Some of you may remember the “ch-ch-ch-chia” pet commercials popular in the ‘80s. But the same seeds that were pitched as sprouting green “fur,” were once prized by the Aztecs as a food for endurance and energy. Chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, iron, calcium, folate, magnesium, and soluble fiber. “They may help decrease cholesterol, maintain blood sugar levels, and are important for optimal health,” says Dorfman.
How to use them: Chia seeds can be eaten raw or, because they absorb liquid when soaked, can add thickness to smoothies or protein shakes. The seeds are tasteless and can be added to cereals, yogurt, salads or other dishes. But don’t overdo it: Since chia has a considerable amount of fiber—about 11 grams for 2 tablespoons, or close to 40 percent of your daily need— it might cause stomach upset.