IN MY previous article on superfoods, several of nutrient-packed foods were highlighted, with a suggestion for those new to the superfoods scene to start off with chia seeds (my personal favourite).
If you still need some convincing, here are five reasons why you should add chia seeds to your diet:
1. Full of goodness
Chia seeds are loaded with omega-3 fatty acid, calcium, fibre and protein. Omega-3s are the fats that you want – the ‘good fats’ – essential for healthy brain and nerve function, and to reduce cholesterol levels. In the meantime, calcium, as everyone knows, helps strengthen teeth and bones. This is somewhat a boon for those who are lactose-intolerant or who do not like milk.
2. Keeps the hunger pangs at bay
We are all guilty of that mid-morning snack or reaching for the salty chips and sugary chocolate in the evening to boost our energy levels. The high fibre and protein content of chia seeds can be credited to the slow release of energy over an extended period of time, thus preventing blood sugar slumps just when you need that essential boost of power to get you through a task. Because it can absorb up to ten times their weight in water, this also contributes to the full feeling you get when consuming chia seeds.
3. Goes with everything
Chia seeds are to food what the colour black is to fashion – they go with anything and everything. This is because chia seeds are tasteless and are so tiny that they can go unnoticed or be ground up easily. For example, add them when making a smoothie, sprinkle them on top of your breakfast oats or lunch salad, or even add them to your cake or bread mixture on baking day.
4. Egg replacement
No eggs? No problem. With their ability to absorb up to ten times their weight in water, chia seeds create a jelly-like substance and start sticking to each other when soaked in water for a short period of time. Because of this feature, chia seeds make a great binding agent, good for replacing eggs in baking.
5. A food on its own
Chia seeds are not just meant to be sprinkled on smoothies and salads, but can also be consumed on its own. “Gross” you say? Then you haven’t tried chia pudding – one of the healthiest (and also tasty) pudding around!
Here’s the recipe:
Chia Seed Pudding
In a container, combine 1 1/4 cups of unsweetened almond milk / coconut milk and 1/3 cup of chia seeds. If you want flavour, add chocolate almond milk or even mixing in some cacao powder. Mix well. Refrigerate for four to six hours, until the texture becomes thick and pudding-like. Garnish with berries.
Payal Sadhwani is a PR consultant who has a passion for food and writing.