Many people add Chia seeds to smoothies, hot cereal, yogurt,  or cereal just because they have heard that they are very healthy. Chia seeds have been touted as a super food that will help you lose weight.   They  are indeed very nutritious–high in omega 3 fatty acids, fiber and protein; but, to date, no one has been able to show an effect on weight.

One tablespoon of Chia seeds contains 60 calories, 3 gm protein, 5 gm carbohydrate (all of which is fiber), and 4.5 gm heart healthy mono and poly-unsaturated fat. The seeds are digested well and the nutrients absorbed (unlike whole flax seed, which must be ground in order for you to absorb the nutrients).

I wanted to see what the hype was about, so I bought a package of Bob’s Red Mill Chia seeds (a bit on the spendy side, about $12 for a 1 lb bag). I added a tablespoon  to my yogurt and fruit this morning. The seeds added a nice, mild flavor and a nice texture. The look of the black seeds on food may put some people off. I have to say that I prefer the flavor of almonds or walnuts (similar in protein, but not quite as high in fiber for the same amount of calories). Nuts have actually been shown to aid in weight loss, and they are less expensive than Chia seeds.

Bottom line: Chia seeds can be a healthy addition to your diet–they add antioxidants (but so do all fruits and vegetables and nuts), healthy fats (so do nuts, ground flax seed, whole grains and fish), and a very healthy amount of fiber (so do fruits, vegetables, nuts, other seeds, whole grains and legumes)–a little oat or wheat bran added to cereal, yogurt, smoothies is a much cheaper and lower calorie way to add fiber.  IF YOU LIKE Chia seeds, by all means use them in a variety of foods; if you do not care for them, or are put off by their price, no worries; there are lots of other foods that can provide the same nutrients.

Remember–there is no specific “super food” that is a must for everyone (contrary to what you might read on the internet, or see on TV). There are many ways to achieve healthy, nutritious eating!