of getting more Omega-3s (which we typically don’t eat enough of compared to our intake of Omega-6 and Omega-9) – the fibre and minerals are an added bonus!

How to eat chia seeds

We knew you’d ask… And yes, you can do more than just soak them in water and watch them turn to jelly under your very eyes.

So behold your different options to eat chia:

  • Soak them in water and add to yoghurt, stewed fruit, smoothies, juices and porridge
  • Sprinkle just before eating on salads, stir fries, soup (like you would sesame seeds)
  • Eat them raw (by the spoonful since they are so small?)
  • Grind them and add to your flour next time you’re baking (they go well with either sweet or savoury, so muffins and bread are equally fine)
  • Get a chia pet, watch the sprouts grow, harvest and add to sandwiches or salads, or juice the sprouts like you would juice wheatgrass (we even have a manual wheatgrass juicer perfect for that kind of job – sorry, we don’t stock chia pets though)

As to us, we’ll be doing all of the above this week – minus the chia pet (it would take too long to grow). Join us and let us know how you use chia seeds – we may need inspiration come the end of the challenge…

Source: *Wikipedia, **Wikipedia, ***Self Nutrition Data

8 thoughts on “Chia seeds: our new Wellbeing Wednesday Challenge

  1. my favourite way to use chia seeds is to make a plate of vitabrits, top with a sliced banana and a dessertspoon of chia seeds – pour on some super cold milk and yum yum, the seeds give a lovely crunchiness which is what i love about them – so instead of soggy breakfast cereal it keeps crunchy to the last mouthful.

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