Packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats, nuts and seeds have been shown to fight heart disease, help with weight management, prevent inflammation, reduce the risk of diabetes, improve cognition, and support a good mood.
Chia seeds, in particular, rank high when it comes to nutrition. In just one ounce (nearly 3 tablespoons), you'll find:
12 grams carbohydrate
10 grams fiber
5 grams protein
9 grams of fat (with only 1 gram being saturated and the remaining healthy fats, much in the form of omega 3 fatty acids)
180 milligrams calcium
2.2 milligrams iron
95 milligrams magnesium
1 milligram zinc
16 micrograms selenium
115 milligrams potassium
That's a lot of nutrition packed into one little seed!
Chia seeds are diverse
Stay tuned for more on chia seeds, but just to give you a taste of their diversity, here are a few ways they can be used:
They give homemade dressings and sauces a thick consistency
They make perfect homemade jams and spreads.
They create delicious pudding (see below!).
They can substitute eggs in baked recipes (1 tablespoon of chia seeds + 3 tablespoons of water = 1 egg).
They can easily be sprinkled in smoothies or on top of smoothie bowls.
Are you already using chia seeds? Make sure to comment below to share how you're using them!
Chia seeds are filled with anti-inflammatory, mood-supporting nutrients
Chia seeds have a nice balance of protein, carbohydrate, and fat. This balance of macronutrients helps to keep your blood sugar stable and energy levels sustained, which may naturally support an uplifted mood.
Chia seeds also have 5 grams omega 3 fatty acids per ounce. The recommendation for omega 3 fatty acids is 1.1 grams for females between 19–50 years of age and 1.6 grams for males between 19–50 years of age. You can easily get your daily dose of omega 3's in just one tablespoon of chia seeds! More than 95% of Americans, including children, and 80% of people worldwide have low levels of omega 3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that play a critical role in supporting brain health and reducing the risk of mental health disorders. Consuming plant-based sources of omega-3's may help to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, promote healthy brain function, and support mental well-being. Chia seeds are a fun way to incorporate your daily omega-3 fatty acids.
Also, did you notice that fiber count in chia seeds? They have a whopping 10 grams of fiber per ounce! Fiber is the foundation of a healthy gut and research shows that gut health plays a major part in gut-brain communication and mental health. Fiber feeds healthy bacteria and when bacteria eat the fiber, they produce compounds called short chain fatty acids. These compounds have been shown to reduce inflammation and support neurotransmitter production, both of which may support a good mood and mitigate symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Chia seeds are also packed with magnesium, an essential mineral that more than half the population under consumes. Magnesium is involved in hundreds of enzyme reactions. Studies have shown that low magnesium levels may be associated with an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. Magnesium also plays a role in regulating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which controls the body's stress response. Because of its role in stress, magnesium may help reduce the negative effects of chronic stress on mental health. Magnesium may also improve your sleep by helping to calm you, and alleviate anxiety and depression. The recommendation for magnesium ranges from 310 to 420 milligrams a day for adults, depending on your age. Just one ounce of chia seeds provides 91 milligrams. Other foods rich in magnesium include leafy greens, nuts, and other seeds, like hemp, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds.
Finally, chia seeds are chock-full of polyphenols, like caffeic acid, rosmarinic acid, myricetin, and quercetin, which are phytochemicals that act like antioxidants in your body, scavenging free radicals and fighting inflammation. Inflammation is something that can affect your body and your brain. When you consume plant-based foods, like chia seeds, that are packed with antioxidants you support overall physical and mental health.
Are you ready to dive into this mood-supporting and anxiety crushing super seed? Let's get started!
Do you crave the combination of creamy and crunchy textures? Lime Coconut Chia Pudding with Crushed Almonds can satisfy that texture craving! This snack, breakfast, or dessert (however you choose to enjoy it!) is naturally sweet from the almonds and plant-based milk with an added touch of sweet from the maple syrup. If you'd like to replace the maple syrup with a natural fruit sweetener, consider topping the chia pudding with fresh berries or dried fruit. Due to its balance of carbohydrate, protein, and fat, plus the glorious amount of fiber, this pudding makes a wonderful sustainable breakfast, snack or after dinner treat.
Lime Coconut Chia Pudding with Crushed Almonds
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: none
¼ cup white (or black) chia seeds
2 tbsps hemp seeds
1 1/2 cups unsweetened plant-based milk
1 tsp lime zest*
2 tbsps lime juice
2 tbsps maple syrup
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2 tbsps crushed almonds
Add the chia seeds, hemp seeds, plant-based milk, lime zest, lime juice, maple syrup, and shredded coconut to a medium-sized bowl or a 16-ounce mason jar.
Stir well so that the chia seeds are dispersed throughout the milk mixture.
Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Stir again after approximately 30 minutes and let sit for another 1–2 hours before serving.
Once ready to serve, top with crushed almonds. To crush the almonds, you can either manually chop them with a Chef’s knife until they’re in tiny pieces, use a mortar and pestle, or use a coffee or spice grinder, pulsing until a crushed consistency.
*Tip: It’s easier to zest the lime before you juice it!
Nutrition Information, per serving (total servings 4)
Carbohydrate 16 grams
Fiber 6 grams
Protein 8.5 grams
Fat 14 grams (12.5 of which are unsaturated!)
Calcium 191 milligrams
Iron 3 milligrams
Magnesium 121 milligrams
Selenium 10 micrograms
Potassium 358 milligrams
Zinc 1.7 milligrams
Comment below if you try this recipe!