Seeds of all varieties—from chia and flax to sesame and sunflower—seem to be popping up everywhere these days. Learn the nutrition basics of flavorful seeds with ideas for how to incorporate into your diet. By: Patricia Bannan, MS, RD
Photo: Lee Harrelson
The chia seed has stolen the limelight lately on the supermarket red carpet, showing up in everything from energy bars to cereals to beverages. Chia comes from a desert plant in Mexico called Salvia hispanica and is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, dietary fiber, antioxidants, and calcium. These tiny black and white seeds were used long ago by Mayan and Aztec cultures to boost energy. Because they have a mild, nutty flavor, chia seeds are easy to add to a variety of foods and drinks. When mixed with water they create a gel that’s touted to be a weight-loss pudding that helps control hunger, however studies have yet to confirm this benefit.
How to eat: Sprinkle them in with your oatmeal, smoothie, cereal, salad, rice, or baked goods for an added boost of nutrition and flavor.