Superfood Spotlight: Organic Chia Seeds and Smoothie Recipe

chiaseeds

You’ve probably heard the hype surrounding chia seeds, but what makes them so special?

The seeds are an excellent source of essential nutrients like Omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fiber, proteins, vitamins, and more. They’re also packed with antioxidants, making them an excellent addition to your healthy lifestyle.

For those looking to improve their health, organic chia seeds are a quick and easy way to boost the nutritional profile of all kinds of foods. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of this well-known superfood.

Where Do Chia Seeds Come From?

Chia seeds originated in Guatemala and Mexico, and have been a part of the human diet for around 5,500 years. They’re often referred to as an “ancient superfood” and were traditionally used in foods, natural medicines, and religious ceremonies.

Historically, the Mayans and Aztecs both incorporated chia seeds alongside beans, corn, and ancient grains like Amaranth. It was also a main crop in pre-Columbian societies.

The word “chia” comes from the Spanish word “chian,” which means “oily.” This name is fitting because the seed is full of healthy oils called alpha-linolenic (ALA) fatty acids. These Omega-3 fatty acids play a key role in cardiovascular health, cholesterol management, and blood pressure regulation, among other health benefits.

Why Are Chia Seeds Called a “Superfood”?

The term “superfood” is common amongst different health foods, meaning a food that offers benefits besides its basic nutritional profile. Chia seeds have several qualifying benefits, including:

  • Helping regulate appetite: chia seeds can absorb as much as ten times their weight in water, helping you feel full
  • Aiding weight loss: high fiber content slows down digestion and prevents blood sugar spikes that can cause weight gain
  • Improving cardiovascular health: high content of ALA fatty acids can help regulate heartbeat, lower cholesterol, and prevent blood clots

When incorporated into a healthy diet, chia seeds can help you feel full and energized while preventing certain risk factors for disease. 

Why Choose Organic Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds pack a serious nutritional punch in any form, but the organic ones will give you the most bang for your buck. 

Organic foods often carry more vitamins and nutrients than their conventionally-grown counterparts. What’s more, non-organic foods can contain leftover residue from pesticides, which isn’t exactly something you want in your morning smoothie.

Choosing organic chia seeds provides you with the cleanest and most nutritionally-packed way to enjoy this superfood. So, if you’re able to find the organic variety, it’s certainly worth the extra investment.

How to Eat Chia Seeds

Chia seeds have an extremely mild flavor, meaning you can add them into many different kinds of dishes. To soften them, you can soak them overnight in water or a plant-based milk of your choosing. The resulting gel is a perfect addition to smoothies, yogurts, puddings, or even soups.

You can also mix dry seeds into different sauces, salad dressings, and marinades. For the best results, grind into a fine powder beforehand.

Benefits of Chia Seeds in Water

Although organic chia seeds have a relatively undetectable flavor, they are crunchy and dense in their raw form. While they’re still perfectly healthy to consume, their rough and dry texture might feel unpleasant and could get stuck in your teeth.

When placed in water, though, the seeds take on a gel-like texture. This makes them easy to mix into your smoothie, cereal, yogurt, or whatever food you’re looking to give a superfood boost.

To turn your organic chia seeds into a gel, simply add them to water, stir well, and refrigerate overnight. Ratios depend on personal preference, but try starting with 3 tablespoons of seeds per 1 cup of water.

Can Chia Seeds Be Cooked?

Cooking chia seeds is generally not recommended, as it can destroy important nutrients. When adding it to other recipes, mix chia gel or raw seeds directly into the prepared product after cooking is complete.

Chia Seed Smoothie Recipes

One of the easiest and most effective ways to enjoy organic chia seeds is adding them to a smoothie. Soaked chia gel will act as a thickener, whereas ground or whole seeds will add an undetectable superfood nutrient boost.

You can add chia seeds to any of your favorite smoothie recipes, but here are a couple to get you started. Each of these recipes makes a single serving; adjust ingredients as necessary.

Berry Banana Chia Smoothie
  • ½  cup frozen blueberries
  • ½ cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 ripe banana, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond, oat, cashew, or coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Mango Pineapple Green Chia Smoothie
  • 1 cup spinach or mixed spring greens* 
  • ½ cup greek yogurt or kefir
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond, oat, cashew, or coconut milk
  • ½ cup frozen mango
  • ½ cup frozen pineapple

*Note: When incorporating fresh greens into your smoothie, first puree the greens with the milk. Then, add the rest of your ingredients and blend until smooth.

Other Recipes with Chia Seeds

Chia Seed Pudding
  • ½ Cup Almond, Coconut, Oat, or Cashew Milk
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • Sweetener of Choice (optional) like maple syrup or honey

Combine all ingredients in a mason jar or other airtight container, stirring well. Refrigerate for at least a few hours or (ideally) overnight.

Optional add-ins include cacao nibs, greek yogurt, jam, coconut flakes, cacao powder, fresh fruit, nuts, cinnamon, and granola.

Overnight Oats

Chia seeds also make an excellent addition to overnight oats. Our favorite overnight oats recipe features chia seeds with almond milk, rolled oats, greek yogurt, nut butter, and honey.

One Seed, Many Power-Packed Health Benefits

You’ve heard the hype surrounding chia seeds, now is the time to make it work in your lifestyle. With the power-packed benefits of organic chia seeds, you can start boosting your omega-3’s and your overall health today. 

For more recipes and ingredient spotlights, check out our other blog entries.

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