Chia seeds have made a comeback in the 21st century. Originally eaten by the Aztecs and the Mayans, these non-gluten seeds are packed with nutrients including omega-3s, protein and fiber. They’re seen in both black and white, although white is preferred due to its almost invisibility when baking. Find out why they’ve become the new hot item.
Why we should eat them:
1. Excellent source of omega-3s, which decrease inflammation, necessary in creating a balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fats, which increase inflammation. It’s great for non-fish eaters, as this can serve as a replacement!
2. High in fiber, which also helps to reduce inflammation, lowers cholesterol, and regulates our digestive system. But don’t consume more than 1.5 ounce a day, as that can leave us with an upset stomach.
3. Helps in weight loss: When chia seeds are soaked, they form a gel-like substance, which takes longer to digest, leaving you feeling full for longer. Eat chia seeds before your meal and you’re bound to eat less during your meal.
4. Hydrates the body
5. Can help lower blood pressure
6. Prevents high blood sugar spikes, helping to combat Type II diabetes
7. Maintains bone health and can prevent osteoporosis, due to its high source of calcium
8. Good source of protein—great for vegetarians.
How to eat them:
1. Put a tablespoon of chia seeds into your water bottle and shake well. That’s an easy way to get protein after your workout!
2. Drop a tablespoon into your fruit juice or smoothies.
2. Put the seeds into waffle or pancake mix, cake, cookies or bread batter. It’ll add nutrients without altering the taste!
4. Add some to your dressing.
5. Sprinkle them onto your yogurt!
How much to eat: two daily doses of about 20 g each (1.5 ounces total)
Where to get them: I’ll admit, chia seeds may be hard to find, as they are grown mostly in Mexico and Bolivia. Your local Whole Foods will have them, as well as some health stores. They can also be found online, but be cautious when purchasing these seeds. Maria J. Clifford, a licensed dietician at the Kennedy Health Institute in Washington, advises us to avoid chia seeds that were made in China, those that are not 100% pure and not certified. Chia seeds tend to be pricey, (where a 14 oz. bag can cost about $14), but purchasing cheap seeds can be risky, as it may be of lower quality, and possibly made from GMOs.
As chia seeds are just beginning to boom, new ways of incorporating these seeds into our meals are constantly being developed. Share your ideas with Lil’ Fit Birdie and perhaps it’ll be featured on my blog!
Maria J. Clifford from Kennedy Health Institute in Washington: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byS0vL1B078