Cha-cha-cha-Chia! Remember that commercial? Many of you may be familiar with Chia pets. You know, those clay figurines who sprouted grass grown from chia seeds to resemble animal fur and hair. It was in 1977, that the first Chia Pet was created and marketed. Little did we all know, that roughly 26 years later chia seeds would be the latest craze in the health food world.
So what is a chia seed that makes it so popular, as potted plant and a power food?
A Little Bit of History…
Chia seeds have been around for ages, even before they made their media debut as a terra cotta pet plant, dating back to the time of the Aztecs and Mayans. The word “chia” is derived from the Mayan word for “strength.” It is said that Aztec soldiers relied on food rations of chia seeds for their stamina and strength during battle.
The Mayans were onto something regarding the power of the chia seed. The power of this plant is in the nutrition it provides.
1. Overall Nutrient Dense. Chia seeds provide a lot of nutrition in a little amount of calories. Two tablespoons of chia seeds provides 7 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, and 205 mg of calcium.
2. Omega-3’s & Your Health. Chia is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3’s are healthy fats that are associated with multiple health benefits, including:
- Enhanced heart health & lower triglycerides
- Reduced inflammation
- Support for beautiful skin, hair, and nails
- May help with management of rheumatoid arthritis and depression, along with many other things
3. Full of Fiber. Chia seeds are an excellent source of soluble fiber. Some of you may know that there are two types of fibers, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibers absorb water and form a gel-like substance. This action takes place in the stomach; slowing the process by which digestive enzymes break down carbohydrates and convert them to sugar. As a result, the fiber helps to keep you feeling full after a meal. Other benefits of soluble fiber include:
- Decreased cholesterol
- Improved digestion & bowel regularity
- Improved blood sugar control
4. Rich in antioxidants. Due to their high content of antioxidants, chia seeds have a long shelf-life.
5. Molybdenum. In both humans and animals, molybdenum is a natural metallic compound that assists in the breakdown of carbohydrates and fat.
6. Other key nutrients. Chia seeds also contain calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, niacin, and zinc.
Where to get your Cha-cha-cha-Chia Seeds?!
At the grocery store!
Chia seeds have recently been added to a lot of products in stores such as tortilla chips, tortillas, and Kombucha. It has even been supplemented to animal feed for chickens and cows, in order to enrich their meat and milk with Omega-3’s.
Looking for more ways to enjoy chia? You can buy the seeds and just sprinkle a tablespoon on your morning cereal, or in a smoothie.
Happy Healthy Eating!