These tiny little seeds have gained huge popularity in the health community, and for good reason: they are nutrition powerhouses, easily digested, and make for an incredibly versatile ingredient you can use in almost any dish. Chia seeds contain 2 times the protein of any other grain, 5 times the calcium of milk, 2 times the amount of potassium as bananas, plus 3 times more iron than spinach! They are also high in fiber, phosphorous, magnesium, and are a rich source of anti-oxidants. One of the most celebrated nutrients in chia seeds is a hefty dose of Omega-3 fatty acids. These are considered essential fatty acids, meaning our bodies do not produce them on their own, so we need to consume them to get their benefits. Other foods that contain these EFAs are wild-caught salmon, walnuts, and quinoa. Check out just a few of the great reasons to start adding chia seeds to your diet today!
- The antioxidants in chia speed up your skin repair systems and prevent further damage, helping you prevent premature skin aging caused by inflammation and free radical damage.
- Chia packs 11 grams of fiber per ounce, fulfilling the recommended fiber intake the ADA recommends. Your body needs fiber in order to balance its insulin levels, as well as promote bowel regularity and healthy stool. It also forms a gelatin-like substance in the stomach, which can help you feel full sooner and aid in weight loss.
- The EFAs in chia seeds can also help reduce inflammation, regulate cholesterol, and lower blood pressure, making it extremely beneficial for heart health. They are also high linoleic, a fatty acid that helps the body absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K that you’re getting from all those fresh veggies!
- Chia seeds have anti-cancer benefits from something called lignans, a phytoestrogen that is believed to help reduce the risk of breast, prostate, edometrian, ovarian, and thyroid cancers.
- Chia ranks among the top plant sources of protein, making it great for producing lean muscle, burn fat, and balancing blood sugar levels. Additionally, because chia seeds are high in zinc, they help your body increase the production of leptin, a hormone that regulates your appetite and your energy levels.
One of my favorite ways to include chia seeds into my diet is making a super easy pudding that you can have for breakfast or as a little treat to satisfy your dessert desires. Here’s a single-serving recipe that you can easily double or triple. Once made, the pudding can stay in the fridge for a few days, so feel free to mix up a bunch and spoon it out as you like!
- ¼ cup organic chia seeds
- 1 cup organic unsweetened nut or seed milk (my personal favorite is coconut, which gives a thick, creamy texture)
- Organic alcohol-free vanilla extract
- Pinch of cinnamon
- Pinch of cardamom
- Organic fresh berries
- Organic pumpkin seeds, sliced almonds, or walnuts
- Organic unsweetened shredded coconut
- Organic cacao nibs
- Whisk ingredients in a Mason jar, stirring well for about 5 minutes until all seeds are coated. Close the jar and refrigerate for at least one hour (the pudding will continue to thicken the longer it sits, so feel free to leave it as long as you want)
- Garnish with toppings and enjoy!
When it comes to chia seed pudding, the flavor combinations are endless, so get creative and satisfy any cravings you’re having!