This chia seed craze isn’t going anywhere soon, it’s here to stay. I’ve had many a fleeting affair with the latest in vogue food, some working out and others not. Sorry goji berries, it’s not you, it’s me. With chia it’s different…….I am fully committed to the humble chia seed, it won’t enter my life for a few weeks of dabbling only to be pushed to the back of the cupboard, lonely and forgotten! Chia has a firm place in my kitchen and has made itself very comfortable.
I wasn’t at first convinced when my first bag of chia arrived and as they bounced along my kitchen work top I couldn’t help but think these tiny seeds seemed a bit, well small and fiddly. And anyway, how could such a tiny seed contain so much goodness? So much goodness.
Chia is yet another amazingly nutritious food from the superfood continent South America (quinoa, maca, lucuma, cocoa nibs- why do they have all the best ingredients?). Anyhow, first recipe in I really liked them but I loved them a whole lot more when I learnt about their nutritional attributes and impressive versatility within plant based recipes. Chia doesn’t have a truly distinct flavour but it has a unique consistency when combined with liquid, providing an excellent base to add your own flavour and experiment with your favourite ingredients. I like to think of chia as a powerhouse nutritional canvas to get creative with! Chia + liquid = very swollen seeds and a consistency that resembles tapioca pudding, all part of it’s secret weight regulating powers.
There’s a whole lot more to these Aztec wonder seeds and there’s very good reason(s) why they’re one of the big players in the realms of wellness. Here’s 7 of them:
- High in fibre so excellent for digestive function. Most of us could use more fibre and these contain a third of our daily requirements in just 2 tablespoons. We all know that a fibre rich diet keeps us fuller for longer, enabling us to maintain a healthy weight and beat cravings. These seeds swell to 10 times their original size when combined with water form a gel high in soluble fibre, which fills the stomach and satiates. Naturally, this fuller feeling reduces tendencies to over eat, so chia’s a weapon to any weight loss eating regime.
- A remarkable amount of antioxidants. Go away free radicals, ageing and cancer. Such high levels give chia a lengthy shelf life of up to 2 years.
- Calcium. Who needs dairy when you can get 1/5 of your daily needs from just 2 tablespoons, 5 times more than milk. These powerhouse seeds also contain sizeable amounts of magnesium and phosphorus.
- Good source of Protein. Made up of 30 % complete protein, containing all 9 amino acids in proper ratios, they certainly give meat products a run for their money!
- No Gluten. Enough said.
- Brilliant egg replacer for plant based recipes. Mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 of water and leave for 10 minutes to thicken.
- One of the richest plant based sources of omega 3’s. In fact it contains 8 times more than salmon so is super for heart and brain health.
Bonus: I find chia helps fight fatigue, keeps me energised for longer and less likely to have late afternoon lethargy. I’m a recreational runner and find I am recovering quicker post exercise. Chia is a runner’s best friend.
Start the day in spectacular fashion by making a yummy chia pudding!
Let’s all chia up!