YASSSS DAHLING! They can, they can! Chia seeds are like that!
Once an 80’s fad used as window sill fillers, paper weights and conversation starters, these little powerhouses have burst on the scene and gone straight to the top of the superfoods lists! The nutritional value of chia seeds (also known to me as the chias) has been well documented, some may even say ad-nauseum. Still, I manage to consistently run into that percentage of the population that remains unaware and even shocked when they hear me talk about the chias as if they were common knowledge.
My bad! I have been known to get caught up in my health bubble at times. So in an effort to acquaint you all with my bffs, I’ll share a little info about them and how I use them to stay healthy.
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
Per the Mayo Clinic, “emerging research suggests that including chia seeds as part of a healthy diet may help improve cardiovascular health, such as lowering cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. A 1 ounce serving (about 2 TBS) of chia seeds contains:
- 138 calories
- 9 grams of fat (almost all healthy unsaturated fat)
- 10 grams of fiber
- 6 grams of protein
- 4,500 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids“
WOW! That is a lot of nutrition packed into 1 oz of food! But I know my folks, and a lot of you won’t be impressed by the numbers. You want to know how does all of that information translate into benefitting you. Good thing I am here to tell you. Let’s break this down.
NUTRITION = BENEFIT
9 grams of healthy fat = energy and satiety (feeling satisfied)
10 grams of fiber = feeling fuller longer, excellent for promoting good bowel habits, can help lower cholesterol
6 grams of protein = feeling fuller, kick starts the metabolism, provides building blocks for the body to repair and maintain itself
4,500 milligrams of omega -3 fatty acids = anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidants to help prevent free radical damage (think pollution, some medications, processed foods)
Yeah… I see that light bulb flickering. Not too shabby for a seed smaller than the size of a flea. But knowing the nutrition is only half the battle. Now, for the fun stuff…
3 Ways to incorporate Chia Seeds into your diet
- Add the chias to salads, trail mix and cereals when you want some extra nutrition that is crunchy and tastes somewhat nutty. (To be honest, adding only up to 2 TBS at a time, I get the crunch more than the taste, but eh… you try it and see.) They can also be added to wet food items like juices, smoothies or oatmeal in which case they will absorb the moisture and become soft and gelatinous if allowed to sit for 30 minutes. I really enjoy them in juice and kombucha, but if you are sensitive to textures, I would recommend starting with 1/2 to 1 TBS and working up from there. I don’t notice them in oatmeal at all.
- Use them as a binder or thickener. Because of their absorptive capability and gelatinous property (they can absorb up to 9 times their size of fluid), the chias are great at holding things together. I love to use them as a thickener in salad dressings and in my Mixed Berry and Chia Seed Refrigerator Jam. Some vegan recipes even use chia seeds as a replacement for eggs (mix 1 part chia seeds to 6 parts water ~1 TBS of this mixture equals 1 egg).
- Make chia bowls as a replacement for high carb breakfast cereals or desserts. Ahhh! This is currently my favorite use of the chias and it is how we bond daily. Delicious, filling, nutritious and great for bowel health, chia bowls are easy to make and the flavors are only limited by your imagination! In the interest of getting you all off to a great start, I am including a recipe in this post. If you want to see exactly how EASY chia bowls are to make then check out this little diddy right’chere! ( yeah, I said it!)
By now, you should be well versed in all things chia, or at least versed enough to no longer belong to that segment of the population that is totally befuddled by my #chiabowlinmybagswag. Do yourself and your family a solid, buy the chias and increase your healthy kitchen quotient. IN FACT, what you REALLY should do, is join the 10 day Chia Bowl Challenge starting on March 7th. Yes… that was the 10 Day – Chia Bowl – Challenge. (Some of y’all know that you need things repeated!) Try some or all of the recipes and post your pics in the comments here or on the Facebook page! And if you know someone who would benefit from having a little chia in their life, SHARE and spread the word! The healthier we are, the happier we are…and who doesn’t need more of that?!
THRIVE in Livity!
- 1 Cup unsweetened almond milk
- ¼ Cup raw granola
- 2½ TBS chia seeds
- ½ ripe banana
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- optional: raw natural sweeteners like honey, yacon syrup, or jerusalem artichoke syrup
- optional: unsweetened coconut flakes, cacao nibs, other warm spices
- cut banana in half so that you will have 2 quarters, place ¼ to the side
- blend milk, ¼ banana and cinnamon until liquefied
- optional: taste and stir in 1 TBS of natural sweetener or other spices if desired
- whisk in chia seeds
- cover and allow to sit for 30-40 minutes until mixture has a pudding consistency
- slice the remaining ¼ banana and place on top
- sprinkle granola on top
Steps 1-5 can be done ahead of time, a few hours to overnight if kept covered and refrigerated.
Source: Mayo Clinic