They may be small but nutritionally Chia seeds are fantastic! Chia seeds come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family. Chia seeds are originally from Mexico and Guatemala and are a good source of an Omega 3 fatty acid (Alpha linolenic acid – ALA for short), vitamin D, E and B along with fibre, iron, antioxidants, magnesium, calcium, selenium, manganese and potassium. These fertility supporting seeds help provide energy, fight inflammation, reduce sugar cravings and regulate blood sugar levels, potentially benefitting those with PCOS.
Chia is a good addition to consider adding to your diet – but needs to be added to another food or drink or soaked before eating. Chia is gluten free and as well as being high in fibre, it absorbs water to form a gelatinous texture which is very soothing and healing to our digestive tract. Chia seed’s high fibre content means they are great for your digestive health, eliminating toxins, reducing constipation and helping you feel full for longer.
Chia is thought to contain eight times more Omega 3 than salmon, 3 times more iron than spinach, 15 times more magnesium than broccoli, 6 times more calcium than milk and 2 times more potassium than that in a banana.
Omega 3 fatty acids help raise HDL cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol that protects against heart attack and stroke. Many people are deficient in omega 3 fatty acids due to diet and lifestyle. They are important when it comes to fertility for balancing hormones, reducing inflammation and for foetal brain development. Chia seeds also contain a number of potent anti-inflammatory compounds such as caffeic acid, quercetin and kaempferol. Chia seeds are also a complete protein (Chia contains an amazing protein value between 19 – 23% by weight, which is very unusual for a non-animal protein) containing all 9 essential amino acids, which is pretty impressive too!Since chia’s protein is so easily absorbable, it is rapidly transported to the tissues and utilized by the cells.
Aim for 1-2 tablespoons daily. Mixed with water, they can replace egg in vegan cooking.
Enjoy chia in:
– In porridge or add to cereal and milk
– Because of their neutral taste and light colour, Chia seeds make an ideal part- replacement for white flour in home baking- replace 2 tablespoons of the flour with chia seeds.
– Mix 1 or 2 tablespoons of the seeds into one cup of water and add the gel to smoothies, juices, yoghurts and soups.
Raspberry, almond and chia seed yogurt (makes 1 portion)
3 tablespoons flaked almonds
1 teaspoon chia seeds
225g plain Greek yogurt
150g fresh or frozen raspberries
4 tablespoons milk (milk of your choice)
Blend the almonds and chia seeds together using a blender. Add the yogurt, raspberries and milk; blend until smooth. Enjoy!
Blueberry and chia seed pancakes (makes 4)
125g plain flour (go for brown/wholemeal if you can)
1 teaspoon baking powder
240ml milk of your choice
1 large egg
2 tablespoons chia seeds
How to make your pancakes:
Whisk the flour and baking powder together in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the milk and egg. Whisk batter until combined. Fold in the blueberries and chia seeds gently.
Heat a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Grease the pan lightly and pour a ladle of the pancake batter into the hot pan; cook until the edges look dry and bubbles on top begin to pop, about 2 minutes. Flip and continue to cook for 1 minute. Enjoy!
Raspberry and chia seed breakfast pots (makes 4)
250ml coconut milk
250ml unsweetened rice milk
6 tablespoons chia seeds
2 tablespoons honey
250g fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons chia seeds
Combine the coconut milk, rice milk, 6 tablespoons chia seeds and honey in a bowl. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Cover with a plate and chill for 8 hours to overnight.
Mash the raspberries in a bowl. Stir in the 2 tablespoons chia seeds. Cover with a plate and chill until gelled, 8 hours to overnight.
Spoon some of the raspberry mixture into the bottom of each serving glass. Stir the coconut /chia seed mixture with a spoon until smooth; then divide evenly among the glasses. Spoon the remaining raspberry mixture on top. Enjoy!