February 18, 2019 | Abby Caviness
You may remember a science experiment you did in elementary school, a fun day in the garden you spent with your mom or just a commercial advertising the plant you grow to look like hair on the terracotta sculptures of various people and characters. Well, ladies and gentlemen, Chia Pets—or rather, just the chia—are making a comeback, and you might want to jump on the bandwagon.*
Packed with Nutrients
According to Web MD1, chia seeds date back to the Mayan and Aztec cultures, where they were used as an energy booster since they contain:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
Somewhere along the way, people discovered the plants produced by the seeds look like hair and Chia Pets were born. Today, they are back where they started, this time being used in various recipes to help control hunger and add other nutrients2 to your meals.
Chia seeds, though smaller than a grain of rice, are packed with nutrients with very few calories, which places them among the healthiest foods on the planet, according to Healthline.3
Take a look at a few of the benefits3:
- They are loaded with antioxidants
- Almost all their carbohydrates are fiber
- Chia seeds may lower your risk of heart disease
- They are high in many important bone nutrients
- They may reduce blood sugar levels
- They may reduce chronic inflammation
- Chia seeds are easy to incorporate into your diet
If you take nothing else away from this article, just remember how easily you can incorporate chia seeds into your diet. According to Everyday Health4, there are several ways to eat chia seeds and since they don’t have much flavor on their own, they pair well with a lot of dishes, like:
- Bread batter
- Muffins and cakes
Everyday Health even provides a few starter recipes4 for when you decide to begin incorporating chia seeds into your diet. And while there is no known evidence of chia seeds aiding in weight loss, they do make you feel full faster and help with portion control, so adding them to your meals will at least help you get on the right track.
As great as these little seeds are, there are a few risks you should be aware of before you decide to go all in. While these seeds are high in fiber, that may be an area of concern if your body is not used to such a high intake of fiber all at once, according to Dr. Weil.5 Just stay close to the bathroom, begin by gradually increasing your intake over time and you should be just fine.
Another concern could be if you have any condition hindering your ability to swallow. Chia seeds are incredibly absorbent,4 which makes them great fillers for your meal because they absorb and expand in your stomach to make you feel full faster. However, take caution when eating them in large amounts, because it is possible they can become lodged in your throat and cause a blockage. This is a rare occurrence, but if you have a history of throat blockages, be aware of any risks and be prepared to act if an issue arises.
If you are looking to make a small, simple change to your diet, chia seeds just might be the perfect solution for you. Just sprinkle a few on your salad or in a smoothie and you’ve provided your body with a few extra nutrients to get you through the day.
*This material is provided by USHEALTH Group® for informational/educational purposes only and should not replace medical/clinical advice or direction from your health care provider.
- Zelman, Kathleen M., “The Truth About Chia,” WebMD.com, accessed February 5, 2019, https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/truth-about-chia#1
- Ware, Megan, “What are the Benefits of Chia Seeds?” MedicalNewsToday.com, last modified November 12, 2018, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/291334.php
- Gunnars, Kris, “11 Proven Health Benefits of Chia Seeds,” Healthline.com, last modified August 8, 2018, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds
- Bucklin, Stephanie, “What are Chia Seeds? A Comprehensive Guide to Reaping the Health Benefits of This Superfood,” EverydayHealth.com, last modified May 11, 2018, https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/diet/chia-seeds-nutrition-health-benefits-how-cook-more/
- Weil, Andrew, M.D., “Can Chia Help with Weight Loss?” DrWeil.com, last modified May 2, 2018, https://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/diets-weight-loss/can-chia-seeds-help-with-weight-loss/