When you hear the word chia, your mind probably goes to those commercials with the fuzzy green novelty items that would grow a full coat within one to two weeks. Well, chia seeds are the reason why those Chia Pets get their lush, green coating. Fast-forward a few decades, those same chia seeds are being sold online and in health food stores. Chia seeds are becoming better known as a superfood with a great source of healthy omega-3 fats, fiber, protein, antioxidants and calcium.
What are chia seeds?
Chia is an edible seed that is derived from the desert plant Salvia hispanica. It is native to Mexico and Guatemala, and history suggests that chia seeds were a very important food crop for the Mayan and Aztec cultures. “Chia” means strength, and folklore has it that these cultures used the tiny black and white seeds as an energy booster. That makes sense, as evidence have proven that chia seeds aid in digestion, lowering cholesterol and stabilizes blood sugar.
Chia seeds also contain calcium, manganese and phosphorus. Chia seeds are an unprocessed, whole-grain food that can be absorbed by the body as seeds, and unlike flax seeds, they can be eaten whole or milled. Integrating chia seeds into your food is easy; they’re tasteless and they will not affect the flavor profile of your food.
How to add them to your diet and the benefits
So once you’ve got your chia seeds how do you add them? Well, that’s the fun part! You can sprinkle them whole on top of salads, toast or added milled to your smoothies. You can even add them to your ice cream!
Check out 10 reasons why you should add them to your diet:
RELATED: What’s the Best Diet for Preventing Heart Disease?
1. Have a healthy heart
According to the Cleveland Clinic, chia seeds have been shown to improve blood pressure in diabetics, and may also increase healthy cholesterol while lowering total LDL and triglyceride cholesterol.
2. Balance blood sugar
Chia is being studied as a potential natural treatment for type-2 diabetes because of its ability to slow down digestion. Both the gelling action of the seed and its unique combination of soluble and insoluble fiber combine to slow down your body’s conversion of starches into sugars. If you eat chia with a meal, it will help you turn your food into constant, steady energy rather than a series of ups and downs that wear you out.
3. Don’t kill my fiber
Just a 28-gram or one-ounce serving of chia has 11 grams of dietary fiber — about a third of the