Chia seeds have finally become mainstream in Ireland having enjoyed some spectacular adulation across the Atlantic. Everyone from Alicia Silverstone to Cher (remember her?) is tapping into chiamania. Seems like an easier way to get those coveted omega-3 fats without having to neck back fish oil.
What’s so snazzy about omega-3s?
Diets deficient in omega-3 fats have been linked to angry skin conditions, raised blood pressure, poor concentration and delinquent hormones. This is because omega-3s are thought to be vital to the structure of every cell in our body. Without omega-3s, sounds like we manufacture substandard cells. Not an attractive proposition. Think gazelle or tortoise. Which would you rather?
So will taking omega-3 fats cure mental atrophy, sagging boobs and heart disease?
No. But strong evidence suggests it can help. That’s enough.
You’ll find nice amounts of omega-3 in milled chia seeds, the basis of this recipe. It’s worth noting that the type of omega-3 fatty acids found in chia are slightly different than those found in oily fish. Chia contains ALA, the precursor to EPA and DHA fatty acids. You’ve probably come across these confusing terms at the pharmacy when choosing omega-3 supplements. In short, it has been argued that EPA and DHA are easier for the body to absorb. As a result, the omega-3s present in oily fish like mackerel are thought to be superior to those found in plants such as chia and flax.
But! Chia offers a suite of other goodies including more calcium than milk (p/g), banks of potassium, bone-building boron and cholesterol-reducing fibre. My advice is to merrily munch both. The only certainty we can be assured of is that science constantly revises itself, and that every human body is different and functions differently.
Department of queer information …
Chia seeds can swell up to ten times their own weight, making them an excellent choice for weight watchers by making us feel fuller for longer. Not a bad choice for your pipes either. These teeny black seeds don’t taste of anything, but has a mouth-feel similar to poppy seeds.
Chia are best soaked, or milled and added to recipes like this one (unless you enjoy spending an evening with a toothpick).
Chocolate Chia Bon Bons
These are bonbons with a mission. Almonds contain vitamin E, a royal antioxidant and patron of eternal youth. Chia have vertiginous amounts of omega-3 for a seed. And tahini is crammed with B vitamins to nourish spent adrenals, low batteries and patience levels. Quite the bomb.
60ml / ¼ cup tahini
60ml / Nearly ¼ cup maple syrup
45g / ½ cup milled chia seed
4 tablespoons ground almonds
2 tablespoons raw cacao or cocoa powder
5 tablespoons desiccated coconut
With a fork, beat the tahini and maple syrup together. Once the tahini mixture is all glossy and luscious, measure in the remaining ingredients and encourage them to fraternise. A wooden spoon is useful.
Taking a small cherry-size ball of mixture, roll between the palms of your hands to form a bonbon. Drop each one into desiccated coconut, roll around to coat, and let set on a cold plate. As soon as 30 or so bonbons are made, store in the fridge and plunder at will.
One of 140 recipes in The Extra Virgin Kitchen, out Feb 14th 2014