In this brief guide, we will answer the question, can you cook chia seeds? We will discuss some ways to cook and prepare chia seeds. We will also elaborate on the nutritional value that chia seeds have.
Can you cook chia seeds?
You can cook chia seeds. Chia seeds can be eaten raw or cooked. Some good ways to cook chia seeds include boiling and roasting. You could also find an array of recipes that require you to cook chia seeds.
Thermal treatment can change the nutritional aspects of the chia seeds. According to a study, applying the thermal treatment, due to breaking of the cellular matrix and better bonding of phenol compounds with pectin and cellular network and aggregation in seed shells, increase the total phenol in samples. Soaking reduced the total phenol content in samples. After soaking, due to the water absorption by the seeds, phenolic compounds are transferred from seed to water due to leaching leading to the decreased total phenol content in samples (2).
Some recipe that requires that you cook chia seeds added as an additional ingredient including stir-fried chia, and coating for fried food such as chicken and fish.
Other recipes that require baking could also use chia seeds as part of their ingredient. You can make chia seed bread, chia seed cookies, and chia seed muffins.
South America alone produces approximately 80% of the world’s chia seed supply. The top chia seed producers are Paraguay, Bolivia, and Argentina. Between 2010 and 2014, the number of U.S. consumers who indicated that they have heard of chia as a food item increased from 27% to 37% (1).
What are chia seeds?
Chia seeds originate from Central America and are known and used for their extraordinary nutritional benefits and characteristics. Chia seeds are used as thickeners instead of eggs in many recipes with a mild flavor that conserves the taste profile and nutritional value of food (2).
Chia seeds come as black chia seeds and white chia seeds. While black chia seeds are slightly bigger than white chia seeds, neither of them holds any superiority over the other in terms of taste, characteristics, and health benefits.
What are the health benefits of chia seeds?
Chia seeds have health properties that contribute to their desirability in not only the culinary world but as supplementary food.
Chia seeds have a rich amount of fiber. Fiber aids in weight loss, gut problems, and heart diseases. Moreover, fiber aids in bowel movements and ward off conditions like diverticulosis (5).
Scientific studies correlate the consumption of fiber with a decrease in triglycerides, insulin resistance, and weight gain.
They also come with alpha-linolenic acid or omega-3 fatty acids that benefit the mental health, and the circulatory system. The plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acid is also desirable as it fights many ailments including weak bones and joints, asthma, cancer, and heart diseases (3,4).
Chia seeds are also a good source of potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and phosphorous. Chia also possesses zinc, vitamin B1, and B3 in moderate quantities (3). Hence chia seeds are a great supplement for you if you want healthy bones and joints.
Chia seeds have antioxidants. Antioxidants are chemicals that combat free radicals in the body. As cells metabolize, they release free radicals that damage tissues and are responsible for causing cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other inflammatory diseases (4).
Inflammatory diseases are linked to heart diseases and cancer. Hence, chia as a supplementary source in your diet can help to combat certain potential health problems.
Chia seeds also carry generous amounts of proteins, hence making them an excellent plant-based source. 14 percent of chia seeds are proteins that are quite necessary for the repair and production of new cells.
The risk associated with consuming chia seeds is unsuficient mineral absorption (6) that they can cause choking if it is not consumed with adequate fluid. They are dry, hence capable of absorbing 1227 times the volume of water (3).
What are some good ways to cook chia seeds?
- Boil chia seeds
- You can boil chia seeds to make it into pudding. To make chia pudding, take 3 cups of water, and put it in a pan. Take ¼ cup of chia seeds and add them to the pan of water. Bring the pan to a stove and stir while it heats. Let it simmer as it takes on a thick consistency. Take it off of the heat until you are satisfied with the texture.
- If you plan to boil the chia seeds, then another way is to make a hot cereal. To make a cereal, take bring 3 cups of milk to boil. Add ¼ cup of chia seeds, ½ teaspoon of butter, and ½ teaspoon of salt.
Let the mixture boil for 12 minutes while stirring every few minutes. Add some nuts, honey, or sugar and serve while it is still hot.
- Chia seed pancakes
- You need all-purpose flour, chia seeds, flaxseed, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.
- Prepare the pancake batter by adding eggs and buttermilk first and then the dry ingredients mentioned above.
- Stir to make the batter even.
- Take a skillet and add some oil to it. Add the pancake batter in batches and cook until they become golden-brown for about 2-3 minutes.
Serve the pancakes as breakfast drizzled with maple syrup alongside fried bacon.
In this brief guide, we answered the question, can you cook chia seeds? We discussed some ways to cook and prepare chia seeds. We also elaborated on the nutritional value that chia seeds have.
Other FAQs about Chia seeds that you may be interested in.
- Peña-Lévano, Luis, Colton Adams, and Shaheer Burney. Latin America’s Superfood Economy: Producing and Marketing Açaí, Chia Seeds, and Maca Root. Choices, 2021, 35.
- Noshad, M., B. Alizadeh Behbahani, and P. Ghasemi. Mineral composition, bioactive compounds and antioxidant activity of Salvia hispanica L as affected by thermal and non-thermal treatments. Irfan Food Sci Technol Res journal, 2020, 16, 15-23.
- Ashura, Katunzi-Kilewela, et al. Nutritional, health benefits and usage of chia seeds (Salvia hispanica): A review. Afr J Food Sci, 2021, 15, 48-59.
- Kapoor, Bharat, et al. Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs): Uses and potential health benefits. Curr Nutr Rep, 2021, 10, 232-242.
- Ullah, Rahman, et al. Nutritional and therapeutic perspectives of Chia (Salvia hispanica L.): a review. J food sci technol, 2016, 53, 1750-1758.
- Spiller, Gene A., and Ruth McPherson Kay. Medical Aspects of Dietary Fiber. 1980. Springer.