Is chia the new flax?
We think so!
Chia seeds are a highly nutritious food that are a great addition to your daily menu.
- Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, even more so than flax seeds.
- Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants.
- The whole seeds don’t deteriorate and can be stored for longer periods without becoming rancid.
- The seeds do not have to be ground to make their nutrients available to the body. That means, less time in the kitchen!
- Chia seeds also provide fiber (25 grams give you 6.9 grams of fiber) as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc.
- They soothe the gastro-intestinal tract – when added to water and allowed to sit for 30 minutes, chia forms a gel. This gel is less abrastive to the gi tract than ground flax seeds.
- They help balance blood sugar levels. Researchers suggest that the reaction described in #6, also takes place in the stomach, slowing the process by which digestive enzymes break down the carbohydrates and convert them into sugar.
A simple way to add chia to your diet is to add a tablespoon or 2 per day to smoothies, soups or salads. If you are looking for something a little different and healthfully decadent, try the following pudding recipe. This pudding is nutritious enough to have for breakfast!
- 1/4 cup chia seeds (purchase them whole, not ground)
- 1/4 cup dried coconut, shredded & unsweetened (optional)
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut, almond, hemp or any nut milk
- 3-4 medjool dates, pitted
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/8 teaspoon ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- Place whole chia and shredded coconut, if using, into a bowl.
- Put the almond milk, dates, spices and vanilla in the blender and mix until smooth.
- Pour the blended milk over seeds, stir and let sit for 10-15 minutes, or overnight in the refrigerator.
- You may need to add more liquid to get the consistency you like.
The pudding will have a slight crunch after 10 minutes, but will be soft and smooth the next day. You can store it for 4-5 days in the refrigerator. Serve it cold or at room temperature, topped with fresh fruit, if desired.
Note: If you make your chia pudding with the shredded coconut it will come out thick like a bread pudding. If you omit the coconut, it will be thinner and more like a soft, cream pudding.
Linda Ljucovic, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Oakville