Have you heard about the amazing chia seed? Not to be confused with the little plant that you buy at Wal-Mart and watch grow. I am talking about the tiny, nutritionally packed, ancient SUPERFOOD that you can add to just about everything. Once a staple of the Incan, Mayan and Aztec cultures, it is now a popular addition to any healthy diet, mine included!
While the list is long, here are my top five reasons why I am obsessed with these little poppy-seed looking, mega-energy seeds:
1) They are VERSATILE – Or what I like to call, magical! Because chia seeds have no taste, they take on the flavor of whatever you add them too. And they have an incredible capacity to absorb liquid, magnifying the taste by forming a unique gelling action. More flavor + more nutrition = win-win!
2) They are high in ANTIOXIDANTS – Because chia seeds are extremely high in antioxidants (triple that of blueberries), they stay fresh for a super long time…like years! And that is without any preservatives, chemicals or loss of flavor and nutritional value. Unlike other seeds like flax or sesame, they will not turn rancid quickly.
3) They are an amazing WEIGHT LOSS AID – Chia seeds have the ability to reduce overeating and food cravings because they actually prevent some food from being absorbed. Remember…magic! Plus, due to their gelling action, they make you feel full faster – which means less eating and fewer calories!
4) They are extremely NUTRITIOUS – The chia seed is an excellent source of fiber (7 grams for 1 tablespoon), loaded with vitamins and minerals like calcium (5 times that of milk), potassium (twice the amount in a banana), and iron (more than spinach…watch out Popeye!). Plus, it is the richest known plant source of omega-3 fatty acids and is one of the highest plant sources of protein. Hard to beat that!
5) They aid in DIGESTION – When chia seeds congeal, they act as an intestinal broom sweeping all the crap (literally) out of your body, helping to remove old accumulated waste. And chia seeds balance blood sugar by slowing your digestive system’s conversion of starches to sugar, which means more energy and nutrients absorbed from food.
As if THAT isn’t reason enough, chia seeds are gluten free, provide sustained energy, prolonged hydration and extra endurance. They lower cholesterol, ease acid reflux and are great for people suffering from IBS, diabetes, thyroid conditions and celiac disease.
Not sure how to use them? Mix them into yogurt, add to soup to thicken, blend into smoothies, sprinkle onto stir-fry’s, grind them into baking mixes, soak to make pudding, or just eat them whole and raw as a quick and easy snack!
Here’s one of my favorite recipes for chia seed pudding!
- 1-cup lite coconut milk/almond milk/hemp milk – your choice!
- 3/4 cup fresh ripe diced blueberries or any other fruit you like
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp sweetened shredded coconut
- 4-6 drops liquid stevia (or agave/honey to taste)
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a large glass container. Mix well and close container tightly. Refrigerate overnight or at least 5-6 hours. Serve and enjoy!