Chia seeds are perhaps best known for their use on clay Chia Pets, but for centuries people have eaten chia seeds for their health benefits. Chia seeds, which are considered a “super food,” are fairly easy to incorporate into your diet, as long as you can obtain the seeds. The seeds can be eaten ground or whole and are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for good health, according to Dr. Andrew Weil’s website. Chia seeds also contain a variety of other vitamins and nutrients, including fiber, protein, calcium, phosphorus and zinc. According to Weil, researchers believe that chia seeds help slow the digestive process of converting carbohydrates into sugars.
Find a good source of chia seeds. You can purchase them in bulk as whole seeds or ground seeds from health food stores or online. A 1-lb. bag of chia seeds was listed at less than $7 on Amazon.com in late 2009.
Add chia seeds to foods you normally eat. Chia seeds, which have a nutty flavor, do not need to be ground for your body to absorb the seeds’ nutritional value. They can be added to your yogurt, granola, cereal, breads and muffins, salads, or any other food that would be enhanced by their flavor.
Create a chia gel by mixing one part chia with approximately nine parts water, according to an article on the Living and Raw Foods website. This gel can then be added to jams, jellies, cereals and sauces. The gel can also be used to replace other fat sources in recipes.
Try a recipe that calls for chia seeds. Weil recommends creating a traditional Central American drink by mixing water, chia seeds, lemon or lime juice and sugar. There are also many online recipes for chia muffins, granola, cakes, candy and other foods, including at Chiaforhealthcom.
Purchase foods that already contain chia seeds. Companies put chia seeds in cereals, snacks and gluten-free products. These foods may be most easily found in health food stores or online.
Consume products from animals that were fed chia seeds. Animals that are fed chia seeds are shown to have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their food products, according to Weil. This includes the meat and milk from cows and the meat and eggs from chickens.