To gel or not to gel? It’s a question not just of aesthetics, but of health. Here’s what two experts have to say about the controversy.
You’re Missing Out if You Don’t Gel
His reasoning? In the wild, animals and birds forage for seeds and eat them. Seeds have natural protection in the form of inhibitors, allowing them to pass through animals’ bodies unharmed and eventually sprout somewhere. The soaking process releases these “natural inhibitors” and makes the nutrients bio-available to your body.
Does this mean that there’s no point in eating raw chia seeds? No, but there are significant health advantages to soaking your chia, says DiPrizito, including enhanced digestion, healthy elimination of waste, weight loss, and cost-effectiveness – chia expands to 9 times its volume when gelled, so it goes further in cooking.
However, before you get your gelling groove on, you should know that DiPrizito doesn’t have the last word on the question of whether or not to soak chia before consumption. Enter Dr Coates…
Gel Schmel! Eat ‘em How You Like!
Dr Coates, co-author of Chia: Rediscovering a Forgotten Crop of the Aztecs, says soaking chia seeds is unnecessary.
All soaking does, he says, “is bring out the soluble fiber. It doesn’t do anything more magical than that. There is no documented reason to make a gel to use it. I personally just put it on my salad every night and eat it that way.”
Both chia experts. Both published authors. Which one has the answers? I’ll leave it up to you to decide. You can check out their books for yourself and decide whether you’ll play on the gel team or the crunch team.
As for me, I’ll keep sprinkling raw chia on my cereal…but I’ll be adding chia gel to my breakfast polenta. Can’t go wrong that way!
Do you eat your chia raw, or soak the seeds first?