If you are about The Hound’s age, then surely you remember the catchy “Chi-chi—chia” jingle in the commercials for what is arguably the weirdest gift ever created – the Chia Pet.
So, you can imagine my surprise, when I found out that instead of a worthless knick-knack, the chia plant actually could help with managing your weight! And, no it does not involve putting a “Chia Head” by your refrigerator, and the resulting revulsion keeps you from eating – it is found in chia seeds.
Before they wound up on direct response TV Spots, and K-mart shelves, for centuries the Chia Plant, technically known as Salvia hispanica was considered a medicinal plant in Mexico.
The seeds of the plant are generally recognized as a superfood, and were a staple of the Mayans, Aztecs, and Incas. Much like Hoodia, which also has been touted for weightloss, it has been suggested that these native peoples would eat chia seeds to sustain them for long periods of time when they were out hunting, or otherwise without access to another food source.
Chia seeds are made up of soluble fiber, which is how they can help with controlling weight by staving off hunger. Because of all the soluble fiber, when eaten, the seeds absorb large amounts of water and other liquids like a sponge. The chia seeds expand in your belly making you feel more full. The gel like mass they form in your gut, not only makes you feel less hungry, it slows digestion, which also makes you feel full longer, as well as absorb more nutrients from the food you eat, so you are less likely to crave more.
The high fiber content of Chia seeds may also help with weight loss because of the all too familiar colon-cleansing effect of fiber.
You could easily incorporate chia seeds into your daily diet by simply adding them to your morning juice, cereal, yogurt, or anything else you could think of.
But because of that soluble fiber, don’t try to eat them plain and dry. You should always have water to wash them down. If you ate them dry without following with water, they could swell in the esophagus, and obstruct your air supply – not a good thing!
While they may or may not be as effective as claimed for weight loss, there is no denying that chia seeds are packed with nutrition and are a great source of fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants, as well as many other vitamins and minerals including calcium, iron, and potassium.
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