Have you ever heard of chia seeds?  No, they’re not the seeds you spread all over your ceramic chia pet with your kids that you pray will one day germinate.  Chia seeds are a little-known seed that is good for you in so many ways. Eating chia seeds is easy and they can be incorporated into your diet in many recipes.

According to the website nutribase.com, chia seeds are: Seeds from a plant of the mint family that grows in the U.S. Southwest and Mexico. These seeds are used as food and brewed to make a beverage commonly called “chia (fresca).”

Chia seeds are black and white and resemble tiny eggs.  “Chia” is also reportedly the Mayan words for “strength,” and it was used by the ancient culture for everything from food to medicine and salves.

Chia is also a fantastic food supplement and provides many benefits to a healthy diet.  Its taste is described as neutral or slightly nutty.  It had an amazing ability to absorb liquid.  In water, it creates a gel that that can even be applied as a topical treatment for a variety of uses.

Chia is said to boost energy and metabolism.  Because it is a seed, it is a great source of fiber and useful in helping to regulate one’s digestive system.  They are great on their own as a snack.

Here are some other uses that will truly make this southwestern seed your newest chia “pet”:
Use it in sauces to thicken and provide a unique, subtle flavor;
Use it in shakes as a thickener and to provide some protein and important fatty acids like omegas 3 and 6.  You can even mix it with some lemonade to make chia fresca for a unique new drink.  Because the chias swell in liquid, it gives one the sense of being full when consumed, making it a perfect addition to anyone trying to shed a few pounds.

Use it in cakes, muffins, and cookies for the kids to provide flavor and texture to baked goods.  If you’re on a gluten-free diet, chia seeds can be a welcome addition to gluten-free recipes.  Chia also helps the body slow the absorption of sugars making it an additive to consider for those on a low-carb diet, or even individuals who suffer from diabetes.

It is a powerful anti-oxidant that also contains many other important minerals for good health like iron, potassium and calcium.

As with any additive that may affect your health, read up on it, do your homework and consult your physician before you change and medication or diet.

Next time you feel like a nut – reach for the seeds instead!  The chia seeds.