Friday, 6 September 2013

Arthritis Friendly Recipe: Almond and Chia Shortbread

Today, I've got a lovely gluten, dairy and egg free recipe for all those with arthritis who are on special diets. I made these for our Arthritis Research UK Great British Garden Party and they were a huge hit with everyone who attended. The basic recipe lends itself well to adaptations, so try using hazelnuts and some cocoa powder or adding some lemon zest or ginger. Have a look at the arthritis diet notes section at the end of the recipe to learn more about chia seeds and arthritis.

Ingredients:
175g gluten free flour
75g almonds
100g light brown soft sugar
1 tbsp chia seeds (or you could use ground flax/linseeds)
50ml almond milk or water
2 tablespoons golden syrup (or maple syrup)
2 tablespoons sunflower oil (or you could use rapeseed etc)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

Makes 20
 
Put the chia seeds in a bowl with the almond milk and leave to soak for 5 minutes.Then combine with the syrup, oil, vanilla extract and salt. 

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until you have a stiff dough. Roll into a log and wrap in cling film. Put in the freezer for 20 minutes.
 
Remove the dough from the freezer and slice into 20 3/4 inch thick rounds.
 
Place on a baking sheet and bake at 180C/350F for 15 minutes or until just golden around the edges. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to crisp up.
 

Arthritis diet notes:
Chia seeds are a very small, dark round seeds that have been used in bread baking for years. They have recently become popular and touted as a 'superfood' in the media because of their high omega 3 content and ability to form a gel when added to fluids. From my perspective, they are a useful baking ingredient in gluten-free recipes as they help bind mixtures together. They are also a good way to add a boost of healthy omega 3 fatty acids. However, I don't think they are a miracle ingredient for people with arthritis. You would need to eat an awful lot of them to get a decent dose of omega 3 fatty acids and plant sources lack the fatty acid compounds DHA and EPA that have been shown to be effective in reducing arthritis inflammation. If you are vegetarian, then you might find chia seeds a useful addition to your diet to help you get enough omega 3, alongside other sources such as flax (linseeds), almonds and walnuts.

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