superdumb supervillain: Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia… The Unlikely Superfood

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia… The Unlikely Superfood

I was admittedly skeptical when I heard about the latest superfood discovery: chia seeds. Surely not the chia seeds that sprout into the Chia Pets of my youth? Yes, the one and the same.

Turns out, chia seeds are packed with good stuff. Ancient Aztecs and Mayans used chia as a primary food source and it was prized for its energy-giving properties. Mexico's Tarahumara Indians, the legendary long-distance runners profiled in Christopher McDougall's New York Times bestselling book, Born to Run, carry pouches of chia for endurance.

According to Health Warrior, makers of the rather delicious Chia Bar, 16 oz of chia seeds contain as much Omega-3 as 10 lbs of salmon, as much protein as 3 lbs of tofu, as much calcium as 4 lbs of milk, as much magnesium as 15 lbs of broccoli and as much fiber as 4 lbs of oatmeal. Not that anyone needs to eat that much in one sitting! Each Chia Bar (available in coconut, acai berry and chocolate peanut butter flavors) contains just 100 calories and 5g of sugar but packs a serious energy punch with 1000mg Omega-3, 4g fiber and 4g protein. It's a good thing to stash in your gym bag or glove compartment. Did I mention they're also yummy? Yes, they are.

Mamma Chia lets you drink your chia seeds. Since they're rehydrated, ostensibly the nutrients are more easily absorbed by your body. Each 10 oz bottle provides 2500mg of Omega-3, 4g of protein, 95mg of calcium and 6g of fiber. The nine Mamma Chia flavors (blackberry hibiscus, cherry lime, cranberry lemonade, raspberry passion, pomegranate mint, coconut mango, kiwi lime, guava mamma and grapefruit ginger) are unusual and refreshing without being too sweet since they're made with natural fruit juices and agave nectar. The chia seeds lend a really interesting texture to the drinks, sort of a cross between the tapioca pearls in Asian bubble drinks and pomegranate arils. I've only tried a couple of flavors but they stock the brand at the Natural Grocers next to my gym. Yay!

Another interesting way to add chia seeds to your diet is to buy them in bulk. Health Warrior sells them in a 16oz package and I've seen other brands in jars in the supplement section of my regular grocery store. You can add them to breads, cakes or pizza dough as you might add flaxseeds or poppyseeds, for a nutty flavor and texture. They can be used as an egg substitute in baking recipes- simply soak 1 Tbsp of chia seeds in 1/4 cup water per egg. Make a healthy "pudding" by soaking chia seeds in coconut or almond milk, with no cooking necessary just mix 1/4 cup of ground chia seeds with 1 cup of preferred milk. You can flavor it to taste with fruit or cocoa powder and honey or agave to sweeten, then refrigerate until set. 

Have you used chia seeds? Any recommendations?

In accordance to the FTC Guidelines and the WOMMA Code of Ethics, I am disclosing that I have received complimentary samples from Health Warrior and Mamma Chia to facilitate this postNo compensation was provided. All opinions are, as usual, entirely my own.


  1. I have a pack of Dole Chia fruit clusters sitting on my desk Naomi - used when writer's starvation sets in. They are pretty good, actually.

  2. I would never have thought...!! So do they really taste okay? The bars sound really good, especially the chocolate peanut butter! Not sure if I could handle the texture of the drink, but it would be worth a try!


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