Chia seeds have long been popular in the natural health community (and, well, in a seemingly never-ending barrage of Chia Pets...) but with an increased awareness of their health benefits, they can now be found in just about any grocery store. If you haven't already, you may want to consider incorporating them into your diet. Chia seeds are good for your body and easy to use:
1. As a replacement for wheat, eggs, and thickening agents
Chia seeds are naturally gluten free and dissolve in water to form a thick gel, which makes them a perfect alternative to a number of ingredients in cooking and baking. The seeds can be used whole to replace breading on fish and chicken, or powdered to replace cornstarch in sauces and eggs in baked goods.
2. As a hydration aid
Chia seeds are hydrophilic and absorb more than twelve times their weight in water. To better retain moisture and regulate your body's nutrient absorption, mix a handful of Chia seeds with water or your favorite juice and drink it at the beginning of the day.
3. As an energy source
Chia means "strength" in the Mayan language, and for good reason. Chia seeds are naturally high in calcium, Omega-3s, antioxidants, vitamins A, B, E, and D, potassium, niacin, fatty acids, and a number of other essential nutrients. Eat them mixed with oatmeal, added to your favorite protein shake, or simply on their own! Do you already incorporate chia seeds in your diet? What other benefits have we missed?