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What are chia seeds?

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Chia Seeds
Chia seeds have been popping up in grocery stores all over the place – and they’re not always confined to the health food section anymore. Chia seeds are the same seeds that you could mix with water and spread over a small, terracotta animal to make a trendy “chia pet” back in the 1980s, but today they are gaining popularity for nutritional benefits, as well.

Chia seeds are the seeds from the salvia hispanica plant, or chia plant, a flowering herb that is in the mint family. The seeds are very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is primarily what makes them popular as a nutritional supplement, though they are also high in fiber, protein and other nutrients, as well. The seeds are quite small – usually no larger than a millimeter in diameter – and have a mottled greyish color to them.

Unlike flax seeds, which are also a popular source of omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds are much more easily digestible and do not have to be ground for their nutrients to be absorbed by the body. They also have a longer shelf life and are less likely to become rancid than flax seeds are.

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  • lisa
    January 4, 2013

    I guess I should try these in my smoothies instead of flax…thanks!

  • Marla Lewis
    January 6, 2013

    I bought chia seeds last December and they do provided me with extra energy to last my workout. It is important though to drink a lot of water when taking Chia seeds. Chia are also inexpensive and protein rich as compared to psyllium husk.

  • rainey
    January 7, 2013

    I think these are the same things sold as “niger” seeds for bird food.

  • Deb
    July 1, 2013

    I love to sprinkle them on salads. One large jar has lasted me about a year now. One thing to note is that if they come into contact with moisture, they get a gel-like coating around them. If you eat them like I do, and some stay in your mouth, they will feel weird, but not offensively so. The benefits are fantastic!

  • Billy Dee Williams
    November 19, 2013

    Fruity health beverages with chia seeds are becoming increasingly popular as well.

  • anne
    December 10, 2013

    Wondering if the goodness of chia seeds is damaged during baking? I thought to add them to muffins, etc. for lunchbox snacks.

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