Ch-ch-ch-Chia SEEDS!

By on 01/28/2014
chia-pet-chia-seeds

Whenever I feel like ridding my pockets of the burden of extra money, I like to wander the aisles of Whole Foods.

Recently, I’ve noticed a new health…err…trend, key word, product, ingredient, whatever the heck you want to call it: Chia Seeds.

Out of curiosity, I tried some chia-infused soy yogurt thing once and it tasted like vomit, and that was the end of that for me.

But you know me, I can’t let things lie. I must know WHY! WHY are these suddenly a thing?

My theory? Well, Chia Pets were the BOMB way back in the day, but then fizzled (or maybe they’re still the bomb and I’m just 30 and uncool now?). So, chia seed distributors probably had a meeting that went something like this:

“Chia pet sales are down! What can we do to drive more profitable sales of our money crop?”

“Hey, I think they’re edible?”

“Well we’ve got poppy seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds… you can promote all kinds of seeds to those Whole Foods yuppies.”

“Let’s do it!”

Fast forward to today, and the main ingredient of this trend:

chia pet same as chia seeds

Has successfully been re-branded into this:

 Chia Seed Products

You’ve got your pure chia seeds of course, and then your chia drink, and chia gummies and chia yogurt and OH, even some chia beauty products! Wonderful! Ailments solved! All of them!

My always delayed point to this though is do they work?

 

Are chia seeds legit?

 

Well, here is a list of all the things chia seeds have been advertised to help:

  • Assist in weight loss

  • Fight diabetes

  • Strengthen teeth and bones

  • Improve heart health

  • Act as nutritional supplement

  • Fight aging and cancer

So those are the claims. But are they true?

Well, kind of. The thing I’ve learned is there isn’t much special about the chia seed, other than it has nutritional value, antioxidants, and some other minerals, etc. that have all been accepted as key ingredients in fighting the above problems.

Basically, chia seeds contain:

 

  • Fiber (aids in weight loss by helping you feel fuller longer, slows down digestion which may aid in diabetes)

  • Omega-3s (good for heart health)

  • Potassium and Calcium (strengthen teeth and bones, nutritional supplement)

  • Other vitamins and minerals (nutritional supplement)

  • Antioxidants (fights aging and cancer)

 

Do you see my point, though? MANY foods contain these pretty common ingredients. So why are chia seeds such a hot item now? Is it just successful marketing/branding, or do they have any redeeming, unique qualities?

Kind of, I guess. Apparently they can be used as an ingredient substitute. They get all squishy when wet, so they work well as an egg substitute, which is good for vegans or general egg haters. AND! They are gluten free! HELLLOOO, another big thing right now!! I seriously saw a veggie package the other day that had the gluten free logo on it. I’m so mad I didn’t take a picture. Veggies are gluten free now? SWEEET! I’m gonna buy these here gluten free carrots instead of those, gluten laden ones over there. LOOK AT ME I’M SO HEALTHY!

Wow… sorry. Rant over.

 

So yeah, chia seeds. A thing. I guess. For now. It’s hitting all of those target key words: WEIGHT LOSS. OMEGA-3s, ANTIOXIDANTS.

I wonder how popular all of these chia brands will still be 5 years from now. Or will the newest health food trend, “Organic, Free Range, 100% Pure, Fresh, Grade-A Dirt” take over by then. IT HAS MINERALS! oooohhh….

I just feel at some point it’s worth pinpointing, or targeting whatever need it is you have, and then finding the supplement/ingredient that best treats that one thing specifically.

If you are looking to lose weight, then a specific food/supplement targeted to just that one goal will probably have more potent, targeted ingredients. Or if strong bones is your thing, instead of eating chia seeds (24o mg of calcium per serving), maybe take a specific (well researched and trusted) calcium supplement instead? Most of those will give you 100% of your daily value (1,000mg) in just 2 pills. AND it will most likely be paired with vitamin D, which is essential for proper absorption. So instead of half-assing your goal with a mediocre product, you can knock it out of the park with something intended specifically for calcium deficiency.

Catch my drift? Instead of a “catch all” ingredient that merely grazes multiple areas of nutritional interest, why not focus on exactly what your needs are, and then find a targeted ingredient, supplement or whatever to really hit that special spot for you.

Marketers be damned!

My final say: Chia Seeds. Jack of all trades, master of none. (Also, not tasty).

About Anna

Hi there! This is my little blog project where I am trying to learn more about health, wellness and living a balanced life, while also sharing a bit of my silly side as well. By "silly" I mean sarcastic. And by "a bit" I mean way too much. Sorry about that.♥ - Anna

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