Chia Pudding & the Benefits of Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are one of the most nutritious of all the superfoods; nutrient dense and easy to digest, they deliver not only fibre and protein but also calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, iron, iodine and copper. They also contain good fats – Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids – and vitamins A, B, D and E. Chia seeds are also great energy providers, known as the ‘food of warriors’ back in Aztec times, they can assist with endurance.
Chia seeds are 100% natural, with no additives or preservatives. They are also gluten and cholesterol free.
With key nutrient and antioxidant properties, Chia has many health benefits, including assisting with:
˃ good digestive health – due to its fibre content, as well as the fact that Chia forms a gelatin-like substance in the stomach, which promotes probiotics for healthy gut flora
˃ heart health – by reversing inflammation and lowering blood pressure
˃ skin repair and anti-aging – due to being a rich antioxidant source that helps with free radical damage
˃ diabetes and other metabolic disorders
˃ boosting energy and metabolism
˃ producing lean muscles, burning fat and building strong bones
˃ balancing blood sugar levels
˃ hydration – since Chia seeds can hold up to 10x their weight in water
˃ dental health – due to being a good source of calcium, phosphorus, zinc and vitamin A
˃ breast and cervical cancer – by killing cancer cells, due to being a good source of Omega 3 (namely alpha lineic acid)
Soaking Chia seeds before eating them is recommended because it makes them easier to digest and allows the body to access the dense nutrients.
You can simply soak them in water…. or use rice, almond or coconut milk to make a yummy (non-dairy) pudding! So easy to prepare AND so nutritious, means Chia puddings are the guilt free treat that is merely minutes in the making, then in the fridge overnight. The pud will become the consistency of tapioca (or sago) pudding, and flavour combos are pretty much restricted only by your imagination and preferences.
Chia pudding makes a fabulous start to the day, or a wonderful way to satisfy your dessert craving in the evening.
I find that the right ratio is about ½ cup of Chia seeds to 2 cups of liquid. The most simplistic tried and tested flavour is vanilla, simply by using almond milk and adding about ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of either raw honey or maple syrup. Mix it up and leave in the fridge overnight. In the morning simply add some raspberries or blueberries on top and whoola, your morning health kick awaits! If you are a cinnamon freak like me, then adding a dash or two of cinnamon to this vanilla pud is extra delicious.
If you want to get a little fancy, here’s some ideas:
˃ chia, mashed banana and almond milk – top with a swirl of maple syrup and toasted flaked almonds and toasted coconut
˃ chia, blended strawberries, honey and almond milk – top with extra strawberries
˃ chia, rice milk, maple syrup, ¼ teaspoon matcha powder – top with blueberries
˃ chia, cacao and coconut milk – top with a swirl of maple syrup, pomegranate seeds and grated dark chocolate
˃ chia, cinnamon, coconut syrup and almond milk – top with toasted pecans and shredded coconut
While the above ideas simply mix the Chia seeds and other ingredients together with the liquid choice, you can also blend the ingredients as per a smoothie. In this way you can add, for example, dates, or peanut butter, or Greek yoghurt, or any type of seed or fruit.
Note that you can buy white or black Chia seeds; there is no real difference between the two, so simply preference… or mix the two together!
Take it to the next level by layering chia pudding with fruit puree, or yoghurt, or yoghurt with fruit mixed through it (or even custard… think a Chia trifle!).
Go all out with presentation to bring joy to your week day mornings… use glasses and glass jars so you can see the beautiful colours, layers and textures. This also keeps the portion sizes in check (because Chia pud can be too easy to digest, if you get my drift!)
Enjoy experimenting with your Chia pudding flavours and combos. Remember to use your syrup choice (maple, coconut or agave) sparingly; just a small swirl to enhance the experience.
And, if weight loss is your aim, then you can use Chia seeds to fill up faster… either by incorporating into meals or by adding to a glass of water before meals.