Sweet Chia! Making Wonderful Puddings With This Super Healthy Seed

Chia Seeds Chia seeds are easy to incorporate into your diet. When eaten dry, chia tastes a bit like a poppy seed. It is dense, small and crunchy. Soaked chia seeds absorb liquid and become very plump, sweet and...

Chia Seeds
Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are easy to incorporate into your diet. When eaten dry, chia tastes a bit like a poppy seed. It is dense, small and crunchy. Soaked chia seeds absorb liquid and become very plump, sweet and soft like tapioca pearls, and can be used much in the same way. Here are a few suggestions on how to eat chia seeds:

  1. Mixed in salad dressing and sauces.
  2. Mixed in batter (i.e. pancake).
  3. As a topping on pretty much everything (yogurt, salads, ice cream)
  4. As a pudding
  5. Added to beverages. Hot cocoa with chia seeds is wonderful!

How to Make Chia Pudding

Making chia pudding is fast, simple and tastes delicioooous! So what is the magic behind this healthy dessert that you don't have to be scared of eating even when on a diet? First of all for those who dislike cooking and won't even come close to the kitchen, good news! It doesn't require any cooking or baking, all you need to do is mix everything together and refrigerate for a couple of hours. Flavours, toppings and the whole outcome is completely up to you. There are like million different ways to make a chia pudding.

Chia Pudding
Chia Pudding

1. So lets start with the basics. First, you need chia seeds, of course! It's not that hard to find them, you can buy them in the natural/organic section of the store or in a bulk store.  To make 4 servings of pudding you'll  need 1/4 cup of chia seeds.

2. Next step is to add the liquid. Now, based on your preferences, you can add 1 cup of coconut milk, almond milk, regular milk or even chocolate milk.  In case you want your pudding dairy free simply add a cup of water.

3. If you don't like sweets, you can eat it just like this but as the pudding is a great healthy dessert we are going to add some sweetness to it. You can use different products, but I personally like honey the most. So for this recipe you would add 1/4 cup of honey, but feel free to switch it up and use maple syrup, agave syrup or any other sweetener.

4. Now its time to give it a flavour. The magic is all up to you. You can add a dash of pure vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa or melted chocolate to make a chocolate chia pudding, pumpkin spices and pumpkin puree (try this recipe) or even peppermint to make it festive. You name it! The sky is the limit.

Chocolate chia pudding
Chocolate chia pudding

5. And the final step "the toppings!" Add toppings before or after you refrigerate it. It depends if you want it as a part of the pudding or just on top of it. Refrigerate the pudding for 2-3 hours. You can top your pudding with any type of fruits, berries or nuts. You can layer fruits and pudding in a cup or just place it on top. Then sprinkle it with crushed nuts, coconut, mint or shredded chocolate. I guarantee all you need to think of is what you like and the result will be "yummy!"

If you can't pick out of all the flavours here is my favorite recipe:

1/4 cup of chia seeds, 1/4 cup of honey, 1 cup of organic coconut milk, dash of vanilla extract, 1tsp of cinnamon. Mix together, refrigerate and top with blueberries, shredded coconut and you can add chia/flaxseed chocolate crackers. Enjoy!

Chia pudding by Monika

What is Chia?

Salvia hispanica, commonly known as chia, is a species of flowering plant in the mint family, that's native to Mexico and Guatemala, and history suggests it was a very important food crop for the Aztecs. The word "chia" is derived from the Nahuatl word chian, meaning oily. The present Mexican state of Chiapas received its name from the Nahuatl "chia water" or "chia river."

Chia is grown commercially for its seed, a food that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, since the seeds yield 25–30% extractable oil, including ?-linolenic acid (ALA). Of total fat, the composition of the oil can be 55% ?-3, 18% ?-6, 6% ?-9, and 10% saturated fat.

It is one of two plants known as chia, the other being Salvia columbariae, which is more commonly known as the golden chia.

Nutrition

Chia seeds are loaded with healthy benefits, which makes them considered a “superfood.” According to the USDA, a one ounce (28 gram) serving of chia seeds contains 9 grams of fat, 5 milligrams of sodium, 11 grams of dietary fiber and 4 grams of protein. The seeds also have 18% of the recommended daily intake of calcium, 27% phosphorus and 30% manganese, similar in nutrient content to other edible seeds such as flax or sesame.

Digestibility

Chia seeds, unlike flax seeds, can be digested without being ground. They gel in liquid and hold nine times their weight in water (so drink plenty of fluids before and after eating chia to avoid dehydration).

Top 10 Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Chia seeds are rich in polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3s in chia seeds can help reduce inflammation, enhance cognitive performance and reduce high cholesterol.

Fiber

Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, with a whopping 10 grams in only 2 tablespoons, 1/3 of the daily recommended intake of fiber per day.

Antioxidants

Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants that help protect the body from free radicals, aging and cancer.

Minerals

Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 18 percent of the DRI for calcium, 35 percent for phosphorus, 24 percent for magnesium and about 50 percent for manganese.

Satiety

The combination of protein, fiber and the gelling action of chia seeds when mixed with liquids all contribute to their satiating effects.

Gluten-Free

Chia seeds contain no gluten or grains. Therefore, all of the nutritional benefits of chia seeds can be obtained on a gluten-free diet.

Egg Replacer

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.

Can Be Digested Whole

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 obtain their nutrient or egg- replacement benefits.

Dyslipidemia

A study published in the "British Journal of Nutrition" showed that chia seeds as a dietary fat source can lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels while increasing HDL or "good" cholesterol. The study also found that when substituting chia seeds for other fat sources, such as corn oil, the ALA was able to prevent high triglyceride levels and reduce central obesity.

Blood Sugar Regulation

Chia seeds can play an important role in regulating insulin levels. They can reduce insulin resistance and decrease abnormally high levels of insulin in the blood.

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