I’ve been obsessed with colors this autumn season. While north central Washington doesn’t have the dramatic change of leaf color from deciduous trees in the same way the northeast does, we do have spectacular contrasting colors – if you look closely enough. There’s the blue-green of the sagebrush against the wheat colored dried grasses, or the bright green wolf-lichen attached to dark brown bark. I’ve also loved the rusty hues of yellow dock seeds along the edges of meadows and roads.
Amidst all these natural hues, the bright red rose hips really pop out of the landscape. These luscious gems are tart trailside nibbles – filled with nutrients like bioflavonoids and vitamin C.
Vibrant colors in herbs and foods aren’t simply fun to look at, they can also indicate a high antioxidant content. Eating nutrient-dense foods that are high in antioxidants is one important way of modulating inflammation to decrease your risk of chronic inflammation.
Chronic inflammation is believed to be the source of many serious diseases, including heart disease and cancer. Eating a diet devoid of antioxidants could be a reason modern humans are seeing a significant spike in these diseases.
The following chia seed pudding recipe is one I’ve been making A LOT for the past year and I’m excited to share it with you. It’s super simple to make, delicious and packed with antioxidants.
Before we get to the recipe – here’s a look at the ingredients.
Rose Hips (Rosa spp.)
Long touted for their vitamin C content, rose hips are filled with numerous nutrients, including bioflavonoids that modulate inflammation. Here’s an excerpt from my book, Alchemy of Herbs, regarding some of the interesting research showing the many benefits of rose hips for heart health and inflammation.
In one study people were given 40 grams of rose hip powder daily for six weeks. At the end of the six weeks, there was a significant improvement in blood pressure and plasma cholesterol in the people taking the rose hip powder as compared with the control group.1
Rose seeds and rose hips have been the focus of several studies demonstrating their ability to modulate inflammation and decrease pain.2
To date, several studies have shown that the daily consumption of rose hips can reduce pain and improve general well-being in patients with osteoarthritis in the hips and knees and also benefit patients with rheumatoid arthritis.3 4 5
One study showed that rose hips reduced inflammatory markers like serum C-reactive protein in patients with osteoarthritis.6
I love tasting rose hips whenever I see them growing along the trail. They can range from sweet to downright tart or even bitter. Eating them fresh is the best way to get large amounts of vitamin C. While dried rose hips may not have as much vitamin C as fresh ones, as you can see from the studies above they still offer many benefits.
For this recipe you can use rose hips that you have harvested, de-seeded and dried. This can be fairly time consuming, especially if you eat this as frequently as I do! If you are short on time then I recommend getting them already prepared. I use dried and de-seeded rose hips from Mountain Rose Herbs.
All species of rose hips can be used – although some are tastier than others. If harvesting your own be sure to harvest in an area free of harmful soil contaminants.
Chia Seeds (Salvia hispanica)
Chia seeds are small flat seeds that come from a sage plant that grows in Mexico. The seeds are incredibly nutrient dense! They are high in antioxidants, fiber, ALA (alpha linolenic acid) and several minerals, including manganese, phosphorus, copper and selenium.7 8
The seeds are mucilaginous, forming a thick chia seed pudding when soaked in liquids. I recently had a cold that included a sore throat and a dry cough. The demulcent qualities of the chia seeds were wonderfully soothing.
Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherry juice is a delicious way to enjoy the many benefits of antioxidants. The juice has been shown to be mildly beneficial for reducing inflammation and for heart health.9 Several studies have shown tart cherry juice to be beneficial for people with insomnia.10
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia)
Deliciously aromatic and wonderfully warming, cinnamon is a tasty herb with many gifts. It has been widely studied for regulating blood glucose levels as well as addressing inflammation.11 12 13 In this recipe it pairs well with the tart flavors of the rose hips and cherry juice.
Rose Hip & Chia Seed Pudding
This simple recipe makes a delicious evening dessert or a yummy breakfast. Make it in the evening for breakfast the next day or in the morning for dessert that night. I like to serve it by adding sliced bananas or berries in a small bowl and then adding the chia seed pudding over it. For breakfast it goes well with granola.
What you’ll need…
- 1 cup tart cherry juice (250 ml)
- 1 cup coconut milk (250 ml)
- 1/4 cup chia seeds (45 grams)
- 1 cup water (250 ml)
- 1 tablespoon honey or to taste
- 1/2 cup dried and deseeded rose hips (75 grams)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1 banana, sliced (optional)
- Berries (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, etc.) (optional)
- Combine all the ingredients, except the optional bananas or fruit, into a medium bowl with a lid. This also fits well into a 1 quart glass canning jar.
