Chia seeds are a good inexpensive, safe source of omega-3, they are more convenient, cleaner (not exposed to many sea life toxins) and even higher in omega-3 than fish. They are also high in protein and fiber, a perfect detox superfood!
Adults and Kids Love Chia Pudding!
It’s easy to make and super healthy.
- 2 cups of coconut milk or other milk
- 1/2 cup chia seeds
- 2-3 tablespoons raw cacao powder (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon or more sweetener of choice (optional)- my favorite is local, raw honey or a few drops of stevia
Put in a blender and blend until smooth. Will thicken in about 10 minutes in the fridge.
There are endless flavor variations. You can omit the cacao powder and vanilla and add a cup of strawberries/blueberries for a fruity version, or add cinnamon and nutmeg for a Chai Chia Pudding.
The Importance of Omega-3
Omega-3 is one of the “essential fatty acids” we need in our diets. Essential means we have to obtain that nutrient from outside sources. Our bodies don’t manufacture enough. Because of our diets, most westerners are nutritionally deficient of omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 contains alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is important for brain and nerve tissue. It is critical for good heart health. Omega-3 ALA deficiency is associated with degenerative diseases and immune dysfunction. Other essential fatty acids are omega-6 and omega-9.
While most of us tend to be deficient of omega-3, omega-6 is overly abundant. Omega-6 is found in most nut and plant oils. Unfortunately, most consume too many of those oils in their processed toxic forms. Heat processed oils are toxic.
They are used for cooking often when they shouldn’t be used at all. And they are prevalent in most processed foods as well. Only cold pressed oils should be used for omega-6 or omega-3.
In addition to increasing our omega-3 intake, we should limit our omega-6 oil consumption to create a proper balance. Many health experts consider that our omega-6 to omega-3 ratio should be 3 to 1 or less.
The American Heart Association recommends consuming 500 mgs of omega-3 daily. A recent Global Summit for Omega-3 stated the daily amount should be 1000 mgs.
Chia Seed Benefits
Chia seeds come from the Salvia Hispanica plant that grows abundantly in Southern Mexican deserts. It was used by Aztec warriors for endurance. Native Americans also used chai seeds medicinally.
A small amount with water provided them with necessary nutrients while helping them stay hydrated. Because they absorb water so much, chia seeds will help you feel full longer with less food. Dieters will appreciate that.
Unlike flax seeds, chia seeds don’t have to be ground for consumption. They are easily chewed as is. And unlike ground flax seeds, chia seeds don’t deteriorate rapidly. They can be mixed in water or juice without any weird taste. A Chia Seed Gel can be formed with chia seeds and water, which is then refrigerated and then eaten like a gelatin dessert.
Even eating the seeds or drinking them with a beverage will form a gel in the stomach which is up to 90% fiber. This is useful as an overall digestive and elimination aid. And it minimizes blood sugar spikes by slowing carbohydrate conversions to glucose. So it’s okay for even diabetics.
The nutritional content of chia goes beyond ALA omega-3 fatty acids. It is very high in calcium, which is transferred to bones with the help of chia’s abundant trace mineral boron. This boron factor is important. Calcium that gets into the blood stream can reach soft tissues of organs and calcify or harden them if it isn’t absorbed by bone matter.
Chia seeds also contain twice as much protein as any other seed or grain. And yes, good omega-6 is available in chia seeds as well. So there, one can begin the omega-6 and omega-3 balancing act. There are many other antioxidants and nutrients in chia seeds, including phosphorous and manganese.