Lately I’ve been on a chia seed kick. I throw them into smoothies and sprinkle them over yogurt. There’s much more to these highly nutritious seeds than the popular chia pets of the late 70’s and 80’s would suggest. And though you won’t sprout green hair if you start adding more chia seeds to your diet, you will likely starting growing thicker, shinier hair.
So what makes chia seeds so nutritious, and how can we incorporate them into our diets?
Chia seeds have been eaten for centuries and were considered a superfood by the Aztecs, Incas, and Mayans. They revered these tiny little seeds because of the strength and stamina they felt after eating them. Fast forward to the 21st century, and chia seeds are making a come back by once again being recognized as a highly nutritious, energizing superfood. A food is considered to be a superfood when it is all natural (made by God and found in nature) and nutrient dense (full of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants). Think blueberries, strawberries, kale, coconuts, and . . . . chia seeds!
Here are a few more reasons chia seeds are considered a superfood:
- They are loaded with healthy omega 3 fats, which are naturally anti-inflammatory and good for your heart, brain, skin, and hair.
- They are naturally full of vitamins and minerals.
- They are a good source of protein.
- They are loaded with fiber.
- They help stabilize blood sugar and make you feel full.
- They contain 18 of the 22 essential amino acids, which are responsible for all metabolic processes in the body.
- They contain almost 20% of our daily calcium needs.
It’s easy to understand why the Aztecs felt energized and strengthened after eating them! Chia seeds virtually have no taste, so they will not alter the taste of your recipes. It couldn’t be easier to throw them into smoothies, sprinkle them on top of oatmeal or yogurt, or try them in my Banana Chia Pudding recipe. Chia seeds make for fabulous puddings, because they swell to 12 times their weight in liquid, making the liquid thick and creamy.
You can use overripe bananas or frozen bananas slightly thawed and mashed, which provide the sweetness in this recipe. And the coconut milk provides a good dose of healthy fat. You can top it with strawberries, blueberries, or more bananas. With only 3 ingredients, this recipe is super simple yet absolutely delicious.
- 1 over ripe banana (or frozen banana slightly thawed)
- ½ c. full fat coconut milk
- 2 T. chia seeds
- Mash banana in bowl until smooth and creamy.
- Add coconut milk and chia seeds, stirring until well blended.
- Pour into serving dish and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Continue to stir the chia seeds throughout the pudding as it firms.
- Serve chilled.