Chia seeds latest health food craze

Chia+seeds+latest+health+food+craze

Though Chia pets have been featured in outlandish commercials, chia seeds are now gaining popularity not as wacky plant decor, but as a recent health-food trend. Coming from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, it is believed that the plant originated in Central America, where it was a staple of the ancient Aztec diet.

Chia seeds are packed with an impressive number of health benefits. They are very low in calories, at precisely 138 calories per ounce, but deliver an abundance of nutrients. Packed with protein and fiber, they can help satisfy your appetite.

Manganese, calcium and phosphorus are present in these nutritious seeds, which make your heart healthier and your bones and teeth stronger. Chia seeds provide 18 percent of your daily intake of calcium, 30 percent of your daily intake of manganese and 27 percent of your daily intake of phosphorus per 1-ounce serving. Antioxidants, which help protect your body from dangerous free radicals, are also abundant in chia seeds. They also slow digestion and are being researched as a tool to help fight type 2 diabetes.

LS freshman Audrey Fong said there are many benefits to adding chia seeds to her diet.

“[Chia seeds] are a great way of making any drink or food healthier,” Fong said.

Chia seeds have essentially no taste, making it easy to combine them with food you already enjoy. Some people incorporate chia seeds by mixing a handful into yogurt or breakfast cereal to start the day off right.  The seeds can add a healthy crunch to a salad, or even be mixed into pudding for dessert.

CAS freshman Hyejo Ahn said she often adds them to her oatmeal for breakfast. 

“They’re an awesome source of fiber,” she said.

A recipe that utilizes this healthy trend and is seasonally appropriate for the upcoming autumn weather is a pumpkin spice chia smoothie. This smoothie is a quick and easy way to indulge in a popular seasonal flavor, but also feel good about.

Pumpkin Spice Chia Smoothie

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of any variety of milk,

1/2 cup pureed pumpkin,

1 frozen banana

1 tablespoon of chia seeds

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

ice cubes as needed

Directions:

Use a blender to blend until the desired consistency is reached.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Sept. 16th print edition. Email Emily Harris at [email protected]