The Truth About Trendy Chia Seeds May Shock You Into Trying Them

chia seedsTwo years ago I was playing backyard badminton with my brother when he started telling me about chia seeds. "They're incredible, they're so good for you. I can't believe you haven't tried them yet!" "Chia seeds, huh? I'll have to check that out," I said, putting it on my mental Oh Hell No list. I mean, chia seeds ... we're talking about cha-cha-cha-chia! Chia pets? The seeds you grow in those little head-shaped pots from the '80s that sprout to look like hair, right? I think I'll let that obscure health food trend pass me on by, thank you very much.

And now here we are, 2013, the summer of chia seeds. Suddenly I'm seeing them everywhere. So fine, my brother was way ahead of the trend. And yes he beat me at badminton. But how do you eat them? What's the big idea with these seeds, anyway?

Let's talk about the health benefits of chia seeds first. Since this is a relatively new food on the market, most of those benefits are anecdotal. We'll have to see how the research pans out. But chia seeds are supposed to deliver a major energy boost. That was the main draw for my athletic brother. Some chia eaters say they're great for digestion and can help lower cholesterol. They're mighty high in fiber -- 11 grams in a one-ounce serving. They're high in omega-3 fatty acids, manganese, phosphorus, and protein. They may also help stabilize your blood sugar, which could help people with type-2 diabetes. And they fill you up.

Basically chia seeds, from a plant related to mint that comes from Latin America, do almost everything but wash your dishes.

More from The Stir: Here's What 200 Calories Looks Like in All Your Favorite Foods (VIDEO)

But what do you DO with them? You can eat them raw or cooked, but be sure to buy food-grade seeds. Raw seeds can be sprinkled over salads or granola, stirred into trail mix, baked into cookies, or tossed into just about anything else you can think of. They're bland, so you're not really going to taste them. But when combined with your saliva, they'll dissolve into a somewhat viscous substance.

When cooked into water, they have a sort of tapioca-like effect. You can make a kind of pudding-like substance. You can also use the seeds to thicken other foods. Some even claim they'll work as an egg substitute, but these are obviously people who probably don't like eggs in the first place because please. Here's a few chia seed recipes.

Strawberries and "Cream" Chia Pudding: It's a dairy-free delight! Maybe. I don't know, you try it first and tell me. Seriously, though, the coconut milk in this recipe adds richness so it's probably quite tasty.

Banana Wild Blueberry Chia Smoothie: A popular way to eat chia seeds is in smoothies. This one ups the nutrition with blueberries. You will be invincible after slurping down this concoction!

Chia Fresca: Make a refreshing energy drink with chia seeds and coconut water. Looks like frog eggs, but they're not! Why am I being such a jerk about these seeds? I'm sure this is delicious.

Cinnamon Chia Seed Granola: Great for breakfast or a snack. I would actually try this.

Raw Chocolate Chia Energy Bars: Make your own energy bars with this recipe ... if you have no respect for chocolate. Ha! I'm kidding. (Not really.)

Have you tried chia seeds yet?


Image via Stacy/Flickr

food facts, one ingredient, healthy choices


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

Jeri Ann York

viscous substance** I was trying to figure out what the word meant and tried looking it up. LOL thank you Google for helping me out :)

schlis schlis

I love chia seeds

Shandi80 Shandi80

Ok, I have tried them, and all I have to say is, start out with small servings and gradually increase amount consumed over time. They will expand in your stomach and tend to cause constipation if you go all gung-ho your first few days trying them. Trust me.

Coles... Coles_mom

I have a friend who's into them and she drinks them with shakes or smoothies I think.

amber... amberdotsmom

Put them in shakes or smoothies, add some to muffins, sprinkle on cereal or yogurt - for any of those you really won't even know they're there

If you want to have some fun with the kids add them to water and let them sit for a few hours and let them see what happens, works best in a clear cup. Viscous was a pretty good word for it. But that might not be a good idea if you then want them to actually eat the seeds in food  big smile mini

amand... amandagabey

where can you get them?!

Gabriela Marin

Yeap. I've been eating them since I was a kid. 

You can find them in Health Stores, Latin American markets.

Natalie Morse is another really awesome resource for unique chia Chia Seed Sloppy Joes!!! Kid APPROVED :0)


I have a cousin who is obese and wanted to lose some weight.  So she put the Chia Seeds in her water to help fill her up between meals.  It appeared that she began to lose weight, however she stopped before any real evidence could be seen......WIMP!!  I was not aware of all the other nutritional perks these seed would provide.  I may have to start using them.

nonmember avatar Jayne

Chia seeds are great. I add them to yogurt and fruit smoothies. Check out a short review here.

1-10 of 10 comments