One of the first new ingredients I came across when looking into the Raw Food diet was Chia seeds. I had vaguely heard of them before as an ingredient in raw or vegan cakes from my local Organic café, but I didn’t really know much about them.
SFGate has the below list of benefits to be found by eating Chia seeds (summarised version, follow the link above for the full article):
Chia seeds are native to South America and have some wonderful health benefits and uses in healthy cooking.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Chia seeds are rich in polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids.
Fiber – Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, with a whopping 10 grams in only 2 tablespoons (one-third of the daily recommended intake).
Antioxidants – Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants that help protect the body from free radicals, aging and cancer.
Minerals – Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 18 percent of the DRI for calcium, 35 percent for phosphorus, 24 percent for magnesium and about 50 percent for manganese.
Satiety – The combination of protein, fiber and the gelling action of chia seeds when mixed with liquids all contribute to their satiating effects.
Gluten-Free – Chia seeds contain no gluten or grains.
Egg Replacer – The outer layer of chia seeds swells when mixed with liquids to form a gel which can used in place of eggs.
Can Be Digested Whole – chia seeds do not need to be ground in order to obtain their nutrient or egg- replacement benefits.
Dyslipidemia – A study published in the “British Journal of Nutrition” showed that chia seeds as a dietary fat source can lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels while increasing HDL or “good” cholesterol.
Blood Sugar Regulation – Chia seeds can play an important role in regulating insulin levels.
One of my new favourite desserts is Chia Pudding. Super quick and easy, delicious and healthy. What more could you want??
Original Recipe from The Rawtarian:
Creamy Raw Fruit Chia Pudding
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 1 cup water
- ¾ cup fresh or frozen berries (eg raspberries, strawberries, blueberries)
- 3 tablespoons of honey or agave
- 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons chia seeds
- Put all ingredients except the chia seeds in the blender
- Blend until very smooth and creamy
- Place the chia seeds in a large bowl, add the blended ingredients and stir very well for 5 – 10 minutes until seeds are fully incorporated and there are no clumps
- Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours before eating
I grind the cashews first into a fine meal before adding the other ingredients, as I find this gives a smoother end result
I used frozen blueberries, as they are pretty much my favourite berry
As I have a Thermomix, I was able to add the chia seeds and mix on reverse for 5 minutes rather than stirring my hand
I’ve found that the longer the pudding is able to sit, the better it is, as the chia seeds become softer. If you eat the pudding after only a couple of hours, the seeds still have a bit of crunch to them.
Adding some fresh fruit prior to serving adds a little more flavour and extra goodness