Chia seeds are being touted as the latest ‘superfood.’
Yes, chia seeds, as in Chia Pets ™ of stuttering infomercial fame. It seems that the seeds are good for a lot more than just growing sprouts on ceramic doggies.
The nutrient-packed seeds are quickly making their way from the healthy fringe into the mainstream. They’re being added to energy bars, granola and other cereals; beverages; crackers, pretzels, and chips; cookies, muffins, and candy. You can buy them raw or toasted, salted or sweet, ground into chia flour, or in a packet of seeds to grow your own. They’re in health food stores and Whole Foods Markets, but you’ll also find them on the shelves of your local CVS or Walmart.
Like acai and goji berries and other trendy ‘superfoods’, chia seeds are prized for packing a big nutrient punch in a small package. Typically, these foods are considered ‘super’ because they are dense sources of disease-fighting nutrients like anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and essential fatty acids, and are often thought to confer health benefits. Chia seeds are all of that plus they are touted as a diet aid.
Chia seeds work as a weight-loss belly-filler.
The seeds are like little sponges; add them to juice, yogurt, or just water and they sop up nine times their weight in liquid. A tablespoon of the seeds becomes a cup full of tapioca-like gel that fills you up. Since it’s mostly slow-burning fiber you’ll feel fuller longer and your blood sugar won’t spike and crash.
But that’s like an added bonus. The real reason chia seeds have caught on is their nutritional profile.
Are you drinking milk for calcium or getting your omega-3 fatty acids from salmon? 2 tablespoons of chia seeds have twice the omega-3’s of fish oil and five times milk’s calcium and protein. They have three times the iron of spinach and triple the antioxidant strength of blueberries. They’re a complete protein and beat figs, prunes, legumes, kale, and bran for fiber content. And they’re gluten-free.
And the taste?
On their own there is a tiny bit of crunch and a very subtle nutty flavor if you’re looking for it. Chia seeds don’t really taste like much of anything; you’re not going to get excited about your morning chia, but they’re so neutral that you can add the seeds to just about anything.
Chia has come along way since the pet days.
Get some chia in your diet.
Sprinkle the seeds on salads and cereal, mix them into pancake batter and muffins, or add them like protein powder to smoothies. Get some more ideas from 40 Ways to use Chia Seeds.