Dec 172013

Sorry, I couldn’t help it.  But yes, these nutritious seeds are the very same seed of the infamous chia pets of Christmas’s gone by.  The ones with the green fur, or hair, sold in those charming and collectible clay pots.  Oy.

I’m often hesitant about products that have virtual overnight success, but Chia seeds are here to stay.  Chia seeds are native to South America and have been a staple in Mayan and Aztec diets for centuries.  It turns out the South American staple is a rich source of nutrients,  antioxidants, and more.  Read more on the health and nutrition benefits of Chia seeds, and how to incorporate them in your diet……

What are the Health Benefits of Chia seeds?
Chia seeds are rich in polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds lipid profile is composed of 60 percent omega-3s, making them one of the richest plant-based sources of these fatty acids — specifically, of alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA. The omega-3s in chia seeds can help reduce inflammation, enhance cognitive performance and reduce high cholesterol. Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 18 percent of the DRI for calcium, 35 percent for phosphorus, 24 percent for magnesium and about 50 percent for manganese. These nutrients help you prevent hypertension and maintain a healthy weight, and are important for energy metabolism and a part of DNA synthesis. Tryptophan, the amino acid found in turkey that makes you want to take a long nap after dinner is also found in chia seeds. Tryptophan can help regulate appetite, sleep, and improve mood. Finally, a one ounce serving of chia has 11 grams of fiber, about 1/3 of the amount suggested we get each day as a part of a healthy diet. Chia seeds contain no gluten or grains. Therefore, all of the nutritional benefits of chia seeds can be obtained on a gluten-free diet.

How can I use Chia seeds in my Diet?
Chia is often served in drinks or smoothies, but if you don’t want to use it in a drink it’s easy to sprinkle on your oatmeal, stir in with rice or other grains, or stir it into a Greek yogurt. Chia has a neutral flavor, so it goes with just about anything. Many people prefer soaking them in water or fruit juice, which makes them very gelatinous. The combination of protein, fiber and the gelling action of chia seeds when mixed with liquids all contribute to their satiating effects, which can help lower food cravings between meals.
Try some of these ideas:
•    Replace poppyseeds with chia in lemon muffins
•    Mix chia seeds with cornmeal for a nicely crusted fish
•    Always add some chia when making fresh preserves
•    Try a chia yogurt dressing over fruit.
•    Add to any baked goods, puddings, and pancakes
•    Stir in cottage cheese or yogurt before topping with fruit
And, as a bonus, chia seeds can be stored for long periods of time in your refrigerator or pantry without going rancid, which makes it easier to save money by purchasing them in bulk.

By the way, the sprouts from those old pets—they were edible! Enjoy some humor with this video—it hits pretty close to home with all the diversity in diets these days.

Best Wishes for a Happy Holiday Season, and a Healthy New Year. Thanks for supporting

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