Chia seeds have recently boomed in popularity, as more people have become aware of the nutritional properties contained within them. Whether it's protein, good fatty acids or dietary fiber you're after, chia seeds seem to have it all. But before you rush out to your local grocery store to pick up a bagful, there are a few things you should know about buying chia seeds. Keep reading below to find out what's worth keeping in mind.
Don't Buy Ground or Brown Seeds
By the time they've arrived at your local supermarket, ground seeds have lost much of the nutrients contained within whole seeds. Nutritional value is the primary reason why chia seeds have begun to have a more prominent role in many people's diets, so it makes no sense to shell out money for ground chia seeds. If you are absolutely set on grinding the seeds, or are required to by a specific recipe, then do it at home using a simple black pepper grinder. Similarly, try to avoid brown seeds, and instead look for ones that are black or white. Brown seeds haven't matured yet and won't give you a full range of nutrients.
Be Careful of Buying in Bulk
Another thing you should keep in mind about the nutritional value of chia seeds is that it decreases over time, even if the chia seeds are still technically good for consumption. In other words, as tempting as it may be to buy in bulk and save a few dollars, make sure that you can use all the seeds you've bought within a timely fashion. Otherwise, you won't be able to reap the full nutritional benefits of the seeds. If you're desperate to save and know a few friends who are also regular consumers of chia seeds, try coordinating and buying in bulk together.
Check Where the Seeds Were Grown
Where chia seeds are grown matters more than most people think. For example, not all seeds are grown in countries using processes and chemicals that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If possible, locate seeds that were grown in southern Mexico or Guatemala. What we call chia is actually salvia hispanica, and is native to this region. It was grown by ancient peoples there and is still commonly used as an important ingredient in many different beverages. When it comes to getting seeds from the source, chia is no exception.
Keep these tips in mind next time you buy chia seeds online or at your local grocery store.