I’m sure you’ve seen the commercial for Chia Pet before with the catchy little jingle “Chi-Chi-Chi Chia!” Chia seeds aren’t just for cute little planters, as we may have previously thought. They’re actually considered a Superfood and have been an important part of the Aztec & Mayan diet dating back to 910 B.C check this.
Because of the catchy marketing of the Chia Pet, most would think that it’s odd to consume the little seeds, but they are SO nutritious! Here are a few good reasons to add this little Superfood to your daily diet:
• Are a source of COMPLETE protein: That means that chia seeds contain all 9 essential amino acids that cannot be produced by the body. We normally get our complete proteins from consuming meat, chicken, pork, fish, lamb, veal. But if you’re trying to cut back on animal proteins, adding chia seeds is a great substitute!
• Are a rich source of Omega 3’s: By weight, chia seeds have more Omega 3’s than salmon. That says a lot for this little powerhouse! Usually, when we think of Omega 3’s, we automatically think of salmon or fish oil, in general. Chia seeds are naturally rich in healthy fats, including Omega 3’s, and support all of the nutritional benefits of healthy fats as well.
• Are rich in calcium: Are you lactose intolerant? Trying to cut back on dairy? Chia seeds are a great source of calcium, as well as magnesium and boron, which assist with the absorption of calcium. By weight, they actually contain more calcium than whole milk. Sshh! Don’t tell the Dairy Council!
• Balance blood sugars: By balancing your blood sugars, you ward off Type 2 diabetes and ensure a steady stream of energy for your body throughout the day. Chia seeds help do this through its unique combination of soluble and insoluble fiber that slows down the body’s conversion of starch into sugar. How amazing is that?!
• Are high in antioxidants: Simply put, antioxidants are substances or nutrients in certain foods that help slow or prevent the oxidative damage to our body. Why is that important? Because oxidative damage can result in health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. So get your Chia on!
Now, this isn’t an all inclusive list of benefits of this little seed POWERHOUSE, but these are certainly the top 5 in my book.
How can you start incorporating Chia Seeds in your diet today? Here’s a few fast & fun ways to do just that:
1. Mix a tablespoon of them into your morning smoothie
2. Sprinkle a bit on your salad at lunch time
3. Add to your morning oatmeal
4. Mix into your yogurt along with a bit of granola
5. Add to pudding as a nutritious substitute for tapioca*
*Chia seeds have a gel-like property when soaked in liquid and can hold 9 times their weight in water!
Those sprouted seeds you see on the Chia Pet planter don’t have to go to waste either. You can use them on sandwiches and salads, too! But if you’re not so adventurous yet, here’s a smoothie recipe to get you started: