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chia

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia!!!

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Remember that jingle?  How funny that someone decided to look into the nutritional value of chia seeds and discovered they are considered a ‘super food’, defined by the Oxford Dictionary as, “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.”   And so I would like to espouse the benefits of chia seeds just as Catherine, our new chef/baker from France, is making chia seeds into an amazing pudding topped with a mixed berry compote and also happens to be vegan, gluten free, and lactose free. Triple whammy.  I have to admit that, until today, I had never had chia seeds in any form that I’m aware of.  I had my inaugural chia pudding taste today for the first time and my taste turned into eating the whole container.  I guess I liked it.  A lot.  Because no matter how healthy and beneficial, I do not consume food I don’t like.  Waste of calories.  Food that is healthy must also taste good or I refuse to eat it.  Refuse.  So here’s what I know about chia seeds:

  1. A big serving of fiber- chia has 11 grams in 1 oz. which is about 2 Tablespoons.  11 grams is over a third of the RDA for fiber.
  2. Protein- they contain 4 grams of high quality plant based protein in the same 2 tablespoons.  And since it is considered a high quality protein, they are an excellent protein source for vegans and vegetarians.
  3. Antioxidants galore!  The antioxidants in chia protect the sensitive fats in the seeds from going rancid.  They also protect our cells from free radicals which can damage molecules in our cells and contribute to ageing and diseases like cancer.
  4. Because of all the fiber, chia seeds can absorb 10-12 times their weight in water.  They become gel-like and expand in the stomach which should keep me full longer and make me eat less!!  Wouldn’t that be nice?!

For more information on chia seeds, click here because their info is evidence-based and not controlled by sponsors.  And this article has a great explanation about why chia seeds aren’t a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, even though they do contain a significant amount. Another great post on the topic is from Helen Sanders of www.healthambition.com and you can read it here.

I’m not always the most experimental eater and, had we not bought ourselves a cool grocery store/café, I might not have ever tried chia pudding.  Maybe this chia experience will help me to be more adventurous at the next industry food show that I attend.  We’ll see. – Liz Sacchini