There are many foods out there claiming to be ‘super’, yet not all of them have the goods required to back up such claims. Chia seeds, on the other hand, really are as beneficial, diverse and delicious as people praise them for being.
The chia seed is most commonly harvested from the ‘salvia hispanica’ plant, which originates from Mexico and has been used by the Aztecs and Mayans for thousands of years. Today, being widely claimed as being one of the world’s ‘superfoods’, chia seeds are not only a versatile food source, they are also known and used for their numerous medicinal properties.
Here are just some of the amazing health benefits that have been linked to eating chia seeds:
Nutritional Powerhouses – These seeds are a perfect example of how size really doesn’t matter. Each of these tiny seeds contains a wide range of nutrients that will fuel your body and brain for hours. They are packed full of:
-B1, B2 and B3
Perfect Pre-workout – Carb-loading has long been used as a way to fuel the body before attempting strenuous exercise or embarking upon a lengthy endurance performance. Most pre-workouts are high in sugar or simply rely on processed ingredients to provide the quick release + slow release energy required. Chia seeds, on the other hand, are a completely natural whole grain source that is high in carbohydrates (most of which are fibre) as well as protein and good fats. This makes a chia pudding, or chia boosted smoothie an excellent pre-workout source. History even indicates that they were used by the ancient Aztecs and Mayans for exactly this purpose!
A Complete Protein Source – Protein is essential in your diet, as it not only makes up a large portion of your body’s cells, therefore, is needed to help rebuild and repair them, it is also a healthy and viable energy source. When we talk about needing protein, it is actually the amino acids that protein contains that we are referring to. The ‘9 essential amino acids’ to be exact. These are the 9 amino acids (out of the 20) that the body cannot synthesize itself, so they need to be gained through your diet. Making sure you get all 9 amino acids on a daily basis is essential, and not many plant based foods can boast that they contain them all. Chia seeds, however, contain all the 9 essential amino acids you need in your day.
Great For Digestion – The majority of the carbohydrates found in chia seeds come from fibre, both soluble and insoluble fibre, helping stabilize blood sugar levels and making chia an excellent food choice to help aid in digestion.
Supports Weight Loss & Boost Metabolism – Packed full of fibre, chia seeds not only leave you feeling satiated after only a small portion, they also help sustain this feeling of being full for much longer. They have a very low ranking of 1 on the Glycemic Index, which means they provide a slow release of energy long after you ingest them.
Support Healthy Bones – Chia seeds are high in calcium, which as most people know is an essential nutrient for supporting healthy bones. However, chia seeds offer your skeletal system more than just calcium. They also contain boron, a trace mineral which aids in the quick absorption of calcium into the body. Couple this with the magnesium, phosphorus and protein, that chia seeds also provide, there is no disputing that this versatile and delicious seed has what you need to strengthen and support healthy bones.
How Do You Eat Them?
Even though chia seeds can be added to basically any meal as they are, for some extra crunch and nutty flavour, a large portion of their nutritional benefit is not assimilated this way. For this reason, it is best to either soak or grind your chia seeds before consumption. When soaking, like with flaxseeds, they absorb the liquid you are soaking them in (retaining any flavour the liquid might have, such as juices or coconut milk) and transform into a gel-like substance, making them ideal for smoothies and puddings.
Chia Pudding With Raspberries & Roasted Almond
Chia pudding must be one of the world’s simplest, yet deliciously satisfying meals to make. It is so simple you could even wrangle a small child to help you make it, if you have one handy! Once you have a feel for the basic steps of making your pudding, you can spice it up with literally anything that takes your fancy!
So using this nutritious base, you can have yourself a different breakfast, or snack, each day!
This particular recipe combines a simple Paleo friendly chia pudding with roasted almonds, fresh raspberries and a sprinkling of coconut. The result will have your taste buds singing, but you don’t have to take my word for it, try it for yourself!
-1 cup unsweetened almond milk
-½ cup fresh raspberries
-¼ cup chia seeds
-¼ cup coconut milk
-½ cup almond flakes, roasted lightly
-1 Tbsp. Coconut flakes
-2 Tsp. Raw honey
-1 Tsp. Pure vanilla extract
-¼ Tsp. Himalayan rock salt
-¼ Tsp. Cinnamon powder
I. In a small mixing bowl, combine the almond milk, coconut milk, honey, vanilla extract, salt and cinnamon. Whisk gently until well combined.
II. Add the chia seeds and stir in well, before covering and placing in your refrigerator for 2+ hours to allow it to set.
III. When you are ready to eat your pudding, remove from refrigerator, dish out into serving bowls/cups and sprinkle over with coconut, almond flakes and fresh raspberries.