Chia Seed

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A very tiny seed that is edible as a seed or is used for planting to produce sprouts. Easily digested, the chia seeds are black to white in color and are covered with a highly absorbent shell that can absorb over seven times its weight in water, producing a gelatin-like substance. The gel-like substance acts as a barrier to slow the release of carbohydrates and thus, enabling a slower conversion into glucose (blood sugar) as the seed is digested. High in protein, minerals and enzymes, the outer hull of this seed is an excellent source of fiber. The seed is also a good source of essential oils since it contains almost a third of its mass as omega 3 and omega 6 oils.

The gelatinous characteristic of these seeds is an attribute used to make other foods more nutritious. It aids in making the seeds easy to mix with sauces (barbecue, tartar, and marinades), sandwich dressings (mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard), jams, jellies, ice cream drinks, smoothies, yogurts, and nut butters. When preparing the gelatinous solution to be mixed with other foods, 1 part seeds should be slowly poured in 8 to 10 parts of water and whisked lightly to keep them from forming clusters or joined masses of seeds. Allow the seeds to remain immersed for at least 10 minutes, whisking several times to keep them apart as much as possible. The resulting gel can then be refrigerated and kept for several weeks for use in adding to other foods, using half gel and half food as a general amount to be mixed together. Since the seeds have absorbed significant amounts of water, the lower calorie and nutritious gel becomes a replacement in many foods for half the amount of the original food required, providing an alternative that helps with digestion, calorie count and nutrition. This gel provides a somewhat nutty flavor to the sauce, beverage or food being prepared.

Chia seeds can be ground into a powder for use as a nutritious ingredient or they can be roasted and added to soups, stews, and salads. Chia fresca is a popular Mexican beverage made from the seeds, which are mixed with water and lime juice to produce a gelatinous drink. Chia seeds can be kept for long periods of time if stored in a cool dry area.

USDA Nutrition Facts

Serving Size1 oz
Total Fat30g
Total Carbohydrates43g
Dietary Fiber37g

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