We’ve seen it happen before - things that are considered old suddenly become a new and popular craze once again. Bell-bottom pants, platform shoes and maxi-dresses have resurfaced on the glossy pages of fashion magazines. Chart-topping musical hits from previous decades have been remixed and are hitting the airwaves again seemingly as new tunes for today’s generation. History, as they say, always repeats itself.
Another current trend that may or may not be easily recognized as an “oldie but goodie” is the new superfood, properly known as salvia hispanica. Doesn’t ring a bell, you say? Maybe you remember it as the fun and quirky “As Seen On TV” item from the 1980’s with the catchy advertising slogan, Ch-ch-ch-Chia! Salvia hispanica, commonly known as chia seeds, were soaked in water and then slathered onto a piece of clay pottery shaped to resemble anything from dinosaurs to pigs to favorite cartoon characters. After a period of time, the novelty would sprout “hair” or “fur.”
As it turns out, those seeds are loaded with health benefits, including having:
- 2 times the amount of protein of any other seed or grain
- 5 times the amount of calcium of milk, plus a trace mineral called boron that helps transfer calcium into your bones
- 2 times the amount of potassium as bananas
- 3 times the reported antioxidant strength of blueberries
- 3 times more iron than spinach
- Copious amounts of omega 3 and omega 6, which are essential fatty acids
In addition to the extraordinary health benefits, chia seeds also help with the hunger and hydration factor. These tiny seeds absorb 10 times their weight in water and become encased in a gel that both causes you to feel fuller longer and hydrates the body. There is also reason to believe chia seeds may be beneficial for those who suffer from diabetes because the seeds slow down the process by which our body converts carbohydrates to simple sugars, therefore controlling blood sugar.
It is recommended that you consume two daily doses of chia seeds measuring approximately 1.5 ounces total and the seeds can be incorporated into your daily diet nearly unnoticed. They can be added to baked goods, mixed into salads and salad dressings, added to your drink or breakfast oatmeal, just to name a few ways. Try these excellent breakfast smoothies and overnight-oatmeal recipes from The Yummy Life that include chia seeds to get a healthy jumpstart on your mornings.
Chia seeds may be purchased at your local health food store or organic grocery or ordered online from various sources such as Amazon.com. They are available in the Charlotte area at Earthfare and retail for approximately $7.99/lb from the bulk bins or for slightly more in a pre-packaged bag.
If you are a fan of the Charlotte Healthy Food Examiner, please click the “Subscribe” button above and be notified each time an article is published. You may also enjoy Alison’s articles on these topics: Charlotte Cocktails Examiner and Charlotte Food Event Examiner or her food blog Wish Upon A Chef. Thank you for reading!