Remember the chia heads and pets that were popular several years ago? You planted chia seeds in a doll planter and grass grew on top of the head. Well, it turns out that the same chia seeds are a very beneficial dietary supplement!
Chia seeds are a sacred Aztec and Mayan seed and have been a staple in their diet for centuries. Native to South America, chia seeds are rich in nutrients and anti-oxidants.
There is much talk today about the importance of Omega-3 fatty acids in one’s diet. I like getting Omega-3’s from a variety of animal and plant sources and chia seeds are one of the richest plant sources of Omega-3 essential fatty acids, specifically alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA). Omega-3’s reduce inflammation and high cholesterol, help support normal cardiovascular function and enhance cognitive performance.
Many people’s diets are low in fiber. Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber with 10 grams in only 2 tablespoons, or one-third of the daily recommended intake. Fiber is essential to support normal functioning of the digestive system and can help lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation.
Chia seeds are also rich in antioxidants with more antioxidant activity than blueberries. Antioxidants help protect the body from free radicals, aging and cancer. This high antioxidant profile gives chia seeds a long shelf life; they can last almost two years without refrigeration.
Chia seeds are also high in minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and manganese. They can be digested whole and do not need to be ground to obtain their nutritional benefits.
Another important benefit? Chia seeds are gluten-free and gluten allergies are a growing problem today. My husband has even noticed his hair has become fuller after adding chia seeds to his diet.
How do you eat this nutritional powerhouse? I add them to my smoothie in the morning, but you can sprinkle them on yogurt, cereal or even in salads. They can be added to baked goods or simply enjoyed as a snack. Chia seeds are satiating too due to their high fiber content, protein and gelling action when mixed with liquids. My smoothie holds me easily until lunch. One tablespoon daily is the suggested serving. You can buy chia seeds at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and natural food stores.
So become a chia head – you’ll be healthier for it!
Information compiled from: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/top-10-health-benefits-chia-seeds-6962.html and spectrum essentials.