Oh, where to begin? Chia seeds! One of my absolute favorite super foods for a busy, growing family. I add chia to our smoothies, oatmeal, baked goods, and of course, I make chocolate pudding out of it! This creamy concoction is vegan, gluten free, grain free, and brimming with antioxidants, so it’s truly a guilt-free treat that gives us tons of energy and keeps us going for hours. Here are some nutritional facts about chia that might have you running to your local health food market to pick some up! (see recipe below)
Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, with a whopping 10 grams in only 2 tablespoons. That is one-third of the daily recommended intake of fiber per day.
Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants that help protect the body from free radicals, aging and cancer. The high antioxidant profile also helps them have a long shelf life. They last almost two years without refrigeration they are also a great source of magnesium, folate, iron, and calcium.
regulating blood sugar
Chia seeds can play an important role in regulating insulin levels. They can decrease abnormally high levels of insulin in the blood and reduce insulin resistance.
omega-3 fatty acids!
Chia is the richest plant-source of this healthy oil. By weight, chia contains more omega 3 than salmon. Omega 3 oil is important in heart, cholesterol health, and reducing inflammation.
The outer layer of chia seeds swells when mixed with liquids to form a gel. I sometimes use chia in place of eggs to increase the fiber content and nutrient content of foods and baked goods. To make the egg replacement, mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and let sit for 15 minutes. This can also be helpful for individuals who have an egg allergy, or who live a vegan lifestyle.
no need to grind
Unlike flaxseeds, which are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and minerals, chia seeds do not need to be ground in order to absorb their nutrients.
Chia seeds used as a dietary fat source can lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels while increasing HDL or “good” cholesterol.
chia for athletes
Many athletes have successfully incorporated chia seeds into their diets, as they are very high in protein, which aids athletes in recovering from intense workouts. Chia also help athletes stay hydrated longer, because these magical seeds are capable of holding over nine times their weight in water! So, when you eat chia pudding (or make a simple chia gel from chia and water) as a post or pre workout snack, you are helping your body stay hydrated during long periods of physical activity.
Raw cacao is in this recipe, and is another nutritional powerhouse which I will be dedicating it own post to!