Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family that grows abundantly in southern Mexico. Historically, chia was cultivated by the Aztecs & Mayans and was considered a staple food thought to be sacred for its energizing benefits. Today, chia seeds are known as a superfood.
Superfood Showdown: Chia vs. Flax (PDF)
Why Should I Eat Chia Seeds?
They are a great nutrient-dense alternative for those with gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease.
Chia seeds provide high levels of essential fatty acids, particularly omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function, reduce inflammation, blood pressure, and cholesterol, and may reduce your risk for heart disease and certain cancers.
Low Glycemic Index
Chia seeds have a low glycemic index which helps to lower the rate at which carbohydrates are converted to sugars. This stablizes your blood sugar, giving you more consistent energy level and reduces cravings.
Soluble fiber delays the emptying of your stomach, so you feel fuller longer, which helps with weight control. Soluble fiber can also help lower LDL (“bad”) blood cholesterol by interfering with the absorption of dietary cholesterol.
Antioxidants and Essential Minerals
Chia is a good source of calcium and phosphorus, needed for bone strength; and magnesium and potassium, helpful in lowering blood pressure.
How Do I Eat Chia Seeds?
- The Basic gel. To prepare chia gel, whisk 2 tbsp chia seeds in 1 cup water. Let stand for 5 minutes, whisk again and drink
- Chia seeds can be eaten whole, while flaxseeds must be ground
- Sprinkle on yogurt, oatmeal, sliced fruit, or toast
- Add to trail mix, salads, pasta sauce, or steamed veggies
- Chia has a mild flavor while flax has a nutty flavor
Where Can I Buy Chia Seeds and How Much Do They Cost?
- Chia seeds can be bought at most health foods stores and online. Some larger grocery stores that have a health foods department may also carry them.
- Although chia has outstanding health benefits, these little seeds can be pricey. A 16 oz bag of chia seeds may cost around $10-13.