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Claire Tierney is a Staff Writer for The Hudsucker, and in her spare time she may be found hiking around Washington, bonding with her cat, or enjoying a fat sandwich. Claire is currently working jobs that utilize her impeccable customer service skills while she works towards achieving her dreams, whatever those may be.

Have You Tried Chia Yet?

Everyone and their mother have talking about chia seeds lately, and with good reason.  Hailed as the one of the hottest and most super of all foods, chia seeds are actually quite ancient. The nutrient rich seeds were widely used in Aztec and Mayan cultures for the energy they provided. In fact, the word chia means “strength” in the Mayan language; and boy are these tiny brown seeds bursting with energy.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

A single serving of chia seeds, or two tablespoons, has 11 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein. This is all in only 137 calories and a single carbohydrate. The seeds are very fibrous relative to how low they are in carbohydrates, which means they keep you fuller, for longer. High fiber content is also good for blood sugar, making them good for diabetics and those concerned about heart health. In addition to all of that fiber, they absorb water and expand in the stomach, working as an appetite suppressant for those watching their weight.

Much of the chia seed hubbub revolves around their suggested weight loss benefits, but studies don’t support these claims. Additionally, the there have been no conclusive evidence that the seeds improve heart health. While they are no magic weight loss pill,  they are a filling and “fiberful” snack that is low in calories—that much is undeniable.

Studies have been conclusive, however, that chia seeds are good for bone health. Chia seeds have 18% of your recommended calcium, 30% of the daily recommended dosage of magnesium,  and 27% of your phosphorous—all essential minerals for bone and dental health. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which allow our bodies to more easily absorb vitamin D—this is also important for your bones. This makes them a valuable asset for you dairy-free readers. Chia seeds may also be soaked into a gelatin and used as a replacement for eggs; just another reason they should be in any vegan diet.  

Photo Credit: hungryhungryhippie

Photo Credit: hungryhungryhippie

If Chia sounds familiar to you , and you do not speak any Mayan languages, it’s probably due to the Chia pet sensation that has been rocking our gift giving culture since the 1970’s. Well, this is the same chia! So if you decide you don’t like them as a foodstuff, or you do like them and want to experiment with them further, try growing them into a ceramic pet. 

Photo Credit: chia.com

Photo Credit: chia.com

Okay so enough about their health benefits and gifting capabilities, how do I incorporate them into my diet? Well chia seeds themselves are pretty tasteless, so you can add them to nearly anything. They are something of a god send to the gluten-free community, who has embraced the seed for meatballs, pizza crust, and even tortillas.

Photo Credit: fitnesstreats.com

Photo Credit: fitnesstreats.com

The internet has exploded with pudding recipes and other desserts on account of these chia seeds. Chocolate is pretty popular, but this blueberry coconut pudding is my favorite. If texture is a big deal for you, keep in mind that these seeds are going to be kind of slimy in your pudding, so you may want to opt for a smoothie or something a little chunkier; or you could make pudding pops.

Photo Credit: runningtothekitchen.com

Photo Credit: runningtothekitchen.com

If cooking isn’t your thing, you can just eat them raw, sprinkle them on your cereal, or even soak in your water. They really are that versatile.

From cold and sweet dishes like smoothies and parfaits to hot and savory dishes like meatballs and chicken tenders, the best thing about chia is how easy they are to fit into your life. Give them a try, you won’t be disappointed.

Have you tried chia seeds in your cooking and baking? How do you enjoy eating them? Let us know in the comments below.

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