Rosanna Davison: The benefits of chia seeds
Chia seeds have enjoyed a huge surge in popularity in recent years, and have popped up everywhere from health food shops to supermarkets, cafés and restaurant food.
I’m frequently asked for the best way to eat these tiny, nutrient-packed seeds, which happen to be extremely versatile. They can be soaked in liquid to form puddings, sprinkled on salads, soups, porridge and smoothies or baked into a wide range of breads, cakes, muffins, biscuits and bars.
Loved by the ancient Aztec warriors for their high levels of protein and fibre, chia seeds are one of the very best food sources of omega-3 fats, meaning that they really help to nourish your skin and keep your cell membranes strong and supple.
Their high levels of antioxidants protect your skin from free-radical damage, plus they’re rich in potassium and iron, and have fives times more calcium than milk. As they absorb liquid up to 15 times their size, they make a brilliant food for weight loss as they keep you feeling full and hydrated for hours.
These seeds are especially popular for their impressive level of omega-3 fat. Every single cell in your body requires fat to maintain their structure and our brains are comprised of almost 60pc fat. Scientific research into nutrition and the brain shows us that fatty acids are some of the most important molecules in determining the brain’s integrity and ability to perform.
Essential fatty acids (EFAs), such as those found in chia seeds, are needed for optimal health and body function, but cannot be made in the body. Therefore, it is crucial to include the right balance of EFAs in your daily diet.
This healthy chia pudding recipe is free from refined sugar and packed with omega-3 fats, fibre, protein and minerals, including iron and calcium. It is simply made by soaking chia seeds in liquid for about 10 minutes. They absorb all of the fluid, swelling to up to 15 times their size.