Did you know chia is the Mayan word for "strength?" And for good reason, too. Adding chia seeds to your daily diet can be extremely simple and beneficial. They are easily accessible (you can find in your local grocery and health foods store), are fairly priced, and accompany a number of ingredients without overpowering them in taste or texture.  These seeds, native to Mexico and Guatemala, are rich in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, phosphorous, and calcium for an ultimately stronger and healthier hair, body, and skin.
Chia seeds are rich in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, phosphorous, and calcium for an ultimately stronger and healthier hair, body, and skin.

What do chia seeds look and taste like?

Chia seeds are mixture of tiny black and white seeds, with virtually no odor and no flavor. When consumed in a bunch, chia seeds can feel gritty or grainy. When chia seeds get wet they form a gelatinous coating.

The benefits

  • Chia seeds have a high content of phosphorous, a popular ingredient thought to encourage hair growth.
  • A building block of protein, l-lysine is known to promote hair growth, and chia seeds offer an abundance of this.
  • The seeds contain 9 essential amino acids related to stronger hair, skin, and nails.
  • Omega 6 LA is a protein four times that of blueberries in antioxidant power, according to UK-based nutritional therapist Vicki Edgson.
  • Compared to 1 glass of milk, a serving of chia seeds offer five times the amount to provide more elasticity to curls and stronger teeth and nails.
  • Chia seeds slow down the pace of turning carbs and other foods into sugar. This helps maintain your blood sugar levels, ideal for diabetes sufferers.
  • The fiber content is a significant benefit of chia seeds, according to fitness and weight management specialist Maron McGovern. One serving is 1/3 of the recommended daily intake for proper digestion and weight control. 
  • Fatty acid Omega 3 ALA provides better brain function by converting to DHA (depending on how your body responds--everyone is different).
  • When mixed with water, consuming chia seeds can give you the illusion of feeling full, further aiding in weight gain prevention.

How to include chia seeds in your meals

  1. Add 1/4 cup of chia seeds to Greek yogurt topped off with fresh strawberries and blueberries for a refreshing, nutritious morning snack. 
  2. Sprinkle some chia seeds on some toast smeared with peanut butter.
  3. Blend chia seeds into your midday smoothie or add to your juice. 
  4. Top your oatmeal with a handful of flax, hemp, and chia seeds.
  5. Include 1/4 cup of chia seeds into your homemade granola bar recipe.

Celebrity chef and Food Network host Giada De Laurentiis shared this recipe for her favorite chia seed pudding:

  1. In a medium bowl, gently whisk the almond milk, yogurt, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, the vanilla and 1/8 teaspoon salt until just blended.
  2. Whisk in the chia seeds; let stand 30 minutes. Stir to distribute the seeds if they have settled.
  3. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  4. The next day, in a medium bowl, toss the berries with the remaining 4 teaspoons maple syrup.
  5. Mix in the almonds.
  6. Spoon the pudding into 4 bowls or glasses; mound the berry mixture on top and serve.
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Chia seed hair gel

Due to the mucous-like coating that forms on the outside of chia seeds when they get wet, they have also been used as a hair gel much like the curly community fan favorite, flaxseed gel. This chia seed gel from Bustle is very similar to our flaxseed gel recipe, so if you enjoy DIY-ing your own products then give this a try.

  1. Mix one cup of filtered water with four cups of chia seeds
  2. Let the mixture sit overnight
  3. Heat the mixture up the following day on medium heat for 10 minutes
  4. Strain the chia seeds using a stocking
  5. Add a tablespoon of aloe vera and mix with a whisk to incorporate it fully
  6. Add a few drops of your favorite essential, such as lavender oil, to give your new gel fragrance
  7. Apply to damp hair 

Do you incorporate chia seeds into your diet or hair regimen?