Every so often, a health or fitness trend comes along that seems to catch fire in some circles, but remain a mystery to others. Such is the case with chia seeds. It seems like they’re everywhere these days, but after asking two friends about them, I got puzzled looks and questions:
“Are you talking about things you rub on the [Chia] pets?”
What I was referring to are chia seeds, which are being added to an increasing number of healthy food products to increase the amount of protein. In case you were wondering, they are actually the same seeds used on the famous Chia Pets.
If you want another more commonly known item to relate to the chia trend, think about flax seeds. They weren’t big until about five years ago when people learned of their high Omega-3 fatty acid and fiber contents. Now, you can find mass manufactured flax cereals and bars at any grocery store.
A single tablespoon of chia seeds contains 2280mg of Omega-3’s and 5 grams of dietary fiber. To achieve a similar nutritional profile with flax, you’d need to eat about 1.5 tablespoons. This might not sound like a big difference, but since chia seeds are much smaller than flax seeds (visualize the size of cracked pepper), they don’t need to be ground up to add to many items. Whole flax seeds will sometimes, um, “pass” without much visible change, if you catch my drift.
So grab some chia and start sprinkling it around your everyday foods like salads, in soups, oatmeal, and smoothies. They fit most every dietary requirement: raw, vegan, lactose-free, nut-free (just check how it’s manufactured if you have severe allergies.) It’s amazing how much goodness these little seeds carry. You may even see chia-infused beverages at the grocery, which are interesting because chia turns into a gel-like substance when covered with water, so the chia seeds stay suspended in the liquid, yet are surprisingly pleasant to drink.
Want to know how others are using chia?
- One of my favorite bloggers and probably the most chia-crazed person I know, Carla from MizFitOnline. She’ll show you how to make chia jelly.
- Fun with chia courtesy of Kymberly and Alexandria of Fun and Fit.
- Something you need to taste to believe (and love): Triple almond chia pudding from Everyday Maven
Do you chia? Share your experiences and recipes or links below!