Revered in Aztec, Mayan, and certain Native American cultures, chia is celebrated in the modern age as a superfood that can contribute to health in a variety of ways. Calorie for calorie, the tiny chia seed is a mighty powerhouse of nutrition – no wonder the name chia comes from the Mayan word for strength!
Here are seven remarkable benefits of Chia Seeds:
- Rich in fiber, protein, and Omega-3 fatty acids, which improve mental energy and mood levels, and help reduce inflammation, joint stiffness and pain. Reducing inflammation lowers the risk for heart disease, arthritis and certain types of cancer.
- Contains beneficial amounts of Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, and Phosphorus, with lesser, but significant amounts of Niacin, Potassium, Thiamine, Vitamin B2 and other micronutrients.
- Antioxidant rich, which helps to eliminate free radicals from the body.
- A non-GMO gluten-free whole grain.
- Low on the glycemic index -suitable for low carb diets, and beneficial for diabetics.
- Complex carbohydrates break down slowly, helping to maintain energy level, stamina and endurance.
- Can absorb 10 times its weight in water- excellent for helping the body stay hydrated and providing a sense of fullness, which may lead to consuming fewer calories, leading to weight loss.
Its botanical name, Salvia hispanica, places the flowering chia plant in Lamiacae, part of the mint family, which also includes many aromatic culinary herbs like basil, rosemary, sage, savory, oregano, thyme, lavender, and marjoram.
Chia seeds are simple to use either whole, soaked, or ground, and they are nearly flavorless, so you can sprinkle them on salads, or add to smoothies, sauces, puddings, and desserts as a thickening (gelling) agent. We love Chia Pudding at Living Light Café. It is a light and delicious dessert that can also serve as a nutritious and delightful breakfast treat!
3 cups coconut water
1 cup filtered water
1 cup chia seeds
Coconut Vanilla Cream:
2 1/2 cups young Thai coconut meat
3/4 cup coconut sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 scraped vanilla bean (seeds only)
4 drops Medicine Flower Coconut Extract
¼ tsp sea salt
3 tablespoons golden raisins
For the chia mixture
In a medium mixing bowl, combine 3 cups coconut water and 1 cup water. Slowly add chia seeds while whisking to prevent clumping of the mixture. When chia seeds are fully incorporated, place bowl in the fridge to allow chia to thicken. Whisk occasionally to break up chia seeds as they thicken (2-4 hours).
For the coconut cream:
Place all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth and creamy. Fold this mixture into the thickened chia seed mixture.
Divide mixture into 9 equal portions and top each pudding with 1 teaspoon golden raisins to garnish. Delicious served with fresh sliced fruit or fruit puree. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Mixture may be stored up to four days in an airtight container or glass jar.