Chia Seeds

Chia SeedsI’m sure you’ve heard all the chatter about chia seeds. Some sources are saying they’re super healthy and others say they are just part of another fad diet. What it is about these little seeds that has everyone all excited anyway?

Chia seeds come from a plant that belongs to the same family as mint. Although these seeds seem to just be gaining attention, they have actually been around for hundreds of years. It’s been said that chia seeds were once part of the Aztec and Mayan diet, and used by Native American tribes to treat fevers. If you’ve ever had a chia pet, you’ve actually seen chia seeds grow. With all the attention they are getting these days, it seems that chia seeds have come a long way from their days as “chia hair” on those ceramic pets.

Many health-related claims about these seeds have been made-from helping weight loss to making you feel full faster to lowering blood pressure. Are these little seeds really the “miracle catchers” they claim to be?

Nutritionally speaking, chia seeds are very similar to flaxseeds, a well-known source of protein, fiber, and healthy (unsaturated) fats. While chia seeds are slightly higher in fiber, flaxseeds have higher amounts of protein and healthy fats. Although many health-related claims have been made, there has been limited research done about the actual health benefits of eating chia seeds. There haven’t been any studies done with teens, but a study done in adults found that eating chia seeds for 3 months did not help with weight loss. Another study found that adding chia seeds to a sports drink before a long distance running event did not improve athletic performance.

More research about the health benefits of chia seeds (especially in teens) has to be done.  If you’re consuming enough healthy fats, protein, and fiber in your daily diet already, you may want to stick to what you’re doing now until more research about chia seeds is done.