The Chia Pet has become something of a pop culture icon in recent decades, but it could be the seeds that sprout from the top of Chia Pet figurines that could soon become the next popular superfood. Dr. Jack Bukowski of the Nutritional Science Research Institute talks with Dr. Oz about the healthy qualities of chia, a whole grain rich in nutrients.
Chia was a main source of food for the Aztecs more than 300 years ago, until Hernán Cortéz conquered the Aztec Empire and nearly obliterated the entire crop.
Today, chia is gaining popularity for its health benefits:
Has high levels of calcium
Is rich in omega-3 fatty acids
Is high in fiber
Contains iron and magnesium
Is a powerful antioxidant
"It has nutritional content in it that is really quite remarkable for a single food," Dr. Bukowski says. If you want to incorporate chia into your diet, he suggests doing some research to make sure the seeds you purchase are grown with high agricultural standards. Seeds for Chia Pets are grown with pesticides, and Dr. Bukowski says they're "not fit for human consumption."