- Stir well. Be sure there aren’t any clumps of rose hips or chia seeds in the bottom.
- Place in the fridge, covered, for 5 hours or until it thickens into a pudding consistency. If possible, stir once or twice while it is thickening.
- Serve warm or cold in small bowls.
Eat within three days.
Yield: 4 cups
A note on substitutions:
- You could use fresh rose hips – just be sure to remove all the seeds and chop them well. You may need to add a bit less of the liquids for it to turn into a thick pudding.
- I’ve also made this recipe with apple juice in place of the tart cherry juice. Any juice of your choice could be used.
Now I’d love to hear from you!
How do you like to enjoy rose hips?
Have you made chia seed pudding before?
Do you strive to get a lot of antioxidants in your meals?
Let me know in the comments below.
- Andersson, U., et al. “Effects of Rose Hip Intake on Risk Markers of Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Cross-Over Investigation in Obese Persons.” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 66, no. 5 (2012): 585–90. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2011.203. ↩
- Kharazmi, Arsalan, and Kaj Winther. “Rose Hip Inhibits Chemotaxis and Chemiluminescence of Human Peripheral Blood Neutrophils in Vitro and Reduces Certain Inflammatory Parameters in Vivo.” Inflammopharmacology 7, no. 4 (1999): 377–86. doi:10.1007/s10787-999-0031-y. ↩
- Rein, E., A. Kharazmi, and K. Winther. “A Herbal Remedy, Hyben Vital (Stand. Powder of a Subspecies of Rosa Canina Fruits), Reduces Pain and Improves General Wellbeing in Patients with Osteoarthritis—A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Randomised Trial.” Phytomedicine 11, no. 5 (2004): 383–91. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2004.01.001. ↩
- Winther, K., K. Apel, and G. Thamsborg. “A Powder Made from Seeds and Shells of a Rose-hip Subspecies (Rosa Canina) Reduces Symptoms of Knee and Hip Osteoarthritis: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial.” Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology 34, no. 4 (2005): 302–8. doi:10.1080/03009740510018624. ↩
- Willich, S. N., et al. “Rose Hip Herbal Remedy in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis—A Randomised Controlled Trial.” Phytomedicine 17, no. 2 (2010): 87–93. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2009.09.003. ↩
- Winther, K., E. Rein, and A. Kharazmi. “The Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Rose-Hip.” Inflammopharmacology 7, no. 1 (1999): 63–68. doi:10.1007/s10787-999-0026-8. ↩
- Marcinek, Katarzyna, and Zbigniew Krejpcio. “Chia Seeds (Salvia Hispanica): Health Promoting Properties and Therapeutic Applications – a Review.” Roczniki Panstwowego Zakladu Higieny 68, no. 2 (2017): 123-129. ↩
- Taga, M Silvia, E E Miller, and D E Pratt. “Chia Seeds As a Source of Natural Lipid Antioxidants.” Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society 61, no. 5 :doi:10.1007/BF02542169. ↩
- Keane, Karen M, Trevor W George, Costas L Constantinou, Meghan A Brown, Tom Clifford, and Glyn Howatson. “Effects of Montmorency Tart Cherry (Prunus Cerasus L.) Consumption on Vascular Function in Men with Early Hypertension.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 103, no. 6 (2016): doi:10.3945/ajcn.115.123869. ↩
- Howatson, Glyn, Phillip G Bell, Jamie Tallent, Benita Middleton, Malachy P McHugh, and Jason Ellis. “Effect of Tart Cherry Juice (Prunus Cerasus) on Melatonin Levels and Enhanced Sleep Quality.” European journal of nutrition 51, no. 8 (2012): doi:10.1007/s00394-011-0263-7. ↩
- Akilen, R., et al. “Glycated Haemoglobin and Blood Pressure-Lowering Effect of Cinnamon in Multi-Ethnic Type 2 Diabetic Patients in the UK: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Clinical Trial.” Diabetic Medicine 27, no. 10 (October 1, 2010): 1159–67. doi:10.1111/j.1464-5491.2010.03079.x. ↩
- Khan, Alam, et al. “Cinnamon Improves Glucose and Lipids of People with Type 2 Diabetes.” Diabetes Care 26, no. 12 (2003): 3215–18. doi:10.2337/diacare.26.12.3215. ↩
- Solomon, Thomas P. J., and Andrew K. Blannin. “Changes in Glucose Tolerance and Insulin Sensitivity Following 2 Weeks of Daily Cinnamon Ingestion in Healthy Humans.” European Journal of Applied Physiology 105, no. 6 (2009): 969–76. doi:10.1007/s00421-009-0986-9. ↩