A few months ago, I did a seminar at the Running Store (a fabulous local running/walking store in Gainesville, VA). One of the attendees told me that she was using the Chia seed at home so it sparked my interest. Here is what I found out . . .and yes, they are one of my new favorite things!
This edible seed comes from a desert plant that was highly regarded by the Aztecs and Mayans 3,000 years ago. What caught my attention, being a runner, is that it was considered the “running food” by the Aztec and Mayan messengers because they said it made them able to run forever. Don’t know if I am experiencing that effect but we do know that this seed, which resembles a poppy seed, is packed with nutrition!
The Chia seed is high in antioxidants (some research says more than fresh blueberries), high in ALA Omega-3 fatty acids for heart health, a hefty dose of fiber, calcium, and potassium. Because of the high antioxidant content, the seeds will not go rancid and have a longer shelf life as compared to flax seeds that have also grown in popularity for their high omega-3 fatty acid content. Be leery of some of the claims they are anti-aging and aid in weight loss. There has not been research to support these claims but hey, I will eat a tablespoon a day if I could possibly not get another gray hair! There was a study in 2007 that concluded that diabetics who ate chia seeds had a lower risk of cardiovascular problems. I think we will be hearing more about this seed in the future and the multiple benefits it can provide.
So, where do you find them and how do you eat them? First, usually they are in the organic or health food section of your grocery store. I found mine at Wegmans and the brand is “Spectrum Essentials.” There are different ways that they can be used. I sprinkle a tablespoon into my yogurt. You could also sprinkle them into smoothies or hot cereal. Add the seeds while making baked goods, like banana bread. You can add water to the seeds and it will form a gel. I have not tried this yet, but I’ve read that you can use the gel in place of oil when baking.
Why not give them a try? They don’t really have any taste and have a superb nutrient-filled punch! I would say they only have one negative. They get stuck in my teeth! Be sure to glance in the mirror before you head out!