Should You Choose White Or Black Chia Seeds?

Whether White or Black, Chia Seeds Are a Tasty Option

Chia seeds on spoon
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Many Americans' first introduction to chia seeds was through the weird, wonderful "chia pets." These animals-shaped topiaries were prepared with chia seeds which would sprout to produce "fur." Fast-forward to the present day, when chia seeds have become a health-food phenomenon.

Because they have a pleasant nutty taste and can be prepared in a variety of ways, chia seeds are easy to include in any diet.

While research doesn't necessarily support the idea that chia seeds will help you lose weight or gain vigor, they are certainly a more nutritious option than ordinary American white bread or mashed potatoes.

White Versus Black Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are gaining popularity for their nutrient content, including dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. They are available in two colors: black and white. Which color of chia seed offers greater health benefits?

According to Wayne Coates, Professor Emeritus in the Office of Arid Land Studies at the University of Arizona, there is no significant nutritional difference between the two colors of chia seeds. A long-time researcher on the best ways to grow and harvest chia seeds, Coates writes in his book, "Chia," that black and white chia seeds boast essentially the same nutrient profile.

A Brief History of Chia Seeds

Chia originated in central America, near Guatemala, and also in areas of southern Mexico.

It was a staple food, like corn and beans, in the diets of the Aztecs and Mayans. Chia actually got its name from the Mayan word for “strength.” It grows well in these hot, and sometimes arid, regions.  

The chia plant is extremely hardy and adaptable to climate change and, today is grown all over the world.

The quality and nutritive values of the seeds are the same no matter in what type of soil or climate they are grown.

Today, they are harvested worldwide and can be found in most grocery and health-food stores available for everyone to try.

Do Chia Seeds Lose Their Nutritional Value When Cooked?

Many people worry about cooking chia seeds thinking that the health benefits of the seeds will be lost when cooked. According to the editor of the Chia Seeds blog, studies have shown that chia does not lose any nutritional value when it is baked.

"In fact, it has a very long shelf life because of the antioxidants and omega-3s that are in the seeds, which seemingly also help it maintain its nutritional value regardless of how you cook it," the blog states.

Good-for-You Recipes Using Chia Seeds

While chia seeds are terrific sprinkled raw on all types of foods, they also can be used in combination with other good-for-you ingredients like berries and quinoa to make super foods. Here are some recipes to get you started:

     

    Sources: 

    • "Chia: The Complete Guide to the Ultimate Superfood" by Wayne Coates, Ph.D. (Sterling Publishing, 2012)

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