Why You Should Add Chia Seeds To Your Overnight Oats

Who would've thought that the seeds responsible for Chai Pets would become the stars of the health-food world they are today? To give credit where it's due, Aztec civilizations in Mexico and Guatemala used chia seeds as offerings in religious ceremonies as early as 3500 B.C., per Grand Teton Ancient Grains. But in today's world, they're touted as a superfood, which is generally a marketing term. Even so, nutrition experts have commended these tiny seeds for having benefits that go above and beyond their nutrition labels, via Harvard School of Public Health.

With zero taste, chia seeds are easy to add to almost anything — from yogurt parfaits to granola bars and pancakes to pudding — and boost nutrition to any of your favorite foods. These tiny seeds are some of the best plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids you can get, according to Harvard Health Publishing. In addition to their plant-based delivery of protein, calcium, phosphorus, and zinc, chia seeds provide both insoluble and soluble fiber. These not only slow digestion and prevent blood sugar spikes, per the Harvard School of Public Health, but makes them the perfect addition to your overnight oats.

Texture and nutrition

At 10 grams per ounce, chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, per the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly delivering your recommended daily amount in just two tablespoons. Chia seeds' content, composed chiefly of soluble and mucilage fiber, also causes them to develop a jelly-like texture when added to liquid, via the Harvard School of Public Health. Made from glucose, xylose, and gluconic acid, the shells of chia seeds are naturally hydrophilic and absorb more than 10 times their weight in liquid, according to Healthline.

These unique properties make chia seeds extra valuable for your overnight oats recipes. Sure, they'll slow down your digestion and keep you fuller for longer, but they'll also help you get the texture of your oats just right. After about 15 minutes, the chia seeds will begin their gelation process, which means they'll absorb excess liquid and help thicken your overnight oats mixture, per Harvard Health Publishing. Their jelly-like texture, paired with their mild flavor that takes on whatever tasty additions you add to your mix, makes chia seeds a must-have ingredient in any overnight oats recipe.