Chia seeds are a modern day superfood. Originally grown in South America, chia seeds were prized for their super qualities which were well known to the Aztec and Mayan people. These Mesoamerican people realized early on that chia seeds were a great source of sustainable energy. The long distance runners in the Maya and Aztec kingdoms consumed diets rich in chia seeds. This enabled the athletes to have the stamina and resistance necessary for running the arduous treks through the mountains carrying messages and news from city to city within the kingdoms.
These little black and grey seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. They are rich in fiber, antioxidants, iron and calcium. (1 ounce of chia seeds= 56 grams of protein.) Mild and slightly nutty in flavor, chia seeds can be eaten whole or ground. Soaking chia seeds in water or milk produces a gelatinous result and can be made into a pudding. The seeds make a natural pectin which is reacted once moistened.
Chia seeds also have several health benefits. They promote heart health and also help to reduce blood sugar levels. They can be added to many foods such as smoothies, juices, yoghurts, cereals, salads and puddings. They can also be used in vegan diets as an egg substitute when mixed with water.
Chia Seeds sprinkled on Greek yoghurt with strawberry compote and toasted pistachios
Chia Seed Pudding
Makes 2 servings
1/2 cup chia seeds
1 cup almond coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp maple syrup
In an 8oz mason jar or bowl, pour milk, vanilla extract, maple syrup and a pinch of salt. Mix ingredients to ensure that all the ingredients are blended together.
Pour chia seeds into the liquid and mix well. If the seeds are not properly blended, they will sink to the bottom and will not absorb the liquid properly. Cover recipient and place in the refrigerator for 8 hours. This recipe is perfect for making overnight as it will be ready for breakfast in the morning.
Any combination of fresh fruit or nuts may be added to the chia pudding, but it is lovely as indicated in the recipe.
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You may also substitute cow’s milk for almond or coconut milk. Honey may also be used instead of maple syrup.
Chia pudding with chopped mango, papaya, banana and kiwi.