Once upon a time, there were green haired “stationary pets” all over the place that call themselves as Chia pets. Sadly, after several years of domination, they rapidly became a minority of the population.
Surprisingly, Chia seems to have bounced back from the brink of extinction. Now, there are Chia people! What are Chia people? Unlike the “stationary pets” that have green hair, Chia people actually look exactly like a human being, they have non-green hair, a nose, ten fingers, a pair of eyes, a brain, etc. The difference between Chia people and a normal human being is they eat Chia seeds!
Chia seeds come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family. Salvia hispanica seed is often sold under its common name “Chia” as well as several trademarked names. Chia seeds have gained their popularity back due to their high content of Omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Comparing Chia seed with its archrival, flax seed, Chia seed has more fiber and fewer calories in an ounce. Some studies have shown that consumption of Chia seeds can increase “good fat” content in our body and decrease blood glucose level.
Other than its nutritional highlight, Chia seed is very versatile; it has better shelf life, as it won’t go rancid as easily compared to flax seed. It is also gluten free and can be easily incorporate into any kind of food such as: stir fries, yogurt, juices, soup, and basically anything! Some people even pluck the sprouts and add into salads! Some of you may know the sprouts are the “hair” of the Chia pet.
Although the studies provide encouraging outcomes, more research needs to be done about its health benefit. All in all, consumers should have a pair of critical eyes when purchasing a product and must not be fooled by any commercial claims and make sound decisions in purchasing food items. Now that we know Chia is back in a different form, it is still a mystery to us why Chia people do not have green hair. :)
Written By: Kalok Hon
Kalok Hon a.k.a. Carlos Hon, originated from Malaysia and came to the states two and half year ago for dietetic study. Now the author of this blog post is a dietetic intern doing his internship in Mission Regional Hospital from California Polytechnic University, Pomona.
Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. What are Chia seeds?
Ali, Norlaily Mohd, Swee Keong Yeap, Wan Yong Ho, Boon Kee Beh, Sheau Wei Tan, and Soon Guan Tan, “The Promising Future of Chia, Salvia hispanica L.,” Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, vol. 2012, Article ID 171956, 9 pages, 2012. doi:10.1155/2012/171956
Image courtesy of graibeard on flickr