Chia seeds have exploded in popularity in recent years. Food companies are adding the seeds to cereals, breads, drinks, puddings, bars and many other foods you throw into your shopping cart. Even smoothies are getting chia seeds added to them. Let’s examine the health benefits of this seed and whether you should add them to your diet.
Chia Seeds: What Are They?
Chia seeds are members of the mint family. Ancient seeds once cultivated by the Aztecs, they grow most readily in Mexico and the U.S. Southwest.
An ounce of chia seeds (about 2 tablespoons) contains 138 calories, 10 grams of fiber, 9 grams of fat and 5 grams of protein, as well as 17 percent of your daily calcium needs, 12 percent of your iron and 23 percent of your magnesium. As for flavor, there isn’t much, so you won’t really notice ‘em in your food, except for the little bit of crunch and bump they add to the texture.
These seeds have several health benefits:
- Eating chia seeds is perhaps the easiest way to get omega-3 fatty acids, which are super important to brain health. A single one-ounce serving contains 5 grams of omega-3’s.
- Add a small amount of water and you’ll see them turn into a kind of gel. This is the soluble fiber going to work. Soluble fiber bulks up stool, feeds friendly bacteria in the gut and helps slow digestion to make you feel satisfied. It also helps manage blood sugar. One serving provides a third of your daily fiber.
- These seeds are high in calcium, phosphorus, and manganese content.
Chia Seeds: Best Way To Eat Them
Today, these seeds are the craze of the nutrition world. Here are some ways to incorporate them into your favorite foods:
- Try them as a topping on yogurt, mixed into bread dough, or tossed into muffin or pancake batter. Recipes are easy to find.
- Have your chia any time of day. Try an avocado-and-chia smoothie, and it couldn’t be simpler. They’re also suitable for any meal; breakfast, lunch, or supper, or as a snack.
- Don’t buy chia products or foods with chia in them and think you’re automatically getting something healthful. Read the labels and make sure the product isn’t full of sugar, chemicals, and fillers.