By Abagail Taranow
Remember those popular commercials dating back to the 1980s featuring a catchy jingle and an adorable terracotta figurine that grew sprouts known as a chia pet? Today, those same edible seeds that gained infamy in 80s pop culture are popping up on organic food blogs and healthy menus across the country. Packed with fiber, protein, phosphorus, manganese, calcium, and potassium- chia seeds are the new trending superfood claiming to boost your health.
The seeds gained more popularity after being featured on “The Dr. Oz Show” as a major source of energy because they are high in fiber omega-3 fatty acids. Dr. Mehmet Oz endorses the food as a natural weight loss supplement for people over the age 50. He recommends a daily intake of 15 grams of these small, crunchy seeds to boost fiber levels in the body.
After the age of 50, one’s metabolism starts to slow and excess pounds become more difficult to shed. One ounce of chia seeds account for 42 percent of one’s daily fiber intake based on a 2000 calorie diet. A high fiber diet allows one to feel more satiated and less likely to overeat, allowing easier weight loss.
Some research indicates these seeds improve heart health, balance blood sugar levels, prevent diverticulitis, and the high amounts of antioxidants may delay skin aging. Yet these claims are not well supported scientifically, these studies often manifest inconclusive results and scientists remain in heavy debate about the actual health benefits of this food trend.
In raw form, chia seeds are round, dark, and have a very neutral taste. There are many ways to incorporate them into meals such as adding them to salad, stir fry, soup, baked goods, or just eating them raw. When soaked in liquid, they develop a gelatinous quality that can thicken up a stew or porridge. Vegan and vegetarian dieters are very keen on the seeds due to their nutritional value.
Cooks have created a variety of interesting ways to utilize the seed unique liquid absorbing abilities. Those less adventurous eaters might opt for something basic like the easy overnight chia oatmeal, while those a little bit more daring may attempt a pumpkin pie chia pudding parfait.
So whether the health hype about this food craze is true or not, it seems these seed do contain a high nutritional value that would be beneficial to anyone’s diet. So next time you’re cruising the aisles at your local health food store, maybe consider picking up some chia seed and judge the latest superfood yourself
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