You have barely moved beyond the kale and quinoa craze, and now you see chia seeds everywhere you turn.
What exactly is this new superfood, should you eat them, and if so, how? This article will remove some of the mysteries behind chia seeds.
Just like kale, quinoa, edamame, and every other fad food, chia is not new. The chia plant, a member of the mint family, has been grown for its seeds as far back as the Aztecs and is still used in many South and Central American countries.
Chia seeds are mostly used in Mexico, primarily in beverages, such as agua fresca, and the fad began moving through the United States & Europe from the Southwest countries.
As far as nutrition, chia seeds are rich in fiber and protein along with essential omega-3 and other vitamins and minerals. Proponents of chia seeds claim benefits, such as high energy, better digestion, along with healthier hair and skin.
Weight loss claims of eating chia seeds stem from the fact that they absorb up to 16 times their weight in water. In practical terms, what this means is they will expand in the stomach when eaten with any liquid, giving you the feeling of being full.
One of the benefits of chia seeds is that they are ready to use as-is. There are many chia seed recipes available via popular cookbooks, but you don’t need to cook them at all. They can be eaten raw, and their tiny size means that you can easily add them to any dish without grinding or processing.
Chia seeds have been around and used in food for thousands of years, so they aren’t likely to go away any time soon. You will need to decide if the purported health benefits have any foundation.
Meanwhile, like any food that is new to your diet, you should try them in moderation until you decide their benefits if any.
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