Today we’re discussing the uses and nutritional benefits of the chia seed, a plant native to Central and South America that has recently gained popularity in the US.  Yes, this is the same seed that you can smear on a ceramic animal to make a Chia Pet®!  Here are some of the benefits of choosing to eat your chia seeds instead of planting them:

Good source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids.  Chia seeds consist of a large percentage of Alpha Linolenic Acid, one of our heart healthy Omega 3’s.  You can read more about the benefits of adding these fats into your diet here.

High in fiber.  A one Tablespoon serving of chia seeds contains a whopping 4 grams of fiber!  That’ll get you moving towards your goal of at least 25 grams of fiber daily.  To read more about healthy aspects of fiber, check out this post.

They make a gel!  I don’t know that this is really a benefit, but it makes for a neat culinary tool.  I’ve used these seeds as a binder in place of eggs in several recipes, and it’s easy to make a pudding or gelatin-like dessert with chia.  Here are some chia seed recipes I’ve used before from other bloggers:

You can purchase chia seeds from a health food or specialty store.  If there isn’t a store nearby that carries them, they could also be mail ordered.  Chia seeds are shelf stable so they wouldn’t spoil during shipping.  I was happy to see that my local co-op has even started stocking chia seeds in the bulk section!

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