Chia Seeds: The new nutritional powerhouse

Amanda FloecknerHealthy Living

Chia seeds are getting a lot of attention lately; even surpassing the popularity of flax seeds. So, what’s the big deal?  It turns out chia seeds, a member of the mint family, are good for a whole lot more than creating funny, “furry” clay pets (remember, “Ch-ch-ch-chia!”?). Here’s the scoop.Chia Seeds

• are a nutritional powerhouse with more omega 3 fatty acids than flax seed
(2 Tbsp chia seeds contain 4500 mg alpha-linolenic acid) and the richest
non-marine source of omega 3s
• are high in protein, similar to quinoa
• are rich in calcium, potassium, B vitamins and anti-oxidants
• are high in fiber with a combination of soluble and insoluble fiber (this may
help stabilize blood sugar and help increase satiety, thus aiding in weight
• have a neutral, slightly nutty taste, so work well in a lot of recipes
• Unlike flax seeds, they may be eaten whole versus needing to be ground
in order to get their nutritional benefits
• have about a two year shelf life, stored at room temperature (again, unlike
flax seeds which become rancid quickly at room temperature and lose their
nutritional value)

The very cool thing about chia seeds is that they absorb approximately ten (10) times their weight in water, transforming to a soft-gel within minutes, making them perfect for creating pudding-like desserts or thickening smoothies. They can be sprinkled over cereal, cooked grains and salads for an easy nutritional addition.

Recipes: Coconut Chia Pudding

By Suzie DuPuis RD