This ancient Mayan and Aztec staple has recently made its way into our supermarkets and then into our hearts.
The warriors of these cultures would use chia predominantly to increase their energy and endurance.
Sounds likes it’s still pretty relevant in today’s day and age, even if the definition of warrior has changed somewhat (we’re looking at you now Weekend Warriors!).
Let’s look at the many benefits of this nutritious seed and also, how you can make a chia gel.
There are many health benefits that come with using chia, here are some of them for you.
- High in fibre and some heart-healthy fats like omega-3
- Contains a decent serving of calcium, phosphorus and manganese
- Has a little bit of zinc, copper, potassium, iron, magnesium and iodine
- Also has vitamin A, some Bs, D and E
What does that all translate to you ask?
Stabilised blood sugar
Due to chia’s high fibre, high fat and low carb levels, chia seeds make for a great way to help stabilise your blood sugar and keep you satiated between meals.
Chia contains some antioxidant compounds such as Vitamin A, E and zinc which all help to enhance our cell’s protection from damage.
Digestion and gut health
Being full of fibre and antioxidants, this wonder food can make a great addition to your diet if gut health is what you’re searching for!
One of the biggest myths about a plant-based diet is that it’s impossible to get enough calcium in through your meals.
While you probably won’t get your recommended intake of calcium from chia seeds alone, it makes a great addition for people on a dairy-free diet.
How to make chia gel
Now onto the reason why you’re here, learning how to make chia gel.
For those who’ve used chia before, you’ll notice it can swell up quite a lot when in the presence of water.
Chia being able to hold up to 10 times its weight in fact.
This makes it a great way to add nutrition and a thicker texture to your smoothies and other healthy snacks.
Here’s how to make chia gel to use in your smoothies.
- Put a tablespoon of chia seeds in a standard size cup
- Fill the cup now with your preferred smoothie liquid
- Let it sit (soaking the chia seeds) for 3 hours or overnight in your fridge would probably be easier
- Act surprised when you see that the chia seeds have expanded
- Add the gel into your blender when making your smoothies
As you can see, if you want to make the best chia gel you need to leave it for a few hours or leave it overnight for the best results.
It is a lot easier to prepare and leave the chia to gel overnight.
Here are just a couple of other methods on how to use chia in your smoothies.
- Add chia seeds to a liquid base of your choice (almond milk goes great here), stir it in and allow it to sit for at least 10 minutes to start to gel slightly
- Pop some chia seeds into your blender alongside your favourite smoothie cubes and other ingredients, then blend
- Blend your smoothie, pour into another container, add in some chia, then stir and allow it to sit for a while before drinking
How else can you enjoy chia?
Anybody who has used chia before knows it can be a bit messy!
It’s bad enough when it’s straight out of the packet, let alone once it’s gelatinised and stuck to your blender blades (this may help you with the task of cleaning your smoothie blender).
A cleaner and fuss free alternative to chia is to use chia oil.
While chia oil doesn’t have the same thickening properties as chia seed, it does make a great addition to salads.
Despite being able to make chia gel, it will not style your hair.
Or maybe it will, we actually haven’t tried.
Mind you, there was this one time at the Super Cubes Christmas Breakup party, where the smoothie blending got a little out of hand.
Ingredients and chia mohawks everywhere.
Out of control.
Read more like this
Just a word of chia caution
Despite having a plethora of benefits, there is one small caution to be made.
Due to its high fibre content, it’s best to gradually work up your full serve size with this superfood.
While fibre certainly has a whole host of benefits in the body, too much chia too soon can be a bit uncomfortable (aka bloating).
And there should be an honorary mention here for the breaking of land speed records when running to the WC if you get a chia urge out of the blue.
You need to be aware and careful.
Too much effort to get your chia gel fix?
If you still want the benefits of chia seeds and chia gel, but don’t want to have to go through all of the hassle of making the gel, you do have a few choices.
You could try a few ideas from the above from the “How else can you enjoy chia?” section.
Or, alternatively it is as easy as popping a few of the Berry Digest Smoothie cubes into a blender with your favourite liquid base, blend and drink away.