For most Americans, mention the word chia and they automatically think of the jingle ch ch ch chia, sung on TV ads since 1977 to introduce an array of novelty gifts known as Chia Pets sold only at Christmas time.
First brought to the public’s attention by Joe Pedott and produced by Joseph Enterprises Inc, the “pets” are created by spreading a paste made with chia seeds over specially created terracotta figurines ranging from animals such as a ram, turtle, puppy or pig, to human figures ranging from the Simpsons to Barack Obama (to name but a few) so that the sprouts resemble fur or hair.
And while more than 500,000 Chia Pets are reportedly sold annually, the seeds, themselves, have found an increasing market among dieters looking for a new “superfood.”
Chia seeds (aka Salvia hispanica), not only contain a good amount of protein needed for strong muscles, they are rich in fiber (which can aid with weight loss by making you feel full). They have also been found to help stem the release of excess amounts of insulin by the pancreas. In addition, Chia seeds contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids including alpha
In addition, Chia seeds contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids including alpha lipolic acid known to reduce the growth of cervical and breast cancer cells. At the same time, it should be noted that inconsistent studies have also shown a possible connection between alpha lipolic acid and the risk of prostate cancer.
In the meantime, the FDA reports that a 100-gram serving of chia seeds provide more than 20% of the recommended Daily Value (DV) of thiamine and niacin, as well as B vitamins including Riboflavin (B2), and folate (B9), in addition to Vitamin A, Vitamin E, iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium potassium and zinc.
Typically, chia seeds are small ovals and appear mottled with brown, white, black and gray. Although originally native to Central and South America, chia is now grown and used commercially in the Southwestern United States and Kentucky, as well as Mexico, Guatemala, Argentina, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Australia.
Often used in gelatin form as a substitute for eggs in vegan baked goods, chia seeds are also used in breakfast cereals, energy and granola bars, tortillas, yogurt, bread and as topping for smoothies. Meanwhile, government experts recommend that no one should use more than 1-2 tablespoons of dried chia seeds each day, particularly if you are not used to eating fiber-rich foods, and want to avoid bowel-related problems.
Meanwhile, government experts recommend that no one should use more than 1-2 tablespoons of dried chia seeds each day, particularly if you are not used to eating fiber-rich foods, and want to avoid bowel-related problems.
Other warnings involving consumption of chia seeds involve possible allergic reactions, especially in individuals already allergic to mustard and sesame, while people taking statins and blood pressure meds should check with their doctors before eating them.
Note: For all readers who have never eaten chia seeds before, we highly recommend consulting with your healthcare provider before adding them to your daily diet.