Dr Libby on chia seeds
These little seeds seem to be sprouting up everywhere. The reason they’re gaining in popularity is due to their many nutritional benefits. Chia seeds are originally from South America but Australia has also become a major producer. They’re available in two varieties; black, which naturally contains a combination of black, grey and white seeds and white, containing only the white seeds.
Both varieties of chia have similar nutritional benefits. One of the wonderful things about incorporating chia seeds into your diet is that they basically don’t have any flavour and will absorb the flavour of anything you pair with them.
Nutritionally speaking, chia seeds are a great vegetarian source of Omega 3 alpha-linolenic acid — beneficial for the brain and heart. Essential fatty acids build new cells and regulate various processes of the body, but our bodies cannot make them internally so we must get them from our diet. Chia seeds are also a good source of potassium and contain all eight essential amino acids, making them a complete source of protein. This is critical for vegetarians or vegans who have to combine foods to supply missing amino acids. Chia seeds also contain good quantities of many minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and manganese. Phosphorus is a mineral primarily known for its role in bone health. It works with calcium in order to boost the strength of your bones.
Chia has been studied recently due to its ability to slow down digestion—meaning you experience less hunger between meals. The gelatinous coating that develops around chia seeds when exposed to liquids looks like it may help prevent blood sugar spikes.
When consuming chia seeds it’s important to increase your intake of water, as it’s such a good source of fibre. You can make a chia seed gel that acts as a binding agent to replace eggs and oil in baking. They can also be ground into flour as another option for gluten-free flours. You can mix them into your breakfast, add them to smoothies, muffins or baking and of course make desserts from them. They’re even delicious added to a hot lemon and ginger drink during the cooler months.
Using chia seeds is a delicious way to increase your fibre and Omega 3 intake.
Finding inspiration for breakfast can be a challenge and many people struggle with time to eat it, let alone prepare it. This breakfast pudding can be made the night before and left to sit overnight. Alternatively, you could make it in a container and take it to work. It’s also delicious topped with sliced bananas and walnuts.
Cashew milk is a wonderful alternative to almond milk as it has a dreamy, creamy texture. Add a dash of vanilla to the milk and you have a delicious vanilla-flavoured milk alternative. This breakfast pudding could easily be transformed into a beautiful dessert.