Nowadays, chia seeds are everywhere. You can put them in your smoothie, your breakfast, your acai bowl – you name it! So what’s the deal with these little seeds? Are they really worth they hype? Let’s find out.
First, let’s start with the basics: what exactly are chia seeds? Chia seeds are small seeds, similar to the size of poppy seeds and they tend to be black and white. They are originally from Mexico and Guatemala and historically, they were cultivated by the Aztecs. In terms of being consumed, they form a gel-like substance when soaked in liquid and they don’t really have a strong, defined flavor.
In terms of beneficial properties, chia seeds have a bunch. That’s probably why they’ve become so popular. Each serving only has 30 calories and only 3 grams of naturally-occurring sugar. Chia seeds are also packed with vitamins, probiotics, and antioxidants. They’re also a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid, fiber, potassium and calcium. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, two teaspoons of chia seeds offer 1.7 g of ALA, 3.6 g of fiber, and 60 mg of calcium. To put this in context, two teaspoons of chia seeds offer the same amount of fiber as one packet of instant oatmeal and the same amount of calcium as ¼ cup of milk.
All of these facts regarding the benefits chia seeds offer sound great, but the skepticism begins to set in when you start hearing stories about how chia seeds can help get rid of wrinkles, can kill cancer, can help with depression, and can even help you have a flatter belly in days! Really?! While there are no proven studies regarding these chia seed magical powers, the reality is that they are indeed very nutritious. So, I guess they’re not that bad after all, as long as you have real expectations about them.
Now how exactly do you consume chia seeds? I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite ways:
- Blend a tablespoon of chia seeds into your favorite smoothie.
- Sprinkle chia seeds on your yogurt.
- Mix them into your ground meat when making meatballs
- Mix them into your peanut butter spread.
- Add them into your favorite salad dressing or directly into your salad.