I recently jumped on the chia seed bandwagon. No I did not buy a chia pet, I bought chia seeds. I noticed chia seeds becoming a big thing in the healthy living realm within the last year, but just hadn’t gotten around to trying them.
What are chia seeds?
They are little seeds that have a nutty flavor and can be incorporated into many different foods and dishes. Chia seeds come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica and are a member of the mint family. They have been around for centuries and originated in Southern Mexico.
What’s so great about them?
Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and actually have more than flax seeds. They are more easily digestible than flax seeds as well, making the omega-3’s more readily available for your body. Chia seeds are full of antioxidants and fiber. They also contain calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin and zinc.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids, meaning our bodies require them, but do not produce them. We must obtain omega-3’s from our diets. Omega-3 fatty acids are important for brain functions and work to stabilize moods and prevent/treat depression. They are also key for immune health. Omega-3’s have been shown to lower risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure to control hypertension, and treat fatigue. All in all, they are key to maintaining good health, mentally and physically, and chia seeds are an excellent source. There are 2.4g of omega-3’s in every tablespoon of chia seeds.
(info from www.drweil.com)
How can you incorporate chia seeds into your diet?
Chia seeds can be added to just about anything since they have a neutral flavor. I like to sprinkle them on yogurt, in cereal, on toast with pb, or on a salad. You can also add them to baked goods, granola, or smoothies. If you mix chia seeds with water or milk for 30minutes they will form a gel, kind of like tapioca. You can mix in some cocoa powder or other flavoring and eat it as pudding if you like that consistency (I personally do not like gelatinous things). The Bob’s Red Mill brand has two recipes on the back that sound interesting. I really want to try the Lemon Chia Bread.
Where do you buy chia seeds?
I bought a bag at the Vitamin Shoppe, but chia seeds are available in many grocery stores. Bob’s Red Mill products can be found at Stop and Shop, Target, Big Y, Ocean State Job lot, Whole Foods, and other select grocery stores. You’re most likely to find chia seeds in the natural section, supplement section or possibly the baking section depending on the store. The 12-oz bag of Spectrum Essentials brand I bought was about $8 and contains ~28 one-tablespoon servings.
Bottom Line: Chia seeds are nutritional powerhouses with numerous health benefits, little known side effects, neutral flavor and can be added to just about anything to boost the nutrition. I recommend giving them a try 🙂