Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Let's Cha-Cha-Chia

Let's talk about Chia Seeds and Flaxseeds!

I'm really excited because I've recently purchased two bags of these and have decided to add them to my diet.

Chia Seeds
No, my friends, they have no relation to those chia pets from the 80's.  They are considered an ancient super-seed(?).  These magical seeds date back to the Aztecs and Mayans in Latin America.  The seeds are considered SUPER because like other superfoods they deliver an incredible amount of nutrients with minimal calories.  Nutritional benefits of Chia include omega 3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, calcium, and antioxidants.  Chia seeds give you something like 40% of your daily fiber, and that's awesome.  So, while you may have a mental image of Jamie Lee Curtis and those awesome Activia commercials in your head, fiber is not just for good digestive health.  Fiber can also help you to make you feel fuller, therefore benefitting in weight loss.  Ounce per ounce, chia seeds have more Omega 3 than salmon! Isn't that awesome?  These tiny little seeds are jam-packed with nutritional goodness.  They're basically flavorless and you can sprinkle or add them to almost anything.  Oatmeal topper, blend in a smoothie, top yogurt with it, sprinkle on salads.  The options are endless!
They run pretty pricey, but I typically use about a tablespoon or two per day.  I'm sure there's a great way to buy these online for cheaper.
This is the brand I purchased.  They are tiny and black seeds.  
There are three main benefits to adding flaxseed to your diet.  LOTS of fiber, yet again.  It is recommended that if you are new to flaxseed that you begin with about half a tablespoon and build up. This is because of the high fiber and it may cause bloating if you start with too much at first.  Good source of Omega 3's, the ever essential nutrients our bodies need.  They are essential because our body doesn't make these fatty acids naturally and therefore we must consume them. I know, you're probably wondering why you need to buy both chia and flax, but something that flax has that chia does not is lignans.  Lignans reduce the risk of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.  Other benefits include reducing hot flashes for menopausal women and even easing the menstrual cycle.  I recommend buying the flaxseed grounded because otherwise you have to grind it yourself.  The flavor is nutty so when you add it to smoothies like banana ones it gives it an awesome flavor!!!  If you don't grind it your body might not recognize it and it will pass right through you and you'll miss out on all the nutrients.

Flax is cheaper than Chia! 

How do I eat these?  I have started adding them to my Green Monsters! My mom likes to sprinkle them on Greek yogurt, but I don't eat yogurt on it's own these days.  I love the smell of flax though.  Oooooh, I bet these would be awesome in a cottage cheese salad, or just topped on cottage cheese.  Yep, I'm going to go try that now.

What about you, do you use either of these seeds? Which do you want to try? 

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