Salvia Hispanica, commonly known as chia, is a species of flowering plant in the mint family, Lamiaceae, native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala. The 16th-century Codex Mendoza provides evidence that it was cultivated by the Aztecs in pre-Columbian times; economic historians have suggested it was as important as maize as a food crop. It is still used in Mexico and Guatemala, sometimes with the seeds ground or with whole seeds used for nutritious drinks and as a food source.
Reasons why to include Chia Seeds on your diet.
Help weight loss. Chia seeds are popular for weight loss. They reduce food cravings by preventing some of the food that you eat from getting absorbed into your system. This blockage of calorie absorption makes them a great diet helper.
Feel fuller faster: They can also help your diet by making you feel full. This is because they absorb 10 times their weight in water, forming a bulky gel.
Hydration for athletes: They are also great for athletes because the “chia gel” can hydrate the body.
Reduce your blood pressure: There’s evidence to suggest they can reduce blood pressure.
Omega-3: They are the richest plant source of Omega-3. In fact, they contain more Omega-3 than salmon!
They are easier to digest than flax seeds, and don’t need to be ground up.
How to drink or eat chia seeds?
Add chia seeds to smoothies. When preparing any single-serving smoothie or shake, add 1 or 2 tbsp (15–30 ml) chia seeds to the blender or food processor with the other ingredients before blending.
Make “chia fresca.” Stir 2 tsp (10 ml) chia seeds into 10 oz (310 ml) of water, the juice of 1 lemon or lime, and a small amount of raw honey or agave syrup, to taste.
Stir chia seeds into juice or tea. Add 1 Tbsp (15 ml) chia seeds to an 8-oz (250-ml) glass of juice, tea, or any other warm or hot drink. Allow the drink to sit for several minutes so that the seeds can absorb some of the liquid, creating a thicker beverage.
Mix the chia seeds into oatmeal, yogurt, or other wet foods. One of the most common ways to eat chia seeds raw is to sprinkle them over or mix them into other dishes. Stir them in any wet food to turn the dry seeds gelatinous and mushy, which will help them blend into the food less obviously.
Sprinkle chia seeds over foods to keep the seeds crunchy. If the food is dry, the seeds will stay crunchy, which some people prefer. Even on wet foods, a sprinkling of seeds at the top may not form a gel if not mixed in.
Hide chia seeds in raw one-dish meals. This is especially helpful if you have picky eaters in your household that may otherwise scoff at the notion of consuming these tiny seeds.
Create flavored chia gelatin or jelly. Add chia seeds to pureed fruit. More chia seeds will create gelatin, while fewer will create a jelly. You may need to experiment with different amounts until you find a ratio best suited to your type of fruit and preferences.
Make chia seed porridge. Stir 1–2 tbsp (15–30 mL) of chia seeds into a cup (240 mL) of warm milk or any milk substitute. Let stand for 10–15 minutes until the mixture forms a gel, whisking occasionally to break up seed clumps, then eat cold or heat again before eating. The mixture alone is quite bland, so you may enjoy eating with sliced fruit, dried fruit, nuts, or honey. Add extra flavor with a pinch of cinnamon or sea salt if desired.
Grind chia seeds into flour. Pulse the seeds in a food processor, blender, or coffee grinder until a fine powder forms. Use it in place of all-purpose flour by substituting it completely or mixing it with other flour.
Mix chia seeds into bread and baked goods. Instead of grinding the chia seeds down into flour, you can add them whole to a variety of flour-based baked goods. Add 3 to 4 Tbsp (45 to 60 ml) chia seeds to your favorite whole-grain bread, muffin, oatmeal cookie, whole-grain cracker, pancake, or cake batters.
Slip chia seeds into casseroles and similar dishes. If you have picky eaters in your household, you can sneak chia seeds into your diet by mixing them into one-dish meals. Add 1/4 cup (60 ml) chia seeds to lasagna or casserole prepared in a standard casserole dish.
Thicken soups and sauces with chia seeds. Add 2 to 4 Tbsp (30 to 60 ml) of chia seeds to any bowl of soup, stew, sauce, or gravy. Let sit for 10 to 30 minutes or until it thickens. Stir occasionally to break up clumps of chia seeds.
These are just a few ways to eat chia seeds!!
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