To answer the question simply, yes you can eat chia pet seeds. But it’s the longer answer I want you to pay attention to. The seeds used on a chia pet are actually called chia seeds. The actual name of the plant is Salvia Hispanica.
Without understanding that these seeds were a dietary staple of the ancient Mayan and Aztec civilizations, it’s hard to believe you can actually eat them. Chia Pets became popular in the 1980’s with the popular TV commercial “Ch-ch-ch-chia!”, and the health benefits of chia were hidden until TV shows like Dr. OZ and natural health professionals began talking about the fiber, protein, fatty acids and antioxidants these seeds provide. Since then, they have been associated with weight loss, high energy, heart health, and optimal wellbeing.
While you might still be wondering, can I really eat chia pet seeds? I would recommend you buy organic chia seeds and not consume the replacement seeds. This ensures you are getting the highest quality and nutritional content available. You can read my recommendation for choosing the best chia seeds at the end of this article.
Another question I often hear is, “can you eat chia pet sprouts” and of course the answer is yes. But there are pros and cons to eating sprouts vs the seed itself. They can be sprouted just like any other seed. Today, a lot of people use sprouted micro-greens in their recipes for their nutritional benefits like omega-3’s and phytonutrients.
How to eat chia seeds
There are endless uses for chia seeds and it’s easy to include them in your daily diet. Start by adding just a couple tablespoons of chia to your favorite drinks. When mixed with water, they become chia gel and can absorb up to 12 times their weight in liquid. You can create this gel by adding water to a jar and adding a couple of tablespoons of chia. Let the seeds soak for about 20 minutes and stir occasionally. The seeds or gel can be added to water, juice, smoothies and other beverages.
If you are first starting out, sprinkle them on foods like:
yogurt cereals morning oatmeal breads puddings pizzas
Again, they are tasteless and a great supplement to any recipe. You can even use chia oil as a replacement for your dressing on your favorite salad and other foods.
If you are interested in finding more recipes, the chia lover Facebook community shares daily recipe ideas you and your whole family will love.
As you continue to learn more about this wonderful superfood you can start using it in cooking and baking. For example, start using chia seed gel as an egg substitute when baking your favorite deserts. Most people don’t realize you can do this! Another common myth is that you have to grind them up like flax seeds. But you don’t have to do this in order to release the full nutritional benefits. In fact, it’s better to consume in whole seed form. And they won’t turn rancid like flax seeds either!
Chia seeds benefits and side effects
Chia seeds originated from Central America and are a very good source of essential fatty acids like omega-3. They are similar to other seeds like hemp seeds and flax seeds but are tasteless and pack a huge nutritional boost!
I want to dispel the myth of any side effects associated with chia seeds. In fact, research shows they are a powerful food that promotes wellness and chia has been associated with regulating insulin levels in diabetics and reducing levels of triglycerides and cholesterol while increasing “good” cholesterol.
Chia seeds are a complete plant-based protein which means they have all essential amino acids. Each 1 oz serving can contain 11 grams of fiber, 5 grams of omega-3’s and over 4 grams of protein. In addition to promoting healthy digestion and providing essential fatty acids, they also contain over 17 percent of the daily recommended intake of calcium and over 38 percent of the daily recommended value of phosphorus.
The combination of vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein and omega-3’s makes chia the new superfood and can greatly reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease while promoting regularity, digestive health and helping you to maintain low cholesterol levels.
Currently there is significant interest among elite athletes who are using energy gels to stay hydrated and maintain high energy levels. According to the Wall Street Journal, Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens uses chia seeds in his diet to maintain a strong digestive track and increase his endurance as a star running back in the NFL.
For those wanting to control their weight without significant changes to their diet, chia seeds can be a great weight management tool that decreases your cravings as you stay fuller longer. And because they are a superfood, you will be getting your recommended value of fiber and other essential nutrients you don’t usually get in your diet.
For those concerned about gluten sensitivity, chia is gluten free. But if you want to be certain, look for the certified organic, non-GMO and gluten-free labels when purchasing your organic chia seeds.