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Chia Seeds: Why You Should Be Eating Them for Your Heart Health

September 19, 2013

Remember these commercials? The famous “pottery that grows” pets first hit the market over thirty years ago, but now these same seeds are causing a new health craze worth knowing about.

What are chia seeds?

heart healthy chia seedsA member of the mint family, chia plants hail from Mexico and South America. Nutritionally, their seed consumption dates back to the Aztecs.

What are the health benefits?

These tiny seeds are good sources of fiber, calcium, protein, manganese, phosphorus, and omega-3 fats, just to name a few. They’ve been shown to help lower blood pressure and total cholesterol (while helping to raise good HDL cholesterol), as well as regulate blood sugar. Their combined source of nutrients can help do good things for your brain (omega-3s), teeth and bones (calcium, manganese, phosphorus), and digestive health (fiber). Preliminary studies are also looking at chia seeds as a potential natural treatment for type-2 diabetes.

How can chia seeds be eaten?

Chia seeds become gelatinous when mixed with liquid, which can help keep you fuller longer and resist between-meal snacking. They have a very mild taste, so adding them to some of your favorite foods is an easy way to get extra nutrients without changing the flavors you’ve grown to love. Try them in:

            -Smoothies or juices
            -Oatmeal
            -Yogurt
            -Baked Goods
            -Granola
            -Cottage cheese
            -Salads

You can also make chia seed pudding or use them as an egg substitute in baking.

With chia seeds growing popularity in the nutrition community, they’re becoming more and more prevalent in local grocery stores as opposed to just specialty health food stores. Don’t be surprised if you start seeing a burst of chia seed products—even mainstream companies like Dole are putting out their own line of chia seeds, complete with convenient “to-go” packs so you can always have your seeds on hand.

Tell us in the comments below: have you tried chia seeds? What do you think? 

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photo credit: Jennuine Captures