You know the old saying, good things come in small packages – the same is true for chia seeds. They’re tiny little seeds of goodness, packed with vital vitamins and minerals, ideal for chia seed pudding. The seeds are native to Mexico and whose scientific name is Salvia Hispanica. Also, here’s something that might surprise you: they’re part of the mint family.
Widely cultivated in South America, chia seeds were consumed by ancient civilizations due to their impressive health benefits, which we’ll reveal in more detail a bit later. Chia seeds have the remarkable ability to soak up water and swell up into jelly-like globules. This makes them perfect to use as a vegan egg-substitute in baking or to concoct a tasty vanilla chia seed pudding recipe like the one we’re about to share with you.
5 Benefits of chia seeds
1. Promote healthy digestion
Almost all of the carbs you find in chia seeds are fiber, with one single seed containing 40% of it. Having bowel-related ailments (e.g., constipation)? Then eating chia seeds can help. They also help relieve inflammation and irritability of the bowel by feeding your intestines with friendly bacteria. As Coach Lisa always emphasizes, keeping your gut flora in balance is essential for your all-around health and well-being.
2. Encourage weight loss
Believe it or not, these high-fiber seeds have many more tricks up their sleeve. The superfood also promotes weight loss. How does it do this? Loaded with soluble fiber, when you add chia seeds to water, they act like little sponges and absorb up to 12 times their weight in water, making it expand in your stomach. Couple this with its slow absorption by the body means you’ll stay full for longer and avoid those untimely hunger pangs. As you know, it’s essential to approach weight loss holistically, so make sure you don’t just eat the same foods all the time and instead eat a varied diet.
3. Protect cells against damage
Chia seeds also contain a considerable amount of antioxidants, which fight cell-damaging free radicals, thus slowing down cell damage in the body. Antioxidants fight the production of free radicals, which are known to contribute to the development of diseases like cancer. Combining chia seeds with an overall healthy lifestyle and diet can lead to younger-looking skin and healthy hair.
4. Provide plant-based omega-3
Chia seeds are one of the highest plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids, with half of their fat content made up of it. Omega-3s are especially pivotal in preventing or alleviating many physical as well as mental conditions. They help combat depression, improve sleep and reduce the risk of heart issues. You can only derive omega-3 fatty acids in a handful of plant-based foods; along with chia seeds you can find omega-3 in walnuts, flaxseeds and roasted soybeans.
5. Offer plant-based protein
Getting enough protein in your diet as a vegan or vegetarian can be tricky. If that’s the case for you, then try adding chia seeds to your breakfast. They contain a relatively high amount of protein compared to most plants. Plus, their balance of amino acids allows your body to synthesize the protein better. Pair with oats and nut butter for an extra protein kick.
Vanilla chia seed pudding recipe
The method for making the chia seed pudding recipe is super simple. All you need to do is to use 1 cup of fluid to 2 tablespoons of chia seeds. The result should be a silky, smooth texture that’s slightly firm and gelatinous. You can always add more liquid if you want a lighter chia seed pudding.
- 3 cups creamy non-dairy milk alternative like unsweetened coconut, almond or cashew (add more if you find the mixture too thick)
- 6 Tbsp chia seeds
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup mixed fruit like blueberries and strawberries, for topping
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup or pure honey (optional)
- In a mason jar or a bowl, combine the chia seeds, milk, vanilla extract, and maple syrup. If you’re using a jar that has a lid, close it and give the mixture a good shake and let it sit for five minutes.
- After five minutes, give the pudding another good shake or a vigorous stir to break up any clumps. Cover the pudding and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 1-2 hours if you’re short on time. If the vanilla chia seed pudding doesn’t come out to your liking, add more chia seeds or milk to balance it out and return to the fridge for another half hour or so.
- Cut some fruit up, like berries, banana or mango and add them to your chia seed pudding when it’s ready.
Get the most out of chia seeds
Apart from using chia seeds for puddings, there are other foods you can sneak them into. They work wonderfully blended into smoothies, oatmeal, and even cold coffee. If you’re feeling adventurous, try sprinkling them on top of salads or sprucing up your homemade dips to lend them a creamy quality. You could also try and incorporate them in baked goods like bread or muffins. Chia is also a welcome addition to trail mixes and cereals. Intrigued? You should be. If you are looking for even more tasty inspiration, then sign up to 8fit Pro where you’ll have access to over 700 recipes like Chia Pizza, Apple Almond Energy Balls, Healthy Crackers, and Overnight Chia & Oats Pudding to name a few. Happy eating!