Chia seeds have been a staple in Mayan and Aztec diets for centuries. Today, they draw the interest of many people for their health benefits and uses in cooking. It turns out chia seeds are a rich source of nutrients and antioxidants.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Chia seeds are rich in polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds’ lipid profile is composed of 60 percent omega-3s, making them one of the richest plant-based sources of these fatty acids — specifically, of alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA. The omega-3s in chia seeds can help reduce inflammation, enhance cognitive performance and reduce high cholesterol.
Fiber is associated with reducing inflammation, lowering cholesterol and regulating bowel function. 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 contain no gluten or grains. Therefore, all of the nutritional benefits of chia seeds can be obtained on a gluten-free diet.
The outer layer of chia seeds swells when mixed with liquids to form a gel. This can be used in place of eggs to lower cholesterol and increase the 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.
Here’s a great recipe for Chia Seed Pudding that the whole family is sure to enjoy!
When chia seeds are soaked in water overnight, they take on a tapioca-like texture. Add some cinnamon or other spices and a bit of stevia, if you like, for sweetness and you’ll have a pudding-like treat that can be eaten morning, noon or night. For added crunch, add sliced raw almonds to the top.
1/3 cup chia seeds
1 cup coconut milk
2 Tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. Himalayan or sea salt
Measure out chia seeds, coconut milk, extracts, and honey.
Mix well and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or even overnight so the chia seeds absorb the moisture and become thick and gelatinous, like a pudding.
Spoon into a glass or parfait cup.
Add your favorite toppings and enjoy.