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Chia Seed Diet & Health Benefits

Author: Cara Walsh

February 03, 2014

Chia Seed Diet & Health Benefits

Author: Cara Walsh

February 03, 2014


Are they worth the money? Should you consider adding them to your diet? This article will tell you all you need to know about Chia seeds!

 

Although many people have not heard of Chia seeds, most will have heard of Chia pets. Chia pets are ceramic figurines that start out as a seed and once watered they produce a green sprout. The seeds grow to resemble an animal’s fur or hair. This same seed is now popping up in health food stores, in the media and in conversations with our friends. You have to wonder, is this seed just another fad, with no true nutritional value? Is it just another expensive supplement to add to the list of things you ‘have to have?’

What are Chia seeds?  Chia seeds are a desert plant also known as Salvia hispanica. It originated in Central America and was a staple in the Aztec diet.

What nutritional value do Chia seeds have?  These seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids—which can promote heart health. They are an excellent source of fiber, with 10 grams for just 2 tablespoons! In addition, they contain protein, iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. 1 tablespoon is 65 calories.

Will it improve my health?  Early research suggests that consuming Chia seeds may improve some cardiovascular risk factors. It may lower cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. However, there is still limited research on Chia seeds. Further research needs to be conducted to determine its long-term benifits.

How do you eat chia seeds?How do you eat Chia seeds? It could be eaten raw or in a variety of dishes. They have a mild flavor. It can be sprinkled on yogurt, mixed into tomato sauces, cereal or added to vegetable dishes. Chia seed are absorbent as well. Shown in the picture on the left, you can add chia seeds to fruit juices. Chia seeds are also an egg substitute as they become gelatinous when combined with water. 1-tablespoon chia and 3 tablespoons water can replace one egg.

Where can you find Chia seeds?  Chia seeds are available in most grocery stores, check the snack or cereal aisle. You will have better luck in organic specialty stores such as Whole Foods, Sprouts or farmers markets. Companies such as Nature Valley™ are starting to add Chia seeds to granola bars, yogurts and juices.

What is the bottom line?  There are many ways you can get omega-3 and fiber in your diet program. Fish such as salmon and flax seed have omegas. Whole grains, beans, and vegetables are full of fiber. However, Chia seeds can provide easy flexible ways for you to have omegas and fiber every day—just by adding them to the foods you eat each day!

Contact a Medifast certified counselor to learn how you can begin incorporating chia seeds into your weight loss program while enjoying one of our many different meal products available.

About the Author:

Cara Walsh
Counselor at The Carmel Mountain Ranch Medifast Weight Control Center

Cara Walsh is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Weight Control Counselor. Cara received her bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science from San Diego State University and completed her dietetic internship to become a registered dietitian through the Utah State University. Cara is currently completing her Masters in Dietetic Administration through Utah State University. Cara has always had a passion for healthy eating and cooking. She loves to focus on how food can heal and provide nutrition-while tasting delicious. Cara thrives on helping others reach their full potential nutritionally. In her spare time she enjoys reading, going to Pilates and running the boardwalk on the Pacific Ocean with her son and husband.

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