Okay, so I may be a little obsessed with chia seeds. I think they’re completely awesome. Not only because they immediately bring to mind silly commercial jingles and ceramic heads/dogs/Shrek with foliage growing out of it, but for a plethora of other reasons as well!
A couple weeks ago, my friend Shauna (Dude, I swear you’ve been mentioned in every post recently! :)), commented on one of my smoothie recipes, asking about the benefits of chia seeds. I thought about answering it as a comment, but then decided that the answer could be explained so much better as a full post! (I even have a fun new chia recipe for you down below!)
Why Should I Eat Chia Seeds?
Omega-3s. Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain five grams of ALA essential fatty acids, right up there with flax seeds and hemp seeds. The daily recommendation for omega-3 fatty acids are about 1.1 grams for women and 1.5 grams for men. Omega-3 fatty acids are important because of their anti-inflammatory effects, their promotion of healthy cell membranes, their involvement in the production of prostaglandins (hormone-like substances used in functions such as inflammatory and allergic responses, blood clotting, blood pressure, nerve transmission, kidneys, and GI tract).
Fiber. There are seven grams of fiber in two tablespoons of chia seeds. Chia seeds contain both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Protein. Chia seeds are a great source of protein. In fact, they pack the most protein per weight of any seed! Extra bonus: chia is one of the few plant sources of complete protein!
Hydration. Chia seeds can absorb nine times their weight in water. This means that once inside your body, they will help you stay hydrated longer! Aztecs warriors actually used to carry chia seeds with them on journeys for nourishment and hydration purposes. Pretty cool!
Blood sugar regulation. These little miracle seeds actually help to regulate blood sugar. They do this by forming a gel in the stomach, which then slows the digestion of carbohydrates. Because of this, the simple sugars made by breaking down complex carbohydrates are released into the blood more slowly, preventing a spike in blood glucose levels!
So, how should you eat them?
I use chia seeds most often in smoothies. They add an amazing thickness, thanks to the gelling properties. They’re also great in chia puddings (see my Recipes page for ideas), can be drunk simply mixed with water, and sprinkled over your favorite cereals and baked goods.
I’ve been looking for ways to expand my chia horizons, I found some great recipes for chia French toast! Here’s my take on it:
Chia French Toast
(inspired by Brittany’s recipe)
- 4 slices of bread (I used Dave’s Killer Bread.)
- 2 T chia seeds
- 10 T water
- 2 T vanilla protein powder
- a pinch of cinnamon
- a pinch of nutmeg
- 1/2 t vanilla extract
- 1/2 t pure maple syrup
1. In a small bowl, combine the chia seeds and water. Allow to mixture to sit for about 5 minutes. A gel will form, acting as a egg replacer.
2. Add the dry ingredients to the chia gel. Stir until thoroughly combined.
3. Heat a skillet to medium heat. One at a time, coat each slice of bread with the chia mixture. Cook on the skillet until the first side begins to brown. Flip, and cook until the second side is also slightly brown. Another sign that each side is done cooking is that the chia gel will stick to the bread, rather than sticking to the pan.
I used Trader Joe’s vanilla hemp protein, which is a lovely dark green color. If you use a different type of protein powder, your French toast will most likely turn out a lighter color.
I was really surprised how well this French toast turned out. I honestly wasn’t sure how this experiment would go, but it ended up being great! Serve with a side of fruit for a well-balanced breakfast.
Have a great Friday, friends!