It's been a busy few weeks over here (with a nice, much-needed long weekend spent with family in Hermanus somewhere in between). To be honest with you, I almost forgot to type up this blog post until late last night. I am in the process of working on an exciting new project in between completing assignments and writing tests at university, as well as being a wife. Luckily things are getting back to normal, and a routine is slowly being established once again. I have so many delicious recipes to share with you, but just need to make time to type them up and share them, so don't worry, there is lots of goodness coming your way on Taste & See in the next few weeks :)
One recipe that has been waiting in the archives for quite some time is this delicious Berry Beet Chia Pudding. I had a bunch of beetroots in my fridge that needed using up a couple of months ago and had to find inventive ways of using them up in breakfast, lunch, and dinner items. This chia pudding is one of the tastier results of my need to not waste food :) In terms of the nutritional value of this recipe, there is so much to be said about the goodness found in chia seeds, berries, and beetroot, but I don't have much time to share everything here today. I will have to do a post at a later stage that delves into the specific health benefits and nutritional profile of chia seeds and berries, but for now, you can read a bit about beetroot in this post.
Berry Good for You
For now, though here are a few reasons why berries are amongst the healthiest foods on the planet, and why including them in your diet is a good idea :
1. Berries are packed with beneficial antioxidants
Antioxidants help neutralise free radicals in the body. Lots of free radicals in the body are known to damage cells, so keeping them to a minimum is a good idea. Antioxidants may help protect against things cancers and have the potential to protect one's skin against damage and wrinkling that contributes to ageing.
2. Berries help fight inflammation
This is thanks to their high antioxidant content. Inflammation is one of modern man's worst enemies, with excessive stress, inadequate activity, and poor diet all contributing to it. Chronic inflammation has been associated with the development of many chronic diseases, so lowering inflammation through the consumption of foods that have been shown to reduce inflammation is a great idea. Berries may help to reduce inflammation in the body and decrease your risk of developing a number of chronic lifestyle diseases.
3. Berries are pretty good at improving blood sugar and insulin response when eaten along with higher-carbohydrate foods.
4. Berries contain lots of fibre
This includes soluble fibre, which has been shown to slow down the movement of food through your GI tract. This helps to promote satiety and reduce hunger.
5. Berries are full of nutrients!
They are a great source of many important nutrients including vitamin C, manganese, vitamin K, and copper, yet aren't high in calories.
6. Berries are good for your heart
They may help lower LDL cholesterol levels, as well as protect LDL particles from being oxidised in the body. Oxidised LDL particles are believed to be a major risk factor for heart disease, so preventing this from happening is great for heart health. In addition to these advantages, berries may also help keep your arteries healthy. Excessive inflammation in arteries can result in endothelial dysfunction, which is a big risk factor for heart disease.
7. Berries are DELICIOUS.
Both on their own and in healthy recipes. Berries are naturally sweet and pair well with so many ingredients. They can be eaten as a snack, either on their own or paired with things like yoghurt, cottage cheese, or chopped nuts. They can also be used in smoothies, salads, and desserts.
Total time: 5min
For the chia pudding:
- 1/2 cup chia seeds
- 2 1/4 cups milk / milk alternative / half-milk half-water
- 1/2 cup mixed berries, fresh or frozen
- 1/2 cup beetroot, raw or steamed
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice (optional)
- 1 handful fresh mint leaves (optional)
- 1/3-1/2 cup plain yoghurt / coconut yoghurt each
- Granola / toasted seeds
- Toasted coconut
- Fresh / frozen berries
- Blend together the milk, berries, beetroot, vanilla, honey, and lemon juice (and mint leaves, optional).
- Place the chia seeds into a bowl or medium-sized jar and stir in the blended mixture. Make sure to incorporate well before placing the bowl/jar in the fridge overnight.
- In the morning, remove the chia pudding from the fridge and mix a bit to loosen up the mixture. Spoon into two bowls/smaller jars, and top with yoghurt and granola, berries, mixed seeds, and/or toasted coconut. Enjoy!
- This should keep in the fridge for 5 days in an airtight container. You can always make a bigger batch and enjoy over a few days.