Chia Seeds Are Not Just For Christmas Anymore: Learn How To Choose, Buy And Use These Super-Nutritional Seeds
If you thought chia seeds were only for growing funky green hair on Chia Pets, you may be surprised to learn that they are one of the latest super seeds packed with fiber and nutrients. These tiny black or white seeds are about the size of a strawberry seed. Adding them to your diet is easy as they can be added to yogurt, sprinkled on cereal, added to smoothies or used in baking. Their nutty flavor also enhances salads or cottage cheese. Check out the health benefits of chia seeds and learn how to choose, buy and use them.
Health Benefits of Chia Seed
Chia seeds are high in omega-3's and fiber, two of the vital ingredients for promoting heart health and controlling cholesterol. In addition, the high fiber may help control blood sugar levels for those with diabetes and may encourage weight loss, too. They are also high in calcium, phosphorus and manganese.
Where to Buy Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are readily available in health and natural food stores. They are also becoming more common in grocery stores, especially grocery outlets that have a health food aisle. They can also be purchased from a variety of online outlets such as www.sincerelynuts.com.
What to Look for When Buying Chia Seed
Organic: Look for chia seeds labeled as organic or natural. This ensures you are getting pure chia seeds and not a product laced with chemicals from pesticides and insecticides.
Reputable Company: Always purchase chia seeds from a company you know and trust. Reputable companies stand by their product and won't try to sell you an inferior product.
Country of Origin: Check the country of origin on the package and choose one that has the highest food and safety regulations. According to Food Safety News, Canada, France, the U.K., Norway and the United States top the list for food safety.
Whole Chia Seeds vs Ground Chia Seeds
Chia seeds can be purchased either whole or ground. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.
Whole Seeds: Whole chia seeds have a long shelf life and maintain their flavor and nutritional value longer than ground seeds. According to Eat by Date, whole chia seeds will maintain their flavor and nutrients for 2 to 4 years, if stored properly. They are typically less expensive than ground seeds and allow you to choose whether you want to use them whole or ground. Whole chia seeds can be ground as needed by storing them in a pepper mill for quick grinding.
Ground Seeds: Ground seeds are convenient and ready-to-use. If you commonly use ground chia seeds in cooking or simply prefer the flavor and texture of ground seeds, this may be a good option for you. They won't stay fresh as long as whole seeds, but by buying only what you need or will use within a few weeks, you will always have fresh chia seeds on hand.
How to Store Chia Seeds
Both whole and ground chia seeds need to be stored in a dark place in an airtight container. Whole seeds can be stored in the kitchen cabinet, but ground seeds must be refrigerated. You can also extend the life of both whole and ground chia seeds by storing them in the freezer. While whole seeds do not require refrigeration, it may prolong their shelf life.
If you are looking for an easy way to boost nutrition in your family's meals, chia seed may be the solution. Try adding whole seeds to baked goods, like whole grain breads and rolls, or toss them into meatloaf and meatballs. Ground chia seeds can easily be "hidden" in kids' meals, giving them a boost of nutrition without setting off their kid radar for health food.