If you were alive during the 1980s, you probably remember Chia Pet®. Maybe you even had one of your own. If you associate chia seeds with those silly products, you might be very surprised to learn that the seeds have myriad health benefits. They’re surprisingly easy to include in your regular diet, too.
What Are Chia Seeds, Anyway?
Related to mint, the salvia hispanica plant is commonly used in Mexico and several South American countries. Chia seeds and sprouts can be eaten and prepared in a wide variety of ways. The sprouts are often called “micro greens,” along with many other tiny sprouts used to add flavor and texture to culinary creations. The seeds can be absorbed by the body whole, but they may be prepared in other ways for different dishes.
Though claims about their ability to aid in weight loss may be a myth, chia seeds pack loads of nutrition into tiny little packages. This superfood contains protein, dietary fiber, phosphorus, manganese, calcium, and potassium. It boasts antioxidants, such as caffeic acid, chlorogenic acids, quercetin, and kaempferol. Chia seeds are full of Omega-3 fatty acids, even more per serving than flaxseed. All these great nutrients mean chia seeds are good for your bones, teeth, blood sugar, heart function, and even your skin.
How to Add Chia Seeds to Your Diet
If you’re already adding ground flaxseed to your meals, you know it’s pretty easy to add some ground up seed to just about anything. Chia seeds have a very light, nutty flavor that isn’t overpowering. You won’t have to worry about balancing strong flavors or trying to hide them in something. They can be eaten whole or ground, used as a thickening agent, and as breadcrumbs. They can also be soaked, which creates a jelly-like substance you can use to make pudding. Now that you know how nutritious and versatile they are, let’s talk chow.
Chia Seed Recipes
We curated a list of five of the most delicious chia recipes around the Web. Give them a try.
Fresca is a traditional chia recipe. This one combines mint, cucumber, honey, and lime juice to created a refreshing, energizing drink.
This tasty dessert packs 10 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein per serving. This version is made with ice so it takes less time to set up. Not only is it super healthy and delicious, it’s also totally vegan.
This tasty little recipe includes instructions for how to sprout your chia seeds. Make the recipe for a cool appetizer or snack, then learn how to store your extra chia sprouts for later use.
A wonderful collection of fall flavors, this pudding also includes coconut milk, honey, and optional probiotic powder. It is a cornucopia of nutrients.
Create breading for your own chicken tenders using panko, pecans, coconut flakes, and chia seeds. This recipe also includes instructions for spicy orange dipping sauce.
If you’re looking for ways to include more Omega-3s, fiber, or protein to your diet, chia seeds are a great way to get a boost. Not only can you grind them up and toss them in a smoothie, yogurt, hot cereal, or other meals you already eat, but you can use them to create wonderful new meals, too. They can be purchased in most grocery stores, usually in the baking aisle, for a reasonable price. So give them a try and enjoy this excellent little superfood in your diet.