I know what you’re thinking. Chia seeds? Those weird toys that grow sprouts that look like fur or hair? Yep, that’s them. These little buggers are packed omega’s and fiber! And get this, they’re delicious.
Recently, chia has been brought back to our awareness full scale as nutritionists and scientists recognized the lack of certain nutrients in American diets and turned to history to discover natural solutions. Chia seeds were first introduced to human diets around 3500 BC when Aztecs and Mayans began consuming them regularly, grinding them into flour, pressing them for oil or drinking them mixed with water. They were considered magical for their ability to increase stamina and energy over time.
These amazing little seeds can be consumed whole or ground into a powder and make a perfect nutritious add-on to all types of dishes, making them a fabulous ingredient choice for any adventurous home chef. Chia seeds can absorb 10 times their weight in water, making a tapioca-like gel that can thicken sauces or jams, and even help you feel full longer.
It was only about 2 years ago I ate chia seeds for the first time. My mom had bought them at the natural foods market she works at. The first recipe I experimented with was a chocolate & almond chia pudding. It was pretty good and I definitely noticed how full I got from eating it. I started taking it in my lunches to work at the hotel, a few of the chef’s were interested in it, but most just made fun of me. It’s funny how a culture of unhealthiness can leave you unaware to so many culinary wonders.
I see now, because so many blogs and foodies pages have come up with interesting recipes that these seeds are becoming more and more mainstreamed. You can always find chia seeds at natural foods and health stores, but places like Trader Joe’s and Walmart now carry them.
10 Reasons to add chia seeds to your diet:
Chia is being studied as a potential natural treatment for type-2 diabetes because of its ability to slow down digestion. The gelatinous coating chia seeds develops when exposed to liquids-can also prevent blood sugar spikes.
Get More Fiber
Just a 28-gram or one-ounce serving of chia has 11 grams of dietary fiber — about a third of the recommended daily intake for adults. Adding some chia to your diet is an easy way to make sure you’re getting a good amount of fiber, which is important for digestive health.
Stock Up On Omega-3
Chia seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, with nearly five grams in a one-ounce serving. These fats are important for brain health. “There’s better conversion of omega 3s into the plasma or into the food than with flax seed,” said researcher Wayne Coates.
Stronger Teeth And Bones
A serving of chia seeds has 18 per cent of the recommended daily intake for calcium, which puts your well on your way to maintaining bone and oral health, and preventing osteoporosis.
Don’t Forget Manganese
Manganese isn’t a well-known nutrient, but it’s important for our health: it’s good for your bones and helps your body use other essential nutrients like biotin and thiamin. One serving of chia seeds, or 28 grams, has 30 per cent of your recommended intake of this mineral.
Plenty Of Phosphorus
With 27 per cent of your daily value for phosphorus, chia seeds also helps you maintain healthy bones and teeth. Phosphorus is also used by the body to synthesize protein for cell and tissue growth and repair.
Pack In The Protein
Chia seeds also make a great source of protein for vegetarians and don’t have any cholesterol. One 28-gram serving of these super seeds has 4.4 grams of protein, nearly 10 per cent of the daily value.
Fight Belly Fat
Chia’s stabilizing effect on blood sugar also fights insulin resistance which can be tied to an increase in belly fat, according to Live Strong. This type of resistance can also be harmful for your overall health.
Get Full. Faster
Tryptophan, an amino acid found in turkey, is also found in chia seeds. While tryptophan is responsible for that strong urge to nap after a big Thanksgiving dinner for example, it also helps regulate appetite, sleep and improve mood.
Improve Heart Health
According to the Cleveland Clinic, chia seeds have been shown to improve blood pressure in diabetics, and may also increase healthy cholesterol while lowering total, LDL, and triglyceride cholesterol. All good news for your ticker!
Banana Cream Pie Chia Pudding
- 3 ripe bananas (2 for the recipe, and one for garnish)
- 1/2 cup coconut milk (I use the less fatty part that is removed while making the whipped coconut cream)
- 4 Tablespoons chia seeds
- Dash of vanilla extract, optional
- 1 Teaspoon cinnamon
- In a blender, combine 2 bananas and coconut milk. Process until smooth.
- Throw in the chia seeds and pulse a few times to mix evenly.
- Pour into a container and chill for an hour to let the chia seeds plump up a bit.
- Slice remaining bananas for garnish.
- Whip up the coconut cream for garnish (recipe here)
This recipe was inspired by StupidEasyPaleo