Chia - the seed of life?
OK so chia seeds might not be the seeds of life (who knows though, right?!) but did you know that they are a super food and pack a nutrient dense punch?
Chia seeds are tiny black seeds from the plant Salvia hispanica, which is part of the mint family, and they were an important food for Aztecs and Mayans back in the day. Today they have been taking off as a super food used in so many ways and in so many delicious dishes.
The best way to consume chia seeds is by soaking them in water since they are hydrophilic (meaning they love love looove water) and they can absorb more than ten times their weight in liquid.
Here are some of chia seeds’ best features, and how they work to improve your health:
Where do you get your protein from?
Chia seeds are a great plant source of protein, containing all eight essential amino acids - making them much higher in protein than many other plants. In fact, just two tablespoons contain ten times the Omega-3s of an equal serving of walnuts (the highest level of Omega-3s of any known plant), and more iron than a cup of spinach, among many other nutrients. They are also a great source of beneficial fats and fibre, and have about as many antioxidants per serving as blueberries. Don't mind if I do!
A naturally low-carb and high-fibre food, chia seeds provide at least half the recommended daily amount of fibre with just one serving (two tablespoons). This fibre works as a prebiotic in the digestive system, so while it isn’t digested and used directly, it feeds the beneficial bacteria in your body and may help improve your digestive health. Better yet, chia seeds don't raise blood sugar or affect insulin levels like other forms of carbohydrates do. Win-win!
Hydration to the max
You might have trouble drinking enough water throughout the day (recommended at least 2 litres), but don't fret, chia seeds to the rescue! As mentioned earlier, chia seeds can absorb over ten times their weight in liquid and can therefore be considered the ultimate hydration food. Thanks to their soluble fibre content and water-absorbent shell, you can count on chia seeds to be filling and satisfying - all while keeping you nicely hydrated.
Chia pudding recipe
So now that you're sold on chia seeds, why not try a delicious chia pudding recipe (pictured above)?
For the chia pudding base (1 serving):
0.5 cups of plant milk (e.g. soy, almond, oat)
2 tbsp. chia seeds
1-2 tbsp. sweetener of choice (e.g. coconut sugar, agave syrup, maple syrup, but can be omitted)
Shake, shake, shake and shake it some more. Best to leave in fridge overnight
Berries and/or any fruit of choice, such as blueberries and kiwi slices
Dollop of homemade coconut cream (can of coconut milk refrigerated overnight, then solids whipped the next day, with the option of adding a few drops of vanilla extract and a teaspoon or two of icing sugar)