Chia seeds- have you heard of them? Maybe you’ve heard of them but don’t know much about them. Well, fear no more. I’m here to tell you all about them!
For starters, chia seeds are, well, a seed! They are very small. However, they have a very unique characteristic about them. When they are submerged in water or any other liquid, they absorb it. As they absorb it they form a gel membrane around the seed. It gives it a very unique texture that makes them fun to eat. For the most part, chia seeds have no flavor so they taste like what ever you add to them. Chia seeds are also on the list of super foods. They offer so many healthy benefits it makes it hard not to add them to your diet. Not only are they good for you, but they’re easy to use.
Chia seeds are native to Mexico and have been a staple in Mayan and Aztec diets for centuries. Today, they draw the interest of many people for their health benefits and uses in cooking. It turns out the Mexican seed is a rich source of nutrients and antioxidants.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Chia seeds are full of polyunsaturated fats, primarily omega-3 fatty acids. In their lipid profile it shows that Chia seeds are 60% omega-3s which makes them of one the richest plant-based sources. Omega-3 fatty acids are really important for our bodies to function. Our bodies use them to regulate blood clotting and for building cell membranes in the brain. Our bodies cannot produce Omega-3’s so we must get them from our food.
Fiber is associated with reducing inflammation, lowering cholesterol and regulating bowel function. Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, with a whopping 10 grams in only 2 tablespoons. That is one-third of the daily recommended intake of fiber per day.
Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants that help protect the body from free radicals, aging and cancer. The high antioxidant profile also helps them have a long shelf life. They last almost two years without refrigeration.
Chia seeds provide calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, zinc, and even boron (which helps the absorbing of calcium by the body).
Satiety is the feeling of being full and satisfied, which helps lower food cravings between meals. The combination of protein, fiber and the gelling action of chia seeds when mixed with liquids all contribute to their fill-you-up effects.
- Can be digested whole
Unlike flaxseeds, which are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and minerals, chia seeds do not need to be ground in order to obtain their nutrients. It sure would be hard to chew those slippery seeds!
Chia seeds as a dietary fat source can lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels while increasing HDL or “good” cholesterol.
- Regulates blood sugar
Chia seeds can play an important role in regulating insulin levels. They can reduce insulin resistance and decrease abnormally high levels of insulin in the blood.
So how do you eat Chia seeds? Well you can in many ways! Below I have really good pudding recipe for you all to try. It’s quick, easy and yummy!
Simple Chia Seed Pudding
- 1/3 cup of chia seeds
- 1 1/2 cups of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 2 tbsp of agave nectar OR all natural maple syrup. (I go with agave syrup. It isn’t as thick and easy to mix.)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Combine all the ingredients in a container that you can seal or a tupperware container. Cover the container with a lid and give it a vigorous shake until all ingredients are throughly combined. Be sure none of the Chia seeds are stuck in clumps around the bottom edges of the container. If they are, get a spoon to scoop them out and mix them back in. Then shake a little longer. Then, place the sealed container in your fridge and let chill for about an hour. Once the hour has passed take it out and shake it up again. Let it chill for at least 4 hours or overnight for best results. The Chia sees will expand and turn into a pudding consistency of applesauce (it won’t get really thick). Serve cold with dark chocolate shavings, sliced fruit, nuts or anything else that suits your fancy!