Our in-house doc on the latest good seed, chia
Q: I heard that a seed called chia is the latest to be labeled a superfood. What makes it so great?
A: Americans have known about chia for a long time now — surely you or someone you know has owned a Chia Pet — but only recently have nutritionists found out just how healthy chia can be to eat. Al Bushway, professor in the Food Science and Human Nutirition department at the University of Maine, first looked at chia in 1978. He told me “the fiber content is excellent. It has a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Those are two very important factors.” Professor Bushway also likes its very low sodium, cholesterol, and saturated fat contents. One hundred grams contains 10 times more magnesium than milk, 25 percent more fiber than flaxseed, twice the potassium of bananas, 30 percent more antioxidants than strawberries, and 50 percent more vegetable protein than soybeans, as well as 70% of your daily calcium and 50% of your iron requirement.
I eat two scoops on my breakfast cereal every morning and two more in an almond milk shake in the afternoon to control my weight. Just 26 grams of chia is so filling that it quashes my hunger for hours by forming a gel in the stomach which slows the absorption of food. I was able to lose seven pounds in just a month by incorporating the seed into my diet — dropping me below 200 pounds for the first time since my 20s. Chia can vary widely in its nutritional content so I take a blend to get the very highest levels of protein, fiber, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.
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This article originally appeared in the June/July 2010 issue of Men’s Journal.