Chia seeds are promoted as a health food. Is it a valid claim?
Like flax, chia is high fiber and has significant omega-3 fatty acid content. It’s also a reasonably good source of iron and magnesium.
Unlike flax, it’s easier to digest, and has a very neutral flavor. The seeds absorb a lot of water, so you don’t have to chew them much. Kathy likes to add chia seeds to yogurt, and says it helps to curb hunger. One tablespoon added to a cup of yogurt can hold her for 3 hours, eliminating the need for between meal snacks.
We both thought the best serving size was 1 tablespoon, not 1/4 cup (4 TB) recommended on some packages. That amount could cause some people stomach upset. A tablespoon has about:
- 58 kcal
- 2 g pro
- 3.7 g fat (significant omega-3)
- 5 g carbs
- 4.1 g fiber
- 1 mg iron
- 40 mg magnesium
- 76 mg calcium
- as well as B vitamins and vitamin K
Kathy recommends letting the chia seeds sit for about 10 minutes after adding to yogurt or some other moist food. Other uses:
- add to smoothies
- sprinkle on oatmeal or hot cereals
- use to make pudding without cornstarch or other thickeners. The thickening comes from the chia gel
You can also use chia gel in cooking in place of eggs, especially helpful for vegans or people allergic to eggs.
1 cup plain rolled oats cooked with 2 cups of plain water.
Take pot off burner and add 2 tablespoons of chia to oatmeal. Stir, cover, and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
Add sweetener or spices as desired.
The texture was great and better than just cooked rolled oats.
Our Bottom Line:
Chia is a great source of fiber and omega-3 fats, easy to digest, with a neutral flavor. It absorbs water in moist foods, and can help curb appetite, which can help dieters control calories. For more information, check out this blog post on chia and flax from intern Brooke Piraino, who provides a link to another pudding made with almond milk.