Jewels Doskicz is a registered nurse, freelance writer, patient advocate, health coach, and long-distance cyclist. She and her daughter both live healthfully with type 1 diabetes.
Chia seeds are a new-found, welcome addition to the American diet. You may have noticed their presence in healthy drinks or perhaps found them floating in smoothie. But why are we chia obsessed all of a sudden?
Here's why these tiny little morsels resembling poppy seeds are sprouting up everywhere—chia happens to be a super food and once was a staple food of Mayans and Aztecs. With a shelf life of two years, it also may last longer than some processed foods.
Move over flax, chia's in town.
That's right, chia seeds have pushed flax to the number two spot. I personally love the fact that chia seeds are a total protein because I'm a vegetarian. They are high in fiber, rich in omega-3s (actually higher than salmon), and are also high in calcium and antioxidants.
Chia is an easy addition to a healthy daily diet. Sprinkled on salads, mixed in drinks, yogurt or cereal, it is essentially tasteless.
According to Harvard Health Publications, chia may have diabetes benefits. "A white-seeded variant of chia, called Salba, helped diabetic volunteers control their blood sugar, as well as their blood pressure and new markers of cardiac risk, such as C-reactive protein."
Chia seeds have a unique blend of both soluble and insoluble fiber; this essentially slows down our body's process of breaking down foods to sugars, resulting in more stable blood sugars.
Chia seeds also aid with feelings of hunger. When chia seeds become moist in a liquid, they form a gel-like consistency, once ingested they expand creating a feeling of satiation. Because they have this ability, they also lend a hand with gluten-free baking by adding structure to the end product.
Ready to add them to your diet? Chia seeds can be found at your local health food store.