If you can’t tell from my recent instagram posts, I am on a chia seed kick.
Yes, I am talking about those strange little, did-I-say-that-right, black beads. Not the terra cotta plants. Worth every black speck in your teeth. Here’s why:
These are the “heart healthy fats” you hear about, which may help reduce risk of heart disease. People automatically think of fish when they hear “omega 3’s”, but you can also get them from nuts, seeds and oils.
The fiber in these seeds helps to keep you full. They provide about 5g per 1 tbsp of seeds. Women need about 25g fiber and men need about 38. Many people don’t meet their fiber needs each day, which is such a bummer to me. Besides keeping you full, fiber may help lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar in diabetics, relieve digestive problems and help avoid weight gain. Add a tablespoon of chia’s throughout the day and you are well on your way to meeting you fiber needs.
Vitamins & Minerals
Chia seeds provide calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc. While many people take a multivitamin to get their vitamins & minerals, it’s always best to get them by choosing a wide variety of foods. Add these in to help with that.
Finally, the buzz-word I am sure you have all been waiting for. I put this one last on my list because, yes, they do contain protein, but it isn’t a huge amount, about 3g per tablespoon. Not a huge contributor, but when paired with another moderate protein containing food it can make a decent dent in your daily needs.
*The RDA for protein is 0.8g/kg for adults. Let’s calculate: Take your weight in pounds and divide by 2.2. That is your weight in kilograms (kg’s) now multiply that number by 0.8 and you have your estimated grams of protein need per day.
How I eat them
On the daily I sprinkle some on my morning oatmeal and into my yogurt with a little cereal for an afternoon snack. They add a little bit of a nutty flavor, which I like. You can also try making a “chia seed pudding”, which is all over pinterest. When chia seeds are mixed with a liquid or something moist they expand and get kind of gelatinous. Or add some into to a baked good like bread or cookies.
Whenever people think of a health food, especially when it has a crazy name, they think “expensive”. I got a bag from Aldi for less than $3, and it has lasted me over a month.
Visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website if you’d like more information, or are interested in any other topics: http://www.eatright.org/