In addition to being fun to say, chia is a nutritional powerhouse! These trendy seeds are loaded with essential fats, which must be consumed in your diet because the body cannot make them. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are necessary for every life-sustaining process in our body. EFAs are required for proper brain function in adults, and proper brain development in children and fetuses. They even have positive effects on cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, allergies, eczema, psoriasis, candidiasis, and other ailments.
Chia seeds are also rich in antioxidants, fiber, and protein, and are a good source of niacin, iron, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, copper, and magnesium.
Some other benefits of chia are they do not have to be ground to make their nutrients bioavailable, they can be stored for long periods without spoiling (unlike flax), and they absorb a lot of water (9-10 times their weight!), which can help to slow digestion (stave off hunger pangs) and can help athletes stay hydrated during exercise.
Here are some ways to incorporate chia into your diet:
- Sprinkle on oatmeal, yogurt, or salad
- Add to smoothies
- Make a chia fresca drink: http://ohsheglows.com/2013/03/01/chia-fresca-a-natural-energy-drink
- Grind and add to baked goods
- Use in popsicles: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2012/08/raspberry-coconut-chia-pudding-pops.html
Until next time, make every bite count!