Are Chia Seeds worth the hype?

Chia seeds are getting a lot of press lately, but then again so is the man who lost flab eating only Taco Bell (which is NOT a good idea). As with any of the latest food trends, it is important that you approach chia seeds with a skeptical eye. What the heck are they? And are chia seeds really worth the hype? They are native to Mexico and Guatemala and were cultivated by the Aztecs.

Synergy chiaChia seeds lack any strong flavors, and they form a cool gel-like substance when soaked in liquid. In fact, one of my favorite Kambucha teas (Synergy’s Cherry Chia). While you can currently find chia seeds in the health food section of most major grocery stores, I predict they will become a staple item on most mainstream grocery store shelves in no time because of their beneficial properties.

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, about two teaspoons of chia seeds provide 1.7 g of ALA, 3.6 g of fiber, and 60 mg of calcium.  To give you a real life comparison, two teaspoons of chia seeds meets the daily recommended intake of ALA, provides the same amount of fiber as a packet of instant oatmeal and the same amount of calcium as about ¼ cup milk.

Chia seeds are a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), fiber, potassium and calcium.  (ALA is a type of omega-3 fatty acid found in plants that can be converted to the inflammation-fighting and chronic disease-preventing EPA and DHA typically found in fish.)

In short, chia seeds have not yet proven to be a magic flat-belly aid (and I don’t think they will).  They are, however, very nutritious and would be a welcome addition to any healthy diet.  What’s more, excluding rare food allergies, there have been no credibly reported adverse effects or reactions from eating chia seeds. The more natural, nutrient dense foods you use to replace less healthy, processed ones, the closer you will get to your flat-belly goal.

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