What’s the deal with chia seeds?


It’s not just for pet plants anymore: Chia seeds are one of spring’s biggest health fads, touted as aiding everything from weight loss to heart health. Is this seed, from which Chia Pets are grown, really a miracle food?

“I’ve been working with it for 20 years, and we’re still learning about chia,” says Wayne Coates, Ph.D., author of “Chia: The Complete Guide to the Ultimate Superfood.”  “What we have found is that it lowers cholesterol, reduces inflammation [and] can help weight loss — and diabetics have been able to reduce their medications.”

Chia, which contains valuable omega-3s, fiber, broad-spectrum antioxidants and protein, is a member of the mint family. It’s native to southern Mexico and Guatemala and was likely used by ancient peoples there. Many years ago, Dr. Coates, an agricultural engineer and founder of the website Azchia.com, oversaw commercial chia cultivation in Argentina. Initially, it was used as animal feed.

“We saw how good it was, how magical,” he says, adding that he saw not only horse hooves grow quicker, but his wife’s fingernails, too.

Dr. Coates says he’s seen no adverse affects, but advises eating only black or white seeds,
“Brown are immature, they’re bad,” he says. Immature seeds are likely to have fewer nutrients.

“Obviously I have a vested interest, but we’ve seen a lot of interesting things. Chia can seriously help the health of this country,” Dr. Coates says, “and of the world.”

More about chia

The versatility of chia seeds makes them a great topper for foods like oatmeal, yogurt and salad. You can also bake with them.
One possible effect is mental alertness/irritability, so avoid eating them before sleeping.
To avoid constipation and cramping, drink plenty of water. The seeds absorb liquid from the body.
You can reconstitute the seeds before eating (dehydrate them and puff them back up when you’re ready to use).

See for yourself

1. AZChia’s Chiabia are milled seeds, meaning they’ve been opened so your body can in theory absorb them better. $8-$10 per lb., www.azchia.com

2. Health Warrior Chia Bars clock in at 100 calories. $23.50 for a box of 15, www.healthwarrior.com

3. Organic Mamma Chia drinks are made with organic chia and fruits. Just watch the calories here — it’s like having a glass of fruit juice. $3.50-$4 a bottle, www.mammachia.com


OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…


Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."


Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.


Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry…

By Jungmin Jang and Narae KimMOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds…

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."


'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…


Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.


Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…


Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.


Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.


Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…


Rangers' speed versus Flyers' size makes interesting playoff…

Among the myriad aspects that will make this Metropolitan Division semifinal series fascinating will be the battle between the Rangers' speed and the Flyers' size,…


Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.


Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.


Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.


Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.