May 16th, 2013

Kitchen Talk: Chia Seeds

CH CH CH CHIA!! Come on, admit it, you know you thought it. And yes, these are the same seeds that were on infomercials all those years ago trying to sell you a furry little plant pet. However, these seeds were originally eaten by the Mayan and Aztecs thousands of years ago. Today, these little seeds draw the interest of many people for their many health benefits. It turns out the South American staple is a rich source of nutrients and antioxidants.

I, in no wise claim to be a health professional. I first caught on to chia seeds just over a year ago as I started training for my first marathon. There were so many benefits I couldn’t ignore them. I even had to special order them from an online health store. Today, however they are widely available. I even found them at my Costco recently. What is even better about them is that they last for a long time, there isn’t much worry about them going rancid. So go ahead and buy in bulk!

Here are some of the benefits of Chia Seeds that I have found and love:

  • Chia is packed full of antioxidants, with studies showing 3 times the amounts contained in blueberries!
  • Chia contains twice the amount of potassium as a banana, and 3 times as much iron as spinach.
  • Chia seeds are rich in polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds’ lipid profile is composed of 60 percent omega-3s, making them one of the richest plant-based sources of these fatty acids — specifically, of alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA. The omega-3s in chia seeds can help reduce inflammation, enhance cognitive performance and reduce high cholesterol.
  • Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, with a whopping 10 grams in only 2 tablespoons. That is one-third of the daily recommended intake of fiber per day.  Fiber is associated with reducing inflammation, lowering cholesterol and regulating bowel function.
  • Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 18 percent of the DRI for calcium, 35 percent for phosphorus, 24 percent for magnesium and about 50 percent for manganese. These nutrients help you prevent hypertension and maintain a healthy weight, and are important for energy metabolism and a part of DNA synthesis.
  • Reports suggest that chia seeds may help weight loss, by slowing the speed our bodies break down carbohydrates, which stabilizes blood sugar levels, and even by blocking some uptake of calories. And since the seeds retain so much water, they can help a dieter feel fuller for longer.

Now, that we know some of the benefits of these amazing little seeds.  How do we eat them?  Easy!  Chia seeds can be thrown into smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, baked goods, juice and even your water.  There really is no right or wrong way to incorporate chia seeds into your diet.   There is so much more information out there than I have given you here.  Coming up we will show you some ways to use chia seeds, like how about a chia seed pudding??  If you have a favorite way of using chia seeds I would LOVE to hear about it!!

Sources: Shape Magazine, gnet.org and Healthy Eating

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One Response to “Kitchen Talk: Chia Seeds”

  1. I add Chia Seeds to most my dishes, even if it is just a sprinkle on salads. I also add chia to my protein smoothies ever day. The chia seed do thicken the smoothie to a pudding consistency, so if I want to eat my smoothy instead of drink it, I let the smoothie sit for 15 minutes in the refrigerator. Instant dessert.

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