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Chocolate Chia Pudding: Good For You

Everyone seems to be talking about chia seeds these days. You might be wondering – what is so special about this tiny little seed? Should you eat chocolate chia pudding, and how do you make it?

If you want to know why it is worth adding chia seeds to your meals, you are in the right place. Read on for a deep dive into chia seed nutrition. Find out whether you can eat chia seeds on special diets like gluten-free or low histamine.

Finally, enjoy an easy and nutritious recipe for chocolate chia pudding. I can’t think of a better snack or dessert. Let’s get started!

Chia Seed Nutrition

For thousands of years, chia, or Salvia hispanica, has been a part of the diet among the people of Central America. As early as 3500 BC there is evidence that the Aztecs were eating chia, and using it for sacred and religious ceremonies. 

These ancient people knew a good thing, because chia is packed with an amazing number of nutrients and phytonutrients. Take a look at some ways that chia can benefit your health.

Fiber

Chia seeds are high in fiber, which makes up about a third of their content. This is mostly insoluble fiber. 

The US Dietary Guidelines recommendation for dietary fiber is based on calorie intake. It is 14 grams of fiber per 1000 calories. This comes out to 25-38 grams of fiber per day.

One serving (2 tablespoons) of chia seeds contains about 10 grams of dietary fiber, which puts you well on the way to getting your daily recommended amount (1). 

Healthy Fats

Eighty percent of the fatty acids in chia seeds are essential fatty acids. Over half of these essential fatty acids are alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid that can convert to EPA and DHA in your body.

About 10% of the fatty acids in chia are oleic acid, the monounsaturated fat that is also found in olive oil (1). 

Protein

Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain nearly 5 grams of protein. The protein content is higher and more digestible than most grain products. In fact, nearly 80% of the protein in chia is digestible. Chia contains high amounts of glutamine and arginine, two important amino acids (1). 

Polyphenols

Chia contains an amazing amount of polyphenols. There are phenolic acids like gallic and ferulic acid. There are chlorogenic and rosmarinic acid. Chia contains flavonoids like apigenin, kaempferol and quercetin. There are also genistein, daidzein and epicatechins (1). 

All of these phytonutrients possess different properties that mean they can act as antioxidants, anti-cancer agents, hormone stabilizers, anti-inflammatory agents, mast cell stabilizers, anxiolytics, and more.

Phytosterols

Chia seeds contain a number of phytosterols such as β-sitosterol. These compounds have a similar structure to cholesterol, but are found in plants. Phytosterols have been shown to lower blood cholesterol if you eat them in a large enough quantity each day (1). 

You are likely not going to eat enough chia seeds to get the 2 grams of phytosterols indicated in the research (2). Chia seeds can be a small part of a bigger regimen towards lowering your cholesterol.

Essential vitamins and minerals

You can get substantial amounts of vitamin E, calcium, potassium and magnesium from chia. It contains smaller amounts of phosphorus, iron, manganese, sulfur, zinc, copper, molybdenum and selenium.

Chia seeds also contain vitamins B1, B2, B3, A and C (1). 

Chia Seeds are Convenient

This is a picture of a small bowl of chia seeds.

Easy Storage

Whole chia seeds can be kept out of the refrigerator in an airtight container for a long time (4). This is because they have a tough outer shell, and contain natural antioxidants that help to keep the inner oils fresh. Some even say you can keep them for years, but I think you will eat yours before then.

You can keep chia seeds for even longer if you store them in the refrigerator.

If you need ground chia seed, it is best to grind it right before you prepare the dish. Grinding exposes the fatty acids to air and they will begin oxidizing. 

Versatile in Recipes

If you cannot eat eggs, this little seed is your friend. Chia seeds thicken foods by absorbing many times their own weight in water and forming a gel. 

1 egg = 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, combined with 3 tablespoons of water

Wait for about 5 minutes until it forms a gel.

These thickening properties are what makes chia such a great addition to puddings, popsicles and smoothies.

Chia Seeds and Your Special Diet

Are chia seeds low fodmap?

Yes, you can enjoy chia seeds on a low fodmap diet! However, if you are sensitive to fructose, don’t use honey as a sweetener. Maple syrup is a low fodmap sweetener. Also, make sure you use a milk type that is low fodmap. A Little Bit Yummy has a great guide to low fodmap milk options.

Are chia seeds gluten free?

Chia seeds are on the gluten free list, and perfect for celiac or gluten-intolerant people. Naturally you want to make sure the rest of your ingredients are also glluten-free.

Are chia seeds low in histamine?

Chia seeds are a great, nutritious choice if you are on a low histamine diet. However, the cocoa in this recipe may increase your histamine. Read more about snacking on the low histamine diet at this other post.

Who should avoid chia seeds?

Chia seeds contain a higher level of oxalates, and if you are prone to kidney stones you might want to avoid this food.

There is anecdotal evidence that some people with IBS also find it difficult to digest chia seeds (3).  

Chia is a member of the Lamiaceae family of plants, which includes mint, sage, basil, rosemary, thyme, lavender and oregano. If you know you have an allergy to this family of plants, chia is not for you.

Chocolate Chia Pudding Recipe

A glass goblet of chocolate chia pudding

Chocolate Chia Pudding

Elizabeth Quinn, MS, CNS®, FMCHC, LDN
You will look forward to eating chia every day when you reach for this pudding as a snack or dessert. Feel free to substitute other plant-based milks, or even real milk, for the almond milk.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 10 minutes
Course Whole Food and Recipes
Cuisine Pudding
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder unsweetened
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds

Instructions
 

  • Whisk together cocoa powder, maple syrup or honey, salt and vanilla into a smooth paste.
  • Add a small amount of the almond milk and whisk until smooth.
  • Add remaining almond milk and whisk until combined.
  • Sprinkle in chia seeds and stir with a fork to combine well.
  • Let mixture stand for 5 minutes. Then, stir with a fork to distribute the seeds, which should be starting to thicken.
  • Pour mixture into four serving dishes.
  • Refrigerate at least six hours, or until it is as thick as you like it.
Keyword chocolate chia pudding
chocolate chia pudding

Final Thoughts

Chia seeds are packed with nutrition. They contribute fiber, healthy fats, protein, polyphenols, phytosterols and essential nutrients to the foods you eat.

Whole chia seeds are easy to store and will keep for a long time, even out of the refrigerator. Chia is a versatile ingredient. If you don’t eat eggs, chia seeds make a great substitute.

Chia seeds are low fodmap, gluten free and low histamine. If you are prone to kidney stones, you might want to avoid this high-oxalate seed.

Give the chocolate chia pudding recipe a try. I would love to hear what you think. Drop me a comment.

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1 thought on “Chocolate Chia Pudding: Good For You”

  1. Pingback: High Protein Vegan Snacks Made With Real Food - The Whole Story LLC

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