Chia seeds are making a comeback — again.
They’re sprouting up on store shelves and packed into puddings and pretzels and even jams. Forecasts from Grand View ResearchAccording to a firm that tracks the industry, the market in chia seeds will grow by more than 22 per cent annually between 2019-2025, according.
Such is the life cycle of the chia seed — always popping up in one trend or another. The seeds have been a staple in Latin America for many years. offered to Aztec gods during religious ceremonies, but every generation in America seems to think they’ve discovered them for the first time, said Beth Czerwony, a registered dietitian with the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Human Nutrition.
The public consciousness has been aware of chia for over 40 years. They were the “The” furry plant Chia Pets in the late 1970s, and by the ’90s, health food companies started marketing them as a nutritional powerhouse. The tiny seeds have earned a renowned reputation in the last decade as a method to lose weight, a protein supplement, or a staple of the ultra healthy.
Now, thanks in part to social media, chia seeds are again on many people’s minds. TikTok users claim that chia seeds have many benefits. “internal shower” — a viral trend that involves drinking a supposedly cleansing sludge of chia seeds, water and lemon to relieve constipation and aid with weight loss. The hashtag #internalshower was viewed more than 100,000,000 times.
“When it was trendy in the early 2000s, the kids talking about it now might not have even been born,” Ms. Czerwony said. “Everything old comes back.”
We asked nutritionists to tell us if the newest chia craze is healthy.
Are chia seeds really that good?
Chia seeds are not a magic conduit to weight loss or a cure for disease, but they are “incredibly healthy as a natural food source,” said Dr. Melinda Ring, an integrative medicine specialist at Northwestern Medicine.
As with all things, however, it is important to not overdo anything, according to Dr. Lisa Ganjhu. Grossman School of Medicine specializes in gastroenterology. It is best to avoid eating the seeds raw as it can cause digestive problems. Instead, soak them in water, plant-based milk, for several hours, until they become gelatinous. You can also add ground chia seeds into baked goods. You can also mix them in a smoothie to absorb the liquid. into a pudding.
If you eat too many chia seeds — say, several pounds in a sitting — you run the risk of bloating, cramping, discomfort and diarrhea, she said.
What are the health benefits of eating chia seeds?
A serving of chia seeds — roughly two tablespoons — won’t transform your entire diet, or replace the vitamins you should be getting from vegetables. Doctors and dietitians agree that chia seeds have some key health benefits.
They’re high in fatty acids.
Alpha-linolenic Acid, also known as A.L.A., is an omega-3 essential fat acid found in chia seeds. Dr. Ring stated that these acids can only be obtained from your diet. Eating foods rich in A.L.A.s can help prevent cardiovascular disease. The seeds are actually quite nutritious. one of the richest plant sourcesA serving of omega-3 fatty acid has more than twice the daily intake of A.L.A. The recommendation of the National Institutes of Health.
They are full of fiber.
Two tablespoons of chia seeds have around ten grams of dietary fiber — more than twice that of an apple. Fiber-rich foods promote gut health by encouraging bowel movements — hence, the thought behind the “internal shower.” But Dr. Ganjhu said she thinks of chia seeds as more of an “internal Brillo pad.”
“It will definitely push things through,” she said.
Chia seeds have fiber that can keep you fuller longer. This is especially true if you soak the seeds first. Ms. Czerwony stated that the outer layer of soft seeds becomes gel-like and softens. This can help expand your stomach.
They are rich in antioxidants.
Ms. Czerwony stated that chia seeds contain many potential antioxidants. These can help to break down free radicals that can damage our cells. While it is possible to have too many antioxidants, doctors say most people would benefit from more in their diets, because free radicals can build up in the body over time, leading to — among other problems — plaque formations in the heart.
They’re a handy workaround to dietary restrictions.
Ms. Czerwony stated that she has seen patients use chia seedsThese are vegan and gluten-free. They can be used as an egg substitute and have the same consistency as eggs to bake breads and pancakes.
Dr. Ring stated that chia seeds are a good source protein, but less than soybeans and quinoa. This makes them an ideal supplement to vegetarian diets or anyone trying to reduce their meat intake.
“It’s a good trend — it’s healthy,” Ms. Czerwony said. “It’s not going to hurt you.”
Source: NY Times