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The new super food you've gotta know about

 

You know those Chia Pet commercials, with the terra cotta planters in crazy shapes that seem to sprout green, herby tufts almost instantly? Well, the latest health food craze is all about the chia…without the planter.

 

Fully grown chia is a hardy, sort of spiky-looking herb, but nowadays, you’ll probably see it more commonly as a seed than a plant. These babies are packed with good-for-ya nutrients, including linolenic acid, manganese, calcium, potassium and phosphorous, in addition to protein and tons of fiber. You an eat the raw seeds whole or soak them in water to drink or add to food. Here’s why you might wanna give ‘em a try:

 

Fill Up on Fiber

Fiber helps ya feel full, so if you’re slippin’ some chia seeds into your meals, chances are you’ll end up eating less. You won’t feel like snacking as much, which could help you lower your overall calorie intake.

 

Get Healthy Fats

Chia seeds have omega-3 fatty acids, which, if ya haven’t heard, are one of the two kinds of fats that are actually good for your bod. Omega-3s help lower blood pressure, which can reduce your risk of heart disease. Even better, these seeds don’t have much saturated fat, and that’s the stuff that ya wanna avoid.

 

Build Up Bones

If ya don’t like milk, here’s your chance to get some calcium and strengthen your bones. In just two tablespoons of chia, there are 205 mg of calcium, which is about 16 percent of your recommended daily allowance. You can even add the seeds to some calcium-rich yogurt or cereal for an extra boost of bone strength.

 

Tune Up Your Memory

Another awesome bonus that comes with omega-3s is brain power. They improve your memory and will help ya concentrate on whatever fun projects you’re tackling this summer. Scientists are even checking out omega-3s as a way to lessen behavioral disorders.

 

Ditch Disease

The antioxidants in chia seeds can help fight off lots of nasty diseases, and they’re being investigated as ways to reduce risks of cancer, Alzheimer’s and arthritis. Some scientists also think antioxidants can help put the brakes on the aging process, so if you were looking for the Fountain of Youth, these seeds just might be your ticket.

 

Energize!

Instead of snacking on protein bars to fuel your workouts, try mixing chia seeds into your water or pudding. They’re an excellent way to get some plant protein and carbs, which will give you energy while helping to build lean muscle.

BY CARRIE RUPPERT ON 8/7/2012 5:55:00 PM

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