Juicing has become an increasingly popular way to get more nutrients into your diet. With a juicer, you can extract the nutritious juices from fruits and vegetables, leaving behind the fiber. Some people add supplements like chia seeds to their juices for an extra nutritional boost. But can chia seeds actually be juiced? Let’s take a closer look.
What Are Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds are tiny black seeds that come from the chia plant, native to parts of Mexico and Guatemala. Despite their small size, chia seeds are packed with nutrition:
- High in fiber
- Rich in antioxidants
- Contain omega-3 fatty acids
- Packed with protein
- Full of important minerals like calcium, manganese, and phosphorus
Thanks to their impressive nutrient profile, chia seeds have become a popular “superfood” in recent years. People add them to everything from oatmeal to smoothies for an extra health kick.
Benefits of Adding Chia Seeds to Juice
Given the powerful nutrients found in chia seeds, it’s understandable why someone would want to add them to their homemade juices. Potential benefits include:
- More protein: Chia seeds are a plant-based source of protein, providing 4-5 grams per 1 ounce serving. Adding chia to juice can help increase the protein content.
- Omega-3s: Chia seeds contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fat that has anti-inflammatory properties and other health benefits.
- Dietary fiber: At 10-12 grams of fiber per ounce, chia seeds are one of the best sources of fiber around. Fiber helps regulate digestion.
- Minerals: Chia seeds contain calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus – all important dietary minerals.
- Antioxidants: The antioxidants in chia seeds can help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body.
Boosting the nutritional value of juice with chia seeds can lead to better health. The fiber, protein, healthy fats, minerals and antioxidants in chia can complement the vitamins and enzymes found in fresh juices.
Challenges of Juicing Chia Seeds
While chia seeds can add nutritional value to juice, there are some challenges when it comes to actually juicing the tiny seeds:
- Chia seeds absorb a lot of liquid, forming a gelatinous texture when hydrated. This could thicken the juice consistency in an unpleasant way.
- The hard, dry shells of chia seeds make them difficult to fully break down and extract juice from.
- Chia seeds contain insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and would likely stay intact when juiced rather than releasing nutrients.
- Whole chia seeds could potentially clog up a juicer, preventing the appliance from functioning properly.
So while chia seeds are very healthy, their properties don’t make them ideal candidates for juicing. You’re better off getting the nutrients from the fruits and vegetables themselves rather than relying on intact chia seeds to release nutrients into the juice.
Best Way to Add Chia Seeds to Juice
Given the challenges of actually juicing chia seeds, the best method is to add them to your juice after it has finished being extracted. Here are some tips:
- Make your juice first using your favorite fruit/veggie combinations.
- After turning off the juicer, stir in chia seeds to your desired amount, usually 1-2 teaspoons per serving.
- Let the juice sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the chia seeds to absorb some of the liquid and soften up.
- Shake or stir the juice periodically as you drink to distribute the chia seeds throughout.
This method prevents issues with juicer clogging while still allowing you to get the great nutritional benefit of adding chia seeds. The seeds will absorb some of the juicy goodness and plump up in the liquid.
Recipes With Chia Seeds Mixed In
Here are a few tasty juice recipes that incorporate nutrient-packed chia seeds:
Chia Green Juice
- 1 cucumber
- 5 stalks celery
- 1 apple
- 1⁄2 lemon
- 1 inch ginger
- Handful of spinach
- 2 tsp chia seeds
Chia Berry Juice
- 1 cup strawberries
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 cup raspberries
- 1 orange, peeled
- 2 tsp chia seeds
Chia Pineapple Coconut Juice
- 2 cups pineapple chunks
- 1 cup coconut water
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp chia seeds
Feel free to get creative and add chia seeds to any combination of juices that sounds good to you!
Do Chia Seeds Change Juice Nutrition?
We know that chia seeds are highly nutritious on their own. But do they actually increase the nutritional value when added to juice? Let’s analyze how the nutrition changes with the addition of 1 tablespoon (10 grams) of chia seeds to a 8 oz glass of juice:
|Nutrient||Juice Alone||Juice with Chia Seeds|
|Protein||1 gram||3 grams|
|Fat||0 grams||5 grams|
|Fiber||1 gram||7 grams|
|Calcium||4% DV||18% DV|
|Iron||2% DV||7% DV|
As you can see, adding just a small amount of chia seeds significantly increases the fiber, protein, calcium, iron, and overall nutrition of your juice. The extra calories and fat come mostly from the healthy unsaturated fats in the chia seeds.
The Bottom Line
So can you put chia seeds in a juicer? Technically yes, but chia seeds are better off added to juice after extraction rather than juiced directly. While chia seeds are highly nutritious and make a great addition to juices, their properties make them difficult to juice properly. The best method is making your juice first, then stirring in chia seeds after to retain the appliance functionality and maximize nutrition.
With the extra protein, fiber, omega-3s, antioxidants, and minerals they provide, chia seeds are a healthy supplement to any glass of fresh juice. Just be sure to add them in after juicing to get the full benefits.