Chia seeds have become all the rage lately, but many of us still can’t get the picture of the green fur of a Chia pet out of our heads. So, what exactly are chia seeds?
Chia seeds come from a desert plant that is a member of the mint family. They are believed to have originated in Central America and traveled to the U.S. by use of Native Americans. Nutritionally, chia seeds have gained attention because they contain omega-3 fatty acids, high fiber, protein and sources of minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. Research has shown that including these seeds in your diet may help low cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure thus decreasing overall cardiovascular risk factors. More studies still need to be completed to determine specific benefits of these seeds.
To incorporate these seeds into the diet, you can add them to many recipes and dishes. They have a gelatinous component so they make dishes thicker. I often include chia seeds in my oatmeal, smoothies or Greek yogurt. Many people also include them in salad and soups.
Give these little seeds a try and let me know how you use them in your recipes!
*Information and photo from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at Eatright.org
Katherine Horner, MS, RD, LD, NASM-CPT, CES
Surgical Weight Loss Dietitian & Exercise Specialist