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We’ve been eating chia seeds for over 5,000 years. To put that in perspective, that brings us way back to the Bronze age, or the era in human history when the earliest forms of writing (shout out to cuneiform!) were developed. In spite of that, most of us only learned about chia seeds within the past few years, thanks to the rise in popularity of chia seed pudding. Like flax seeds, they also make a great substitute for eggs in baking – for one egg, just combine 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds with 3 tablespoons water and let it sit in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. But have we been eating chia seeds wrong this whole time? According to the video above, we have.

This video comes from Nutrition Facts, a non-profit website headed by Dr. Michael Greger, who has long been a strong proponent of a whole foods, plant-based diet for good health. In the video. Dr. Greger details the health benefits of chia seeds, like how they’re exceptionally high in fiber (one ounce of chia seeds contains 10.7 grams) and they’re also a great source of omega-3 fatty acid with 5 grams per one ounce. But in order to benefit from their exceptional omega-3 content, it looks like we have to grind chia seeds, just like we would with flax.

According to a study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, subjects who consumed two tablespoons of whole chia seeds daily for ten weeks had no change in their omega-3 levels. But when the subjects consumed the same amount of milled chia seeds, they saw a significant increase in the amount of both short chain and long chain omega-3 levels in their blood. So, it looks like we might want to avoid those pre-packaged chia seed puddings or chia seed-infused drinks — at least if you’re looking to eat them for the omega-3 fatty acid benefits.

Luckily, even if you grind up chia seeds, they still take on that jelly-like texture, so it’s not like we need to vow to never eat chia seed pudding again – but you might want to grind them up in a mini coffee grinder or mortar and pestle first. We recommend trying it with this summery Raspberry Macadamia Coconut Chia Pudding, this Sunrise Nourish Bowl, or this Carrot Cake Chia Pudding.

For even more plant-based recipes,  we highly recommend checking out Food Monster app, a food app available for both Android and iPhone. The app has over 8,000+ vegan recipes with 10+ recipes added daily as well as cooking tips, you’re going to find something you love. Give it a try!

Lead image source:  AS Food studio/Shutterstock

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