First I noticed it on Facebook and then I noticed it on various news websites – there was some kind of massive chia seed craze going on from what I could gather. What were chia seeds anyway and did they have anything to do with those old chia pet commercials I remember? The answer was a resounding yes to the chia pets, but those chia pets were merely chia seeds that had sprouted. As for the chia seed itself? It truly deserves its reputation as a superfood.
Chia seeds come South America and are members of the mint family. They were once worshipped as food of the gods by the ancient Aztecs and have been called many things: “the ultimate super food,” “the running food,” and “a dieter’s dream.” You will find more omega-3 fatty acids in chia seeds than you will in salmon, combined with a healthy dose of minerals and antioxidants. When it comes to nutrition, one tablespoon of chia seeds is the equivalent of drinking a smoothie concoction of spinach, salmon and human growth hormone.
Wayne Coates, co-author of the popular book Chia: Rediscovering A Forgotten Crop of the Aztecs, began eating chia seeds over 20 years ago in an effort to find alternative crops for Argentinan farmers. Coates says, “I hate to call it a miracle food because there are too many miracles that turn out not to be, but it almost is. Literally, you could live on this stuff because it’s pretty much everything you need.”
It has been claimed that chia seeds can improve the health of your heart, stabilize your blood sugar and reduce inflammation. I have either one teaspoon or one tablespoon of it with my breakfast each morning and for me it really does help to stabilize my blood sugar levels. These little miracle seeds also make you feel fuller for much longer than usual, which is another plus.
Christopher McDougall has written a book called Born to Run, and in it he talks about a long-distance running tribe from Mexico who use chia seeds to fuel their runs with.
Another massive bonus about chia seeds are that they don’t really taste of anything. Some people think they have a nutty flavor, but I taste nothing when I eat them. They’re excellent in yogurt and cereals and sprinkled over everything you can think of. You can even eat them plain. Sometimes I like to put them in a shaker bottle and mix them up with some healthy pomegranate juice, an idea I admittedly borrowed from none other than Boy George who was sporting his own chia seed/pomegranate juice drink on Twitter.
However you choose to indulge in chia seeds, you can be sure that you’re doing your body a huge favor.