Remember Chia pets? Throughout my childhood, I probably had 5 or 6 of them. Every time I got one, I'd carefully spread the seeds on the ceramic case, set it in sunlight, and dutifully water it. For about three days. Then I'd completely forget about it until my sad little saplings were droopy and dying.
As it turns out, I would have been much better off ignoring the ceramics and buying chia seeds alone.
- Reduce plaque buildup in your arteries, lowering your cholesterol
- Lower the risk of heart disease and stroke
- Are rich in many essential nutrients
In fact, a single ounce of chia seeds contains 42% of your daily value of fiber!
Chia seeds come from a plant called Salvia Hispanica, and were a staple of Aztec and Mayan diets. Most of their health benefits come from the fact that these little seeds are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids. People and cultures with diets rich in Omega-3s report lower rates of heart disease, stroke and cholesterol.
Plus, because of their high fiber content, chia seeds turn into a gel when mixed with water. Not only is water and chia seeds a delicious beverage in parts of Mexico, but some researchers suspect that the gel coats your intestines, slowing the absorption of carbohydrates and preventing blood sugar spikes. Authority Nutrition states that theoretically, this should increase fullness and help you automatically eat fewer calories.
There are dozens of ways to add chia seeds to your diet:
- Sprinkle them on salads, sandwiches, cereal, pudding, or yogurt. They have a slightly nutty taste, which offers a nice kick to any meal while also increasing its nutritional value.
- Use as a gluten substitute in gluten free baking. Because chia seeds turn into a gel when wet, they're often included in recipes for breads (though keep bread to a minimum in your diet) and other dishes.
- To get maximum nutritional value, eat the whole seed, rather than chia seed oil or a supplement. Chia seeds are easier to incorporate into your diet than flax seeds, which have to be ground and cannot be stored overnight.
- Keep your daily caloric intake targets in mind. Chia seeds are relatively high in calories. While the protein, fat and fiber boost (not to mention the Omega-3s and Omega-6s) you're getting makes them worth the calories, you want to moderate how much you eat.
"Make me for breakfast..."
Chia seeds provide remarkable health benefits and provide an energy boost throughout the day. These recently rediscovered little seeds certainly deserve a place in the pantheon of superfoods and will super charge your diet.