Everyone has heard of chia pets. Those plants that grow in funny shapes and are usually found in the “As Seen On TV” sections of stores.
But here’s something you didn’t know: those seeds that grow those silly little plants are healthy and nutritional! The seeds, from the Salvia Hispanica plant, are completely edible and good for you! Chia seeds are high in Omega 3 Fatty Acids, which help reduce inflammation in your body, support proper brain function and may even help lower cholesterol. Chia seeds are also a great source of fiber. Fiber not only keeps you regular, it is also thought to help reduce your risk of colon cancer since it keeps things moving along. And, it’s loaded with essential minerals and antioxidants.
Chia seeds are small, dark seeds (much like seeds on a strawberry) but they form a small gel bubble around them when they are added to liquids. The “gel” that forms is said to help keep you full longer and may be beneficial to weight loss. You can incorporate chia seeds into your diet in a number of ways. My favorite way to use chia seeds is in overnight oats. You can also add chia seeds into your morning juices or smoothies. Try sprinkling some on your salads for an extra crunch.
Chia can also be used in recipes as an egg replacer. Simply grind up a tablespoon of chia seeds (or use chia powder, if you have it) and combine with three tablespoons of water. Stir and allow mixture to sit in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. If using chia as an egg replacer, try to use white chia seeds instead of black. There is no taste to the seeds but if you use black ones in baking, such as Sunday morning breakfast, it will look like you have pepper in your pancakes.
Have fun with them and figure out your favorite way to enjoy them!