Yes, you can eat the chia plants. The seeds from the chia plant have become very popular. They also have many uses which cut across medicinal and nutritional purposes. But chia plants are worth more than their seeds?
If you have been seeing chia plants but know nothing about them, you’re about to explore one amazing plant. Continue reading to see what parts of the chia plant is edible and how to use them.
What is a chia plant?
Chia plant (Salvia hispanica) is an annual plant that belongs to the mint family. It is a flowering plant that grows from tiny chia seeds. The tiny seeds sprout easily at the slightest contact with water.
In contrast to the size of the seeds, chia grows into big plants. Most of the plants are around 3 feet, while some may grow up to 6 feet under some conditions, like high planting density.
Furthermore, planting and tending chia plants is very easy. After scattering the seeds over prepared beds, you just need to water them lightly until the plant grows. If you can’t create a garden to plant chia, you can get it from any farmers’ market.
In addition, the chia plants are very nutritious. You can use the various parts like the seeds and leaves to make different delicious meals.
Can you eat chia plants?
Yes, you can eat chia plants. The seeds, sprouts, and leaves of the plant are all edible. All the parts can be used to cook, bake, and can be eaten in their raw forms.
Chia plants are recommended for people who are trying to lower their cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
What do chia plants taste like?
The seeds, sprouts, and leaves of the chia plants have a very mild flavor. The seeds taste crunchy and dense, but you can soften the seeds if you soak them before adding them to your meals.
The sprouts have a tangy taste, which makes them distinct from the other parts of the chia plants.
What are chia plants good for?
1. Chia seeds are a rich source of fiber
100g of chia seeds contain about 34g of dietary fiber. This amount is sufficient to help improve digestion, reduce constipation, and aid weight loss.
2. The many nutrients
Chia is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, amino acids, iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. All these nutrients are necessary for health and vitality.
3. May aid weight loss
The fiber and protein content of chia can help your weight loss journey. When you eat meals that contain these plants, it suppresses your appetite and leaves you feeling full for a long period. As a result, your food intake reduces, and you can successfully regulate weight gain.
4. Antioxidants supply
Chia plants supply the body with a good dose of antioxidants that can help neutralize the effects of free radicals. Free radicals make one age faster and can trigger cancerous growth. Therefore, a diet that includes chia can help you maintain youthfulness.
5. Reduced risk factors
When you eat enough chia plants, it’ll help to reduce the risk factors of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. It lowers blood sugar, cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure.
6. Eating chia plants can boost energy
Chia is a good energy booster. You can enjoy the seeds in a smoothie or as an energy drink to fuel your body after a workout session. Moreover, it supplies the body with the necessary protein it needs to repair tissues after a workout.
7. Bone health
Minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium in chia help maintain bone density. When you eat enough chia seeds, you give your bones and teeth enough nutrients to keep them strong and healthy.
8. A very healthy option
Chia seeds are a healthy gluten-free option. When you process the seeds into flour, it is a better option than wheat flour when baking for people with gluten sensitivity. In addition, while many gluten-free foods are low in fiber, chia is not.
What can you do with chia plants?
1. The leaves
The mild flavor of chia leaves makes them a good substitute for spinach in salad, stir-fries, and green smoothies. Additionally, the dried leaves can be used to make tea with lemon juice and honey. This tea can help soothe a fever, pain, and sore throat.
2. The sprouts
The tangy taste of the sprouts of the chia plant can help enhance the taste of dips, soups, spreads, and sandwiches. If you have dry or raw chia sprouts, you have just enough ingredients to take your dish up a notch.
A tip: the best way to eat chia sprouts is raw or just before you serve the meal.
3. The seeds
Chia seeds are the most popular parts of the plant and they have more uses than the other parts. If you’re not eating chia seeds, you can process them into chia oil for your hair and skin.
But, if you want to enjoy the seeds in meals, you can use them in any of these ways:
- Soak the seeds in water to make chia egg which can be used as an alternative for egg in any recipe that requires eggs
- Soak chia seeds with soy milk and cinnamon to make chia porridge
- Process chia seeds into flour for gluten-free baking
- Blend chia seeds into smoothies
- Sprinkle the seeds on a salad, cereals, and yogurt for crunch and protein boost
- Add the seeds to rice for a nutty flavor
- Soak chia seeds in fruit juice or water to make chia fresco
- Make healthy desserts like chia seed granolas, muffins, bagels, and shortbreads
Are there side effects of eating chia plants?
The potential side effects of eating chia come to play when you eat too much of it. When you load your body with too much fiber, you may experience diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain, and constipation.
In addition, eating too much chia can excessively lower blood sugar, cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure, which could be deadly.
A less common side effect is an allergic reaction to chia. This is seen among people who are eating it for the first time or those with a medical history of allergy to grass pollen and sesame.
How long does chia seed last?
Dry, unprocessed chia seeds will last years as long as you store them in a pantry, away from sunlight and moisture.
When should you plant chia?
Chia is an annual crop, and planting time falls between October and November. It is then harvested in March, which is about four months after planting.
When should you harvest chia plants?
It’s time to harvest chia plants when most of the petals on the plant have fallen off. Gather the flower heads and dry them to remove the seeds.
Can you eat raw chia seeds?
Yes, you can. If you’re not adding chia seeds to cooled meals, you can sprinkle them over salad, oatmeal, smoothies, and yogurt. You can choose to ground the seeds if you don’t want the crunch of whole seeds.
As mentioned earlier, the chia plants are worth more than their seeds. Wonderfully, you can plant and tend to these plants in your backyard garden. Moreover, it is one of the very nutritious plants you will find.
The parts of chia plants are very useful. Each, by itself, can be used to make different meals. Now that you know the plant is edible, I hope you explore all the possible meal options with it.
Thanks for reading.
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