Looking for that next functional ingredient to give your label a nutritional punch? Chia flour could be it. A long time health food celebrity, chia seeds are rich in protein, fiber, and antioxidants. When ground into a meal or flour, they can do a number of things for baked goods:
- Flour substitution: partial or total substitution of wheat flour with acceptable results.
- Flavor: imparts a nutty mild flavor
- Thickening agent: hydrated mucilage generates a gum with powerful thickening properties similar to guar gum
- Water absorption: absorbs moisture reducing water activity, and thus aiding in staling.
- Egg replacement for vegan products
- Oil replacement
Commercially, it is available as:
- Protein concentrate
What about the nutritional impact of chia flour?
Chia flour has a high nutritional value due to its high content of:
- Protein: 31%
- Crude Fiber: 29%
- Omega 3 fatty acid: 8-10%
However, some chia concentrate products can have over 50% fiber (soluble and insoluble) and 25% protein, depending on the manufacturing process. These attributes make this flour a valuable ingredient for reducing Glycemic Index, improving gut and immune health. Also, it can help lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases.