Health, Fitness and Wellness

Health in your Kitchen – Chia Seeds (Sabja)

Mango smoothie with Chia seeds

Chia seeds

Most Indians have grown up eating Chia seeds or sabja as it is called in India in falooda, an Indian dessert with ice cream and vermicelli noodles. However, it is only recently that people have woken up to Chia seeds benefits, especially using Chia seeds for weight loss.

What are Chia seeds?

Chia seeds or basil seeds in a jar

Chia seeds

These seeds are also called Basil seeds. And sabja in Hindi and takmariya in Gujarati languages. These are tiny black-gray seeds which when soaked in water, fluff up and feel deliciously sticky.

What are Chia seeds benefits?

  • Provide a good amount of fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and micronutrients.
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Controls blood sugar
  • Controls blood cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Works as a cooling agent by retaining the water content in the body and keeps the body hydrated. It is ideal for summer to beat the heat and prevent dehydration.

How to use Chia seeds?

One of the simplest ways is to soak Chia seeds in water for 15-30 minutes. Then add them in juices, lemonade, coconut water, smoothies, overnight oats, etc. I add soaked seeds in my vegetable juice. Remember, consuming dry seeds can pose a choking risk.

Chia seeds and apple cider vinegar are believed to aid in weight loss. I am not propagating any theory. You can add 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (please take a good quality acv with mother) in warm water and add soaked basil seeds. The trick is to consume it slowly.

Where to buy Chia seeds?

Like with any herb, seeds or spices, always trust an Ayurvedic store. I once bought sabja from an Ayurvedic store and then bought it from a general store. I could see a marked difference in the quality and price between the two.

What are Chia seeds side effects?

  • Basil seeds are a good source of fiber, however, excessive fiber intake can cause health problems like abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, bloating and gas. So remember to hydrate yourself adequately when having foods rich in fiber.
  • People suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases or IBS may see a flare-up of their condition if taken these seeds in excess.
  • If you are allergic to these seeds, you might see symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, itching of the lips or tongue.
  • If you are taking blood thinners, ask your doctor before taking these seeds as they can cause bleeding.
  • Pregnant or lactating mothers should also consult with their doctor before consuming basil seeds.

This is my personal observation – If you are suffering from common cold or cough, abstain from consuming basil seeds as its property is to cool your body. Enjoy basil seeds, but in moderation.

Mango smoothie with Chia seeds

Chia seeds benefits

Overnight oats with Chia seeds and kiwi, black currants

Chia seeds for weight loss

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