A healthy diet means a healthy smile, right? And we’re all looking for the latest way to eat better. Welcome to chia seeds, dubbed by many as 2013’s hottest super food. If you’re not familiar, your mind may have gone to those funny Chia Pets from years past. And it’s true: This trendy health food is linked to the same family as those used on the terra-cotta planters. But don’t eat your Chia Pet seeds! They are not for consumption and the chia seeds you find in your health food store are sold under different, stricter standards.
Chia seeds for human consumption are not a new concept. The Ancient Aztecs, Mayans and Incas included chia seeds in their diets. So what did they know that we are now just learning?
Chia seeds are a tiny whole grain that packs a big nutritional punch. You get a maximum nutrient value for a small caloric price! They can help support digestion, boost energy, stabilize blood sugar and reduce cholesterol. Other factoids about this super food:
~ Chia seeds contain a significant amount of soluble fiber. With 11 grams of fiber per ounce, the chia seed is popular among runners for its hydration benefits. Proper fiber intake can help regulate gastrointestinal activity and can cut the risk of cancer and heart disease.
~ Chia seeds are an excellent source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3s are essential to lower cholesterol and brain health. Chia seeds have nearly five grams of omega-3 fatty acids in a one-ounce serving.
~ Chia seeds are full of antioxidants. Antioxidants fight free radicals and can protect your body from ailments like cancer to the common cold.
~ A 28 gram serving of chia seeds has 4.4 grams of protein. That’s almost 10 percent of our daily need. Many athletes see the value in this super source of protein for muscle recovery and vegetarians love it as an excellent non-meat protein source.
One of Dr. Dental’s favorite things about the new chia seed craze is that they are an excellent source of calcium – which supports strong bones and teeth. In fact, one tablespoon of chia seeds contains 10 percent of the daily-recommended value of calcium.
How to Eat Chia Seeds
It’s easy to add chia seeds to your diet. You can sprinkle them on yogurt, salads or even toast. One of the complaints about chia seeds concerning Dr. Dental’s experts is that the tiny grains get stuck in teeth. So we have some suggestions for eating chia seeds that’s good for your body AND teeth and gums.
One of the best ways to avoid getting chia seeds stuck in your teeth is to buy it in ground – or milled – form. The milled seeds can be added to just about anything, from your favorite smoothie to sauces and soups. Whole chia seeds will take on a gelatin-like consistency when added to water. This makes a great egg substitute for vegan recipes.
Buy chia seeds at your favorite New England grocery or health food store and don’t forget: Eating whole, nutritious foods can result in a healthier smile!
What are your favorite super foods? Drop us a comment to let us know!
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