Chia seeds are usually eaten by the tablespoon, but they can be sprinkled on oatmeal and cereal and baked into bread much like flax. However, they have no discernible flavor or texture, making them more discrete as a mix-in.
Chia seeds are very nutrient-dense, making them a valuable diet supplement. Many people turn to chia seeds as a source of fiber. One ounce of chia seeds contains 42 percent of one’s fiber needs for the day.
Chia seeds are also high in omega-3 fatty acids. The health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids have been the subject of a lot of media buzz over the past two years, and for good reason.
Omega-3s help reduce inflammation, metabolize fat, and improve the nerve, skin and eyes. Due to their anti-inflammatory properties, omega-3s also help prevent cardiovascular disease.
“If I were to print out a list of everything it (omega-3) does for your body, the printout would be about a quarter of an inch thick,” said Steve Malson, owner and manager of Bountiful Nutrition.
The most important reason to take omega-3s as a supplement is the body cannot produce them; they must be obtained through diet alone.
Unfortunately, the only significant natural sources of omega-3s are several types of fish like pink salmon and trout. According to Malson, these fish would have to be eaten “five nights a week” to obtain the same amount of omega-3s a tablespoon of chia seeds provides.
Though they have not yet entered the mainstream food culture, chia seeds are growing in popularity.
Wynter Holden, author of the food blog “The Cooking Virgin,” wrote that she was inspired by a dessert she had at the Sprouts Wellness Restaurant and Juice Bar in Arizona and decided to try and make a dessert out of chia seeds herself.
“The chia seeds ended up with a texture somewhere between boba (tapioca balls) and the jellylike slime that coats canned ham,” Holden wrote, “but the dessert itself was tasty.”
If the jellylike slime that coats canned ham isn’t your thing, you can also eat chia seeds in sprout form.
“Sprouts are very popular today. They’re packed with nutrients and they’re easy to grow,” said Mindy Klubnikin, a certified nutritional health counselor in Bountiful. “It’s something anybody can grow themselves.”
Think about it – if you’ve ever owned a chia pet, you already have.
So next time a friend or relative gives you one of those funny-looking green-headed gifts, shake their hand and thank them for caring so much about your health…then ask them if they want to come over for dinner in three to five days.