Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

I first started making chia pudding when I began my job at Mother Earth’s. I learned about the health benefits and properties of chia seeds and how they work in recipes. They remind me of tapioca, but can be eaten raw. The recipe I used (which wasn’t one of my own) was ok but not great, so I only made it a few times. Chia seeds are on sale this month, so I decided to revisit this recipe idea with a few adjustments. Instead of almond milk, I used coconut milk and I also increased the cocoa powder and coconut sugar. You can adjust the sweetness according to your personal preference. The customers raved about this recipe. I’m glad I decided to try it again. Success!

Ingredients

1 (13-14 oz.) can coconut milk—mix well
3-4 tbs. coconut sugar (or other natural unrefined sugar)
¼ cup of chia seeds
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Combine the coconut milk and chia seeds. Stir in the cocoa powder, sugar, and vanilla. Let sit for at least 30 minutes or overnight until mixture has thickened. Stir and enjoy!

Health Benefits of Coconut and Chia Seeds

Coconuts and coconut milk have traditionally gotten a bad rap due to its high saturated fat levels. When coconut oil was first brought to the U.S., there was a lot of negative hype about it because it contains high levels of saturated fat. People were concerned that it increased cholesterol and contributed to heart disease—but this is a myth. It actually lowers cholesterol and reduces the chances of heart disease. This is because its fat content is simply changed into energy, lessening the likelihood of fat buildup in the arteries and heart. Weight Loss: New research has revealed that not eating enough fat can actually make you fat. According to Bruce Fife, N.D. in his article: The Fat that Can Make You Thin; people who include more healthy fats in their diet, such as the medium-chain triglycerides in coconut milk, eat less than those who don’t get enough fat. While all fats help the body feel full and satiate the brain receptors that control appetite, the fat in coconut milk may increase metabolism and perhaps increase weight loss on a reduced-calorie diet.

Immune System Health: Coconut milk contains lauric acid, antimicrobial lipids and capric acid, which have antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. The body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which may fight the viruses and bacteria that cause herpes, influenza and even HIV. According to a study led by Dr. Gilda Sapphire Erguiza, a pediatric pulmonologist at the Philippine Children's Medical Center in Quezon City, children with pneumonia who were treated with antibiotics and coconut oil benefited more than those taking the

Heart Disease: The medium-chain saturated fatty acids in coconut milk may also improve heart health. A study in Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that Filipino women who ate more coconut oil had healthier blood lipid profiles, a major determinant of heart disease. The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut milk may also kill the three major types of atherogenic organisms — bacteria that cause plaque formation in the arteries — that may lead to heart disease.

Healthy Skin and Hair: Coconut milk is highly nutritious when ingested, and these nutrients may help fortify and condition skin and hair as well. The fatty acids in coconut milk are a natural antiseptic and may help treat dandruff, skin infections, wounds and dry, itchy skin. Furthermore, the high fatty acid content in coconut milk serves as a natural moisturizer for healthy skin and may help repair wrinkles and sagging in aging skin.

Immunity: Eating coconuts are excellent for one’s immunity. They are antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-parasitic, meaning they kill harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Because of that, if you consume coconut in any of its various forms (whether it be raw coconut, coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut butter, etc.), it can help treat some of mankind’s worst and most resilient of illnesses such as influenza, giardia, lice, throat infections, urinary tract infections, tapeworms, herpes, gonorrhea, bronchitis, and numerous other ailments caused by microbials.

Whether you’re eating the meat, drinking the juice, or consuming it as oil, coconuts are a delicious and nutritious source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It has tons of calcium, potassium, and magnesium, as well as plenty of electrolytes. In fact, coconut water is known to have the same electrolyte levels as human plasma, and has even been used for plasma transfusions! The oil is excellent for keeping one young and beautiful. Its antioxidant properties slow down the aging process by protecting the body from harmful free radicals. Coconut oil is also known to treat skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis. It also helps hair to become more healthy and lustrous. It’s a great alternative if you don’t want to use a leave-in conditioner. Eating coconuts also supports the development of strong, healthy bones and teeth. It does this by improving the body’s ability to absorb calcium and magnesium. It also prevents osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones become thin and fragile and lose their density. This makes coconuts a good, healthy alternative for those who are lactose intolerant, but still want to have strong bones and teeth. Those who prefer a vegan diet can benefit from it as a good source of protein and fatty acids.

CHIA SEEDS

Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3s in chia seeds can help reduce inflammation, enhance cognitive performance and reduce high cholesterol.

Fiber: Fiber is associated with reducing inflammation, lowering cholesterol and regulating bowel function. Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, with a whopping 10 grams in only 2 tablespoons. That is one-third of the daily recommended intake of fiber per day.

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