You may have heard about the latest Chia seeds craze…and if you’ve been intrigued to find out why others are addicted to these tiny beads, then here is a little insight into the tremendous health benefits of chia and why everyone is jumping onto the chia-bandwagon:
Chia seeds are hydrophillic, meaning then can absorb over 10 times their weight in water. This makes them great for hydration, as they absorb the water we drink and hold it in our bodies.
Eating chia seeds slows down how fast the body converts carbohydrates into simple sugars. This leads scientists to believe chia seeds may have huge benefits to diabetics.
One tablespoon of Chia seeds provides 65 Calories, 7.5 g of carbohydrates, 5 g of fat and 2.5 g of protein. Chia is a gluten-free food that has more protein than rice, oats, wheat and other grains. Chia seeds provide more heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids than any other plant food. They also contain 5 times the calcium of milk, 2 times the potassium of bananas, 3 times the iron of spinach and 3 times the antioxidants of blueberries!
Chia seeds have more omega-3’s than flax! And, unlike flax, chia seeds do not have to be ground to be digested and can be stored for years without going rancid.
19-23% of the seed’s weight is protein. Like quinoa, it contains a complete amino acid chain, giving your body complete protein on par with meat or eggs.
Chia seeds reduce your cravings for sweets and junk foods because its high levels of soluble fiber allow for a measured release of unrefined carbs into the bloodstream. This is the opposite of a sugar rush and crash which creates more cravings.
WOW! And now onto the more ‘good’ stuff – here is a delicious recipe which I have created at home using chia seeds and Almond + Vanilla Rice Milk (purchased at the Organic Foods Supermarket & Choitrams) with dark cacao powder – at around 160Kcal per serving, this healthy treat is an all over winner!
Nutty Dark Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding
2 cups milk of your choice (cow, soy, almond, rice, goat, vanilla…your preference! I used Almond + Vanilla milk from choitrams)
3 tablespoons chia seeds (purchased at the Organics Cafe)
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 or so tablespoons real maple syrup, to taste (or your favorite sweetener, although you may need to adjust proportions)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond or hazelnut extract (optional)
1 tablespoon of low fat Peanut Butter or Almond Butter
Pinch of salt
Dash of cinnamon
Stir all ingredients very well together until cocoa powder is incorporated. (For the peanut butter / almond butter, you can stick it in the microwave for 20 seconds to loosen it up before adding it into the mixture.) Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Remove and stir well. Cover and return to fridge overnight. Next day (in the hope you didn’t lick the bowl clean by now) transfer the mixture to blender and blend until completely smooth. This is great if you do not like the tapoica texture. Alternately, you can just stir the pudding and eat it without blending. Serve and garnish with shaved chocolate or berries!