What’s the Deal with Chia Seeds?

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Seriously, what am I supposed to do with them? I feel like this is a pretty common question. In fact, before my initial research, this is what I knew about them: they get slimy once they’ve been in yogurt for awhile, they’re healthy in some aspects unknown to me, and my friend had a two pound bag of them. That is what actually prompted me to look into uses for these tiny brown seeds. So, for those of you that are in the same spot I used to be in, here are a few of my favorite things about chia seeds.

Delicious, nutty flavor

One of the most important things I confirm before I buy any significant amount of a new health food is flavor. I rarely eat anything if I don’t love the taste. Luckily, chia seeds are fairly nutty and fit in well with many different flavors. And really, if you don’t like the flavor but still want to reap the health benefits, chia seeds are easy to hide in smoothies or cereal.

An alternative to processed grains

In this age of gluten-avoidance, chia seeds are an amazing substitute for processed grains. While they’re both gluten and grain free, chia seeds are great source of protein (4 grams per serving!) and calcium (11 grams per serving!). While I would never profess to be gluten free, I have found that limiting my daily intake makes me feel more active and alert. Chia seeds are a great snack or fiber add-in for when I’ve hit that gluten limit.

Tons of antioxidants!

Chia seeds have similar levels of antioxidants to blueberries, so it’s safe to say that they’re a super food. Simply put, antioxidants fight the deterioration of healthy cells. When your cells stay healthier longer, aging and cell-related illness are held at bay. Additionally, the best way to take in antioxidants is through food – not through a supplement.

A safe egg substitute

My best friend is allergic to eggs, and it can sometimes be a struggle to find ways to make things that won’t make him puff up like a balloon. Chia seeds are a great way to avoid this. Mix up one part finely ground chia seeds and three parts water to make a concoction that will satisfy most baking recipes. Don’t try this on omelets or quiches though. The result is fairly unsatisfying.

Not only do I love using chia seeds, I now have my very own two-pound bag of them. Many people even claim that chia seeds are appetite suppressants, but this has never been scientifically substantiated. I urge you to try this just for the myriad of health benefits. One serving of chia seeds has 4 grams of protein, 11 grams of fiber, 9 grams of fat, 18% of your daily calcium, 30% of your daily manganese, 30% of your daily magnesium, the list goes on and on.

If you buy some chia seeds and end up not loving them, you can always use them for my fifth favorite thing about them: they’re the same seeds you use to grow chia pet hair!