Story by: Jennifer Reynolds on August 29, 2016
The chia seed’s name instantly brings to mind a catchy refrain from a TV commercial. Cha-cha-cha-chia! But this chia is no pet. It’s a tiny seed packed with a wallop of health benefits.
Chia seeds are harvested from the Salvia hispanica plant, a type of plant in the mint family. The word chia means “strength” in the Mayan language, and people of the ancient Americas used chia as a food and medicine. According to the USDA, the Diegueño, an indigenous people of North America, believed 1 tablespoon of chia seeds supplied 24 hours’ worth of energy.
Chia is unique in that when the seeds get wet, their crunchy outer coating turns to gel. This feature makes for a unique taste sensation — much like tapioca. That gel also expands in the stomach to make you feel full longer, potentially helping you eat less.
Just 2 tablespoons of the tiny nutty seeds contain:
Nutritionists recommend no more than 2 tablespoons per day; more than that can bring on fiber overload.
Chia can be found in the natural foods section of most grocery stores. Try them as an addition to just about any recipe or snack, such as:
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