Shakeology ingredient, chia seeds, are edible seeds that come from the desert plant Salvia Hispanica, a member of the mint family that grows abundantly in South America. I’m sure you have seen chia sprouts growing on Chia Petssince the 1980s, but the seeds themselves have a long track record historically as a dietary supplement due to their amazing nutrition! In fact, they date all the way back to pre-Columbian times, where chia seeds were a main component of the Aztec and Mayan diets; women would give them to the warriors for energy and endurance before battle.
As you can see, Chia seeds have been around for a long time but they’re having a second life so-to-speak as the newest ‘it’ health food and potent superfood! In fact, New York Times wrote an article about them where they noted the rebirth of chia seeds from the 80s as a health food, read it here.
So what’s all the fuss about? Well, they’re incredibly good for you! They’re an excellent source of Omega-3, antioxidants, protein and fiber. And what do those things do for your health? They can help you feel full for longer, they can support healthy blood sugar levels, they are rich in Omega 3 which is important to heart and cholesterol health, and they help to support healthy, sustained energy levels.
All these health benefits, complimented by the fact that they have a very mild taste, make them a great superfood to have on hand to add to salads, cereal, oatmeal, fruit drinks, yogurt, dressings and marinades. You can even add more to your Shakeology for a boost (approximately 1 tsp) but rest assured, they’re already in there so you’ve been getting all these benefits daily for the duration that you’ve been drinking Shakeology. See, you’re ahead of the trend!
When adding extra chia to your Shakeology or any recipe for that matter though, keep in mind that chia is very high in fiber – just 2 tbsp contain almost ¼ of your daily recommended fiber amount. So, just like when you first started drinking fiber-rich Shakeology, make sure your body adjusts gradually; start small and work your way up!
You can also use chia interchangeably with flaxseed, a product many people use as a digestion aid by adding to juices, etc. A couple advantages chia has over flax is that it has a longer shelf life and unlike flax, chia seeds don’t have to be ground before using- they are perfectly digestible in whole form!
Another advantage: when added to water and allowed to sit for 30 minutes, chia forms a gel. Researchers suggest that this reaction also takes place in the stomach, slowing the process by which digestive enzymes break down carbohydrates and convert them into sugar. This can help you feel full for longer making chia seeds a great weight loss tool too!
Enjoy the healthy benefits of chia, one of our favorite superfood-superstars of the year!