I had never heard of chia until a couple of years ago when a health-minded friend started crowing about her latest superfood. “It’s loaded with omega-3s; the Aztecs used to grow it,” she told me. Intrigued, I wanted to find out if chia truly did deserve the health hype. Here’s what I learned -- as Ana Mantica and Amy Levin-Epstein have both reported on chia for EatingWell Magazine:
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What Is Chia?
If your first thought is “Chia Pets” you’re kind of right. Edible chia seeds (Salvia hispanica) are a cousin of the seeds (Salvia columbariae) you once used to grow a crop of green hair atop your clay “pet.” If you’ve never seen or tried them before, chia are small round seeds -- ivory to charcoal-colored -- that dissolve a bit and form a gel when mixed with liquid. For this reason, they make a creamy addition to oatmeal and are sometimes used to make pudding. Or you can sprinkle them on salad or yogurt as a slightly crunchy, nutty topping.