What Happens to Chia Seeds Soaked in Water?
Chia Seeds are an amazing, highly nutritious little seed. But of the most interesting characteristics of chia is what happens to chia seeds soaked in water (or any liquid). Have you tried it? If you combine chia seeds with liquid, minutes later it has expanded and become very gelatinous in its texture. It’s not even remotely what you started with!
This happens because chia seed has a high amount of mucilage, a type of soluble fiber. (Feel free to make that your fancy word of the day ; ). Mucilage appears in many plants and serves multiple functions:
- Helping plant wounds heal as a gel-like substance covering any wounds on the plant so bacteria and pathogens can’t enter. This mucilage keeps water out.
- Aiding in dispersing seeds to the ground through mucilage in the roots.
- Allowing germination to occur. When this type of mucilage comes into contact with water, it swells up and absorbs the water so it can surrounds the seed with moisture while it germinates. This is the mucilage that creates the rapid change you see to chia seeds soaked in water. This mucilage keeps water in.
The mucilage swells up absorbing anywhere from 9 to 27 times its weight in water and gets very gelatinous. So gelatinous, in fact, that you can use it an a egg replacement in egg-free cooking and baking!
It is important to soak your chia seeds and activate the mucilage because it creates positive changes in the nutritional and physical properties of the chia seeds that make them even more beneficial for your health.
Here are some important changes that happen to chia seeds soaked in water.
1. SOAKING REMOVES NEGATIVE PROPERTIES
Soaking chia seeds in water (or any liquid) adds positive qualities and it takes away negative ones! Mucilage stores nutrients and when submerged in water a transformation occurs where its compounds such as proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids are rearranged. Serving as the new building blocks for the germinating plant, this also serves as the catalyst for anti-nutrients like phytic acid to be decreased in your body.
Phytic acid is a natural substance found in plant seeds and nuts that helps young plants grow (a good things in nature) but it actually impairs the absorption of iron, zinc and calcium, and other nutrients in your body. This may promote mineral deficiencies (1).
Soaking chia seeds releases additional “enzyme inhibitors” that nature has in place to protect the seed from sprouting prematurely. Without soaking when you eat them, the enzyme inhibitors also will bind to nutrients we need, potentially create nutritional deficiencies, and irritate your digestive system.
You eliminate these problems by simply soaking the chia seeds before eating!
RELATED READING: Why You Should Soak Nuts and Seeds?
2. SOAKING HELPS CHIA ‘CLEAN’ YOUR BODY
Chia’s mucilage can absorb between 9-27 times its weight in water. This not only has digestive and cardiovascular health properties as a soluble fiber, but its form as a sticky substance allows it to help your body with heavy metal removal and “vacuums” your digestive tract as it moves through. Soaked chia seed in a great “gut-cleanser.”
3. SOAKING CREATES ACE INHIBITORS
Another really cool aspect of soaking chia seeds in water is how an enzyme with ACE inhibitory properties can be obtained. ACE inhibitors are used synthetically as pharmaceuticals to treat cardiovascular and high blood pressure, however the side effects can be just as damaging in the long run as the disease that the ACE inhibitors are attempting to treat. Natural ACE inhibitors are the way to go, and guess what? During soaking, a certain peptide from chia is activated to form a natural ACE inhibitor.
Chia is one of those amazing, nutrient-packed, antioxidant-rich foods that can be eaten on a daily basis. And you get the additional benefits discussed above just by soaking them in water! The changes that occur to chia seeds soaked in water create a mucilage-rich food worthy of a SuperLife!
It’s really easy! Promise! Here are my simple steps how to soak chia seeds overnight.
RELATED READING: How to Soak Chia Seeds Overnight
Do you remember the first time you soaked chia seeds? What did you think? Let me know if the comments below!
Chia seeds are also a foundational superfood in my “10-Day SuperLife Superfood Program.” Learn my favorite easy recipes and simple ways to eat them every day. Plus learn about my other foundational superfoods to eat daily!
Ready to try chia seeds or eat them more often? Check out these favorite recipes from the SuperLife kitchen!