Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ch-ch-ch-chia...seeds


"What the heck are chia seeds?" is the common phrase we're hearing frequently these days.  More than just something to make a Garfield chia pet grow a fabulous green afro, these seeds are becoming the newest health craze.  Well we all know about health crazes, short lived or there's gotta be some catch right?  Well, let's go over the benefits of chia seeds.

You've probably heard of flax seeds, they're fine but honestly, I hate the taste I get when I bite into them.  It tastes like little pops of natural gas to me.  Yum... not.  Flax seeds are not well digested and need to be ground for the maximum benefit to be received when you eat them.  Chia seeds don't.  You get the maximum benefits regardless of the form and they slow digestion to keep you fuller longer. 

What are the benefits? 
According to the research I've done, here's the lowdown.  2 tbsp of chia seeds contain a lot of antioxidants (more than blueberries), a goodly amount of omega 3 which is good for brain and heart health, fiber (7 grams), protein (4 grams) and calcium (205 milligrams).  All in all these little babies are packed with some serious nutrition.

Drawbacks?  It lowers blood pressure so if you've already got low blood pressure, check with your doctor before using it.  Omega 3's are blood thinners so if you're on an aspirin regimen, going to have surgery or are already taking prescription blood thinners, check with a doc before adding them in.  They do have a lot of fiber and if you're not already used to fiber, you could get a little gassy and bloated.  If you have sesame or mustard seed allergies, you could be allergic to chia seeds.  The lesson here is if you have health conditions, give your doc a buzz before adding chia seeds to your diet.

I've been using chia seeds for 2 days so far by mixing 1 tablespoon in my my blueberry oatmeal.  It expands and thickens my oatmeal but doesn't add a taste to it.  It has kept me full for about 2 1/2-3 hours after eating which is great because no mid-morning hunger sets in.  I tried a few on their own and the flavor is slightly nutty but really no flavor in particular so this could easily be tucked away into recipes like pumpkin bread or muffins to give a little extra nutrient kick.  I don't have any health issues so I'm excited to add these babies to my diet.  I got mine at Whole Foods in the bulk section for $6.99/lb.  We got half a pound for now to give it a go but I can say we'll definitely be getting more.  Do NOT get them from the supplement section where you will pay more than double for pretty packaging.  If you want pretty packaging, get a cute little container to keep them in when you get home.  Oh yeah and consider keeping compact on you if you eat them at work.  No one wants a seedy smile! 
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4 comments:

  1. AWESOME blog! I'm going to get some chia seeds!

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  2. I put them in my salad and they definitely keep me fuller longer as well. And they do not change the flavor of what I'm eating so why not add them to anything you want to?

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  3. Thanks for this. I was wondering about them. And I don't like flax seeds either. Tried them and was so not a fan.

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  4. I do go ahead and grind up my flax seeds in one of those quick coffee grinders, and use them primarily in my smoothies (exclusively? hmm, yes, I think only in the smoothies), along with wheat germ.
    I was curious if these were 'the" chia seeds, and they are! I'm intrigued, but I do have lower blood pressure. Not a serious prob, more of the nurse always taking two readings in silence, then saying "Huh. Nice and low..." as if she misread the first time. I don't think my flax seeds give me calcium too, so that's appealing.
    Literal food for thought! Thanks! Melly

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