Chia seeds are tiny black or white seeds from the plant Salvia hispanica. It’s believed that chia seeds are native to Central America and were used by Aztecs as energy food thousands of years ago.
They are nutritious
The Aztecs used these seeds for energy food, because they’re so highly nutritious.
These little seeds are packed with fibre, protein, healthy fats (plant omega 3s), and various micronutrients; zinc, calcium, iron, vitamin Bs and more. That’s all within a few teaspoons of chia seeds!
Chia seeds are also an excellent source of antioxidants, which are incredibly important in the diet because their role is to neutralise free radicals which damage our cells.
They are high in fibre
The fibre in chia seeds is high (approximately 10g within ever 2 tablespoons of chia seeds). This fibre is so great for health on a number of levels. Firstly, it helps to keep us regular. When we eliminate waste on time, not only does our digestive system work efficiently, but toxicity doesn’t recirculate. It helps to encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria (and less pathogenic bacteria) and even helps to clear our hormones on time each month too.
Additionally, the fibre and protein in chia seeds may also benefit those trying to lose weight. Protein keeps us satiated for longer, and fibre helps to clear us out.
They help to stabilise blood sugar levels
The fibre and protein found in chia seeds has be shown to help with blood sugar regulation and insulin sensitivity, and even to help lower cholesterol levels.
This is because the fibre helps to move sugars and cholesterol through the system more efficiently, and the higher protein, low starch intake helps to keep the blood sugar more balanced rather than spiking and then dropping.
Cholesterol levels can be improved simply by speeding up the digestive system and elimination of wastes through increasing these types of high-fibre foods such as chia seeds.
The protein in chia seeds not only encourages stable blood sugar, but it also helps to reduce appetite and keep us feeling full for longer, which can also assist with weight management.
They are easy on the digestive system
Another reason I love chia seeds is because they’re easy to digest, and they’re soft on the digestive system. I see a lot of patients with digestive symptoms (bloating, IBS, inflammation) and eating a high protein, high fibre seed that is also soft and healing is extremely beneficial. When our gut is damaged, it needs intake of softer foods to allow it time to heal. In these instances I would often suggest soaking the chia seeds and preparing chia seed puddings rather than intaking the chia seeds straight.
There are many different recipes for chia seed puddings, and to try different flavours (berries, chocolate, vanilla, coconut, peanut/nut butter).
Chia pudding recipe
- 1 1/2 cups almond milk
- 1/2 cup black chia seeds
Optional: 1-2 Tbsp raw honey, or vanilla extract. Alternatively, I sometimes add a few spoons of elderberry syrup as another healthy immune-strengthening option. My preferred elderberry syrup is from elderberryblendsaustralia
Once you get used to making chia puddings, then you don’t really need to measure the ingredients, you’ll be able to see how much milk to put in. I use a small jar to prepare my chia seed puddings fresh daily, so I don’t use the quantities above, as it will make enough for a few days.
In the beginning, you may want to prepare your pudding in a small mixing bowel. Add almond milk, chia seeds, and a small amount of raw honey/and or vanilla if you’d like. Whisk to combine. You will need to continue to stir it for a few minutes until the chia seeds are fully absorbed. This is why I prefer to prepare it in a jar, so that once I have finished stirring for a couple of minutes, I put the lid on the jar and give it a big shake. Then put it in the fridge.
Cover and refrigerate overnight (or at least 6 hours). The chia pudding should be thick and creamy. You can then heat some frozen berries in the morning with a little raw honey, and pour over the top of your chia pudding, and add some coconut yoghurt too.
It will keep refrigerated for up to 4 days. Enjoy!
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Yvette is a qualified Naturopath and Nutritionist, MINDD Practitioner, member of the Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia.
Yvette specialises in the treatment of gut health and digestive complaints, skin issues, mood disorders, hormonal concerns, fatigue, and more.
Yvette sees patients Australia-wide.
The Naturopathic Co. 2023 Melbourne Naturopath, South Yarra Naturopath, Naturopath Sydney, Naturopath Perth, Naturopath Adelaide, Naturopath Canberra, Naturopath Gold Coast, Naturopath Sunshine Coast, Naturopath Brisbane, Naturopath Cairns.