Hooked on Chia Pudding
I always begin the New Year with that renewed resolution to treat my self better by being more committed to giving my body the best fuel I can, within reason. I know my weakness and it is sugar, without a doubt. So, in order to satisfy this craving I began to experiment with foods that had textures I found comforting. I have always loved the texture of pudding. My memories go back to when I was a little girl and my mom would make vanilla custard, storing it in little individual cups inside the refrigerator. I was also fond of her vanilla tapioca pudding that contained all those chewy little globules of fun, not unlike the bubble tea that is popular today. To be able to find a healthy alternative that I could enjoy without guilt became the quest and chia pudding became that alternative. I had recently been purchasing chia pudding at one of my favorite juice bars made with fresh vegetable juices slightly sweetened with a natural sweetener, like honey or maple syrup and vanilla. I enjoy chia pudding so much that I think it is a perfect alternative to tapioca pudding; creamy in texture with those little gelatinized bits.I decided to experiment at home, myself, because I have a macerating juicer and can make fresh vegetable juices.
I knew chia seeds were considered a very healthy food but little did I know all of the health benefits they actually contain.
1. Chia seeds boost your energy
We all know that energy drinks really aren’t great for us, but sometimes we just need a boost of energy so we can get that workout done. Did you know, however, that energy drinks loaded with carbohydrates can simply be replaced with chia seeds?
These simple little seeds are packed full of antioxidants, proteins, Omega 3 fats, vitamins and minerals, all of which according to a new study, provide a performance boost on the same level as an energy drink. The research found that eating chia seeds enhanced exercise performance that lasted 90 minutes, in the same way a sports drink can, but minus the sugar! Amazing stuff and a great reason to make the switch.
2. Reduces the effects of type 2 diabetes
Those suffering from type 2 diabetes won’t be able to simply cure their condition by eating chia seeds, but they can definitely enjoy significant improvements in their condition. Studies have shown that chia seeds can reduce the resistance of the body to insulin, while reducing fat and cholesterol levels in blood. Researchers believe this is due to the fact that chia seeds turn to gel when eaten, which slows down the breakdown of carbohydrates and allows the digestive system to process sugar at a slower rate.
4. Reduced chance of developing heart disease
Unfortunately, heart disease is a very real risk for millions of Americans, but eating chia seeds can reduce the chances of developing the condition. These seeds are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and protein, which means you can count on them to help improve your general and metabolic health.
Studies have shown that chia seeds can help reduce bad cholesterol in the body, reduce inflammation in numerous areas in the body and lower blood pressure. All of these means your blood flow becomes healthier, and your heart is at less risk of suffering from disease or clots.
5. Helps you lose weight
Obviously eating chia seeds needs to be combined with a balanced diet and exercise in order to help you lose weight. By consuming chia seeds on a regular basis, you are providing your body with an improved dose of fiber (up to 40% of your daily requirement), which slows the absorption of food and regulates your digestive system. This can contribute to weight loss by expanding in the stomach and therefore dulling your appetite and making you feel full. So get chia-ing for the perfect figure!
6. High in protein
Chia seeds are one of the best sources of protein – 14% protein overall, a very high ratio compared to most plants – and packed with Omega-3 fatty acids and amino acids, meaning that our bodies will have all the nutrients and support they need to absorb and use the protein the seeds provide.
If you don’t eat many animal products, these seeds are an ideal source of protein, ensuring that you remain healthy.
7. Good source of ‘good’ carbs
Carbohydrates are important, and almost all of the carbohydrates within chia seeds are fiber. Out of the 12 grams of carbohydrates in an ounce of chia seeds, 11 are actually fiber. This means that the seeds won’t raise your blood sugar like other carbohydrate- heavy foods, while the large amount of fiber means that a significant amount of water is absorbed in the stomach, making you feel fuller for longer.
Given they’re 40% of fiber by weight, chia seeds are one of the very best sources of fiber you can find.
8. Antioxidant boost
Chia seeds are also full of antioxidants, which can help fight against molecule damage in your cells, fight off signs of aging and even slow and prevent the development of some cancers. Blueberries are another good source of antioxidants, but for those who prefer nuts and seeds over fruits, largely for the convenience factor, you can count on chia seeds for a substantial antioxidant boost.
9. Extremely low in calories
If you’re looking to lose weight as well as stay healthy, then chia seeds are perfect. They’re full of all the nutrients already mentioned, but also extremely low in calories. These seeds are easy to incorporate into your diet and provide you with everything you need to stay healthy, look young and keep trim.
10. Easy to incorporate into your diet
Finally, chia seeds are versatile – they can be prepared in lots of different ways, and as well as simply being eaten alone, can be incorporated into meals and snacks. They can be sprinkled on cereal or porridge, added to yoghurt, served alongside rice, and even soaked in juice and added to sweet dishes. They are easy to buy too, being sold in most health stores and even a wide range of supermarkets, so get to the store now and find out how chia seeds can enhance your health!
Chia Pudding with Fresh Beet Juice
2 cups of freshly made beet juice, or vegetable and or fruit juice of your choice
1 cup of plain, low sugar yogurt (I used nut based yogurt due to a sensitivity to dairy)
Pinch of salt
1/2 tablespoon real maple syrup or to taste
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
3/4 cups chia seeds
Combine the juice, yogurt, sweetener, and salt and blend well. Taste for sweetness. If 1/2 tablespoon of sweetener isn't enough add a little more just to satisfy
Blend the chia seed into the mixture and let it set covered in the refrigerator for several hours to thicken.
Serve this pudding with fresh berries and a sprinkling of nut based granola.
Experiment with other juices and toppings to create a chia pudding you'd love to indulge in.