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Chia seeds: the energy-boosting superfood

More reasons why should add this superfood to your daily diet and how to do that. Plus, a healthy chia breakfast cereal recipe

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chia seeds, benefits, nutrition

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This super seed is packed full of nutrients and loaded with heart-healthy fibre, essential fats, protein and will give you long-lasting energy. Here are even more reasons to start your day with a little chia:

Nutritional benefits: Chia seeds are a source of amazing long-term energy, which over time can actually help your body to function at its best and burn more calories throughout the day. Chia also contains a high source of omega-3 fatty acids, similar to flax. Be sure to get dark greyish chia, as it’s nutritionally superior to the lighter kind.

Another thing to be aware of is that chia becomes mucilaginous when soaked; so go ahead and make a pudding, jam or add it into your smoothies. Chia can help reduce nervousness, treat insomnia, improve mental focus, relieve constipation and can be a soothing gel to help lubricate dry skin.

How you use it: Chia seeds can be added directly into a recipe, whether it is a soup, smoothie, salad or your morning porridge — it goes with anything. However, if you want to soak it, place two tablespoons or more in a bowl and cover with some water. Wait about 20 minutes, and it will double in size and you will have a thick, gooey, delicious pudding. You can also add whole seeds or ground chia into baked goods, granola or trail mixes, or use it as a condiment or garnish. I use the seeds as an egg substitute for my baked recipes: 1 tbsp ground chia plus 3 tbsp water or 1/4 cup applesauce is equivalent to one egg.

How to store it: Chia seeds are best stored in a sealed glass jar. You can keep them in the cupboard or place them in the fridge, especially for long-term storage. Ground chia is best kept in the fridge or even the freezer. I keep a small jar on my counter for everyday use; I add about 1 tbsp to my smoothie or cereal every morning.

Super chia breakfast cereal

Ingredients
1/2 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup rice, almond or hemp milk
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp goji berries or raisins
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp raw honey

For a cooked version:
1. Place rolled oats into a pot.
2. Top with “milk”, chia, goji and cinnamon.
3. Bring to a low simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until everything is softened. Keep stirring to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.
4. Stir in raw honey just before eating.
Makes 1 serving. Enjoy!

For a raw version:
1. Place rolled oats in your bowl and top with “milk” chia, goji berries or other toppings.
2. Allow oats to soak overnight, so it becomes creamy and soft.
3. Stir in cinnamon and honey in the morning.
4. Top with additional fresh berries, banana slices, cacao or coconut flakes.
Makes 1 serving. Enjoy!

Marni Wasserman is a culinary nutritionist in Toronto.