Five Healthiest Foods to Eat in 2013: Chia Seeds

You may associate these seeds with bushy novelty gifts, but these ancient seeds pack a bunch of protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.

Maybe you’ve heard of these: They’re the same seeds used to grow those kitschy Chia Pets—but you might find a better use for them once you take them out of their novelty planters. These tiny, dark seeds resemble poppy seeds when dry. They’re mild and nutty in flavor and nutritionally high in protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants (like vitamin E), calcium, and fiber. They’re most often sprinkled on or in hot or cold cereal, sauces, vegetables, grain dishes, smoothies, yogurt, or on top of baked goods, like muffins. The seeds are also a bulking agent; when soaked in water, they plump up similar to tapioca. “Just be mindful not to exceed the daily two tablespoons," warns Elizabeth DeRobertis, MS, RD, CDN, CDE, at the Scarsdale Medical Group. "The calories can add up.” One ounce (two tablespoons) of chia seeds contains 139 calories.

► For more from the 2013 Health and Fitness Supplement, click here
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