Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

A New Take on Ancient Seeds

By Alana Sugar, June 4, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Alana Sugar

It wasn’t long ago that Americans thought of seeds as food for birds and squirrels, with the exception of the occasional sunflower seed. Not so anymore. Pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds are now common, but did you know these can be a gateway to more?

Lucky for us, many ancient seeds are making a healthy comeback.

Edible seeds such as flax, hemp and chia have been around for eons, providing nutrient-dense, tasty food for humans, earning them the moniker of super-foods. They can be added to smoothies, baked goods, granolas and cereals. You can stir them into yogurt or add to cream cheese.

Try sprinkling over fruit, cooked grains or legumes. Here’s the low-down on these nutritional darlings.

Flax Flaxseeds have received quite a bit of recognition for their health benefits.  Available whole, ground, or pressed into oil, flaxseeds deliver heart healthy Omega 3 fatty acids as well as natural, protective components called lignans. Flaxseeds can be purchased either brown or golden. Both brown and golden flax can have a similar nutritional profile, but many folks prefer the flavor of the golden flax.

To get their full nutritional benefits, flax seeds should be ground into meal. You can do this with a coffee grinder (cleaned!) or mini-food processor. Add to smoothies, breads, muffins and crackers.  Try these fun flax recipes:

Hemp Hemp seeds have been eaten for thousands of years. They are hard to beat when it comes to good nutrition. They deliver a balance of both omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, and they’ve got fiber and high quality protein, including all of the essential amino acids, plus iron, zinc and magnesium.

Hemp is not marijuana. It has little to no measurable THC and has no drug value. Hemp seeds can be eaten raw, made into milk or baked into cookies, breads and muffins. Get cooking with these hemp recipes:

Chia Remember the old television commercials advertising the little Chia Pet? You planted the seeds and the sprouts would grow, forming the “fur” of the little animal-shaped plant?

Well, those little chia seeds have moved to the forefront of the seed revolution, where they promise to stay for quite some time. Rivaling flaxseeds for Omega 3s, they offer antioxidants and fiber. They are so small that grinding is not necessary. Purchase whole and enjoy in smoothies, pudding, custard and more.

Their soluble fiber forms a gel that thickens milk or other liquids. You can add flavor with fruits, vanilla or chocolate. Soon to join the ranks of the most popular seeds is the up and coming mila, a conglomeration of the four most nutrient-dense strains of chia.

Cheer up with these chia seed recipes:

Have you joined the seed revolution? Got a favorite recipe or a simple idea? I’d like to know.

Category: Food & Recipes




Anita Pastor says ...
I make a Hemp Shake with Chia seeds, Banana ,almond milk, almond butter and frozen berries. It is great after a hard workout at the gym.
06/06/2012 3:39:32 PM CDT
WholeDude says ...
The definition of Whole Food: Thanks for sharing the story about seeds. We need to come to a clear understanding of food and its role in life. I suggest that the term Whole Food could be defined as nutritional substances that promote the physical, mental, social, moral, and spiritual well-being of man in his community and environment.
06/06/2012 6:47:03 PM CDT
Angie says ...
three cheers for chia! we recently started using chia seeds ever since they had a sale at WF. every morning i make a kale smoothie with raw kale, frozen pineapple, strawberry and mango. i now add 2 tablespoons of chia seeds soaked in a glass of water, and a little extra water to blend. even my baby likes it! i make a snack for my baby with chopped strawberries, honey and chia seeds. i also just made popsicles with strawberry, mango and chia. you can pretty much add chia to anything cos it has such a neutral flavor it blends right in. gives a nice texture, too :)
06/06/2012 9:03:49 PM CDT
Gwen Elder says ...
Hey Alana I'm just curious, as a distributor of MILA myself, how you were introduced to it and when it is arriving in Whole Foods? It is truly an amazing seed. Thanks GWEN
06/07/2012 10:09:07 AM CDT
Tracey says ...
This post couldn't be more timely. I've been seeing chia and hemp seeds everywhere. So I bought both and have been using them in smoothies and salads. Chia seeds are like sesame seeds - they just add that bit of texture to make food interesting. And hemp seeds blend so well in smoothies. Thanks for posting these recipes. Can't wait to try them out.
06/07/2012 11:46:08 AM CDT
Melissa @ Treats With a Twist says ...
I love these ancient seeds! I have most recently used chia for: Peanut Butter Chia Cookies: http://www.treatswithatwist.com/2012/06/peanut-butter-chia-cookies-pb2.html Chia Seed Coconut Pudding: http://www.treatswithatwist.com/2012/04/chia-seed-coconut-pudding-with-toasted.html And I love using flax in my homemade granolas and gluten-free cookies to give them a nutrient and protein punch! Granola: http://www.treatswithatwist.com/2012/02/super-healthy-cinnamon-raisin-granola.html GF Chocolate Cookies: http://www.treatswithatwist.com/2012/03/tropical-chocolate-chewy-cookies.html
06/07/2012 12:31:49 PM CDT
Sara says ...
I have been using Mila for a while. Here are some of my favorite recipes. http://superchiaseed.com/recipes/
06/08/2012 7:27:51 PM CDT
Sheela C. says ...
Its great that chia seeds are becoming more popular! As a Lifemax Distributor for Mila, I have personally experienced and seen in friends and family great health benefits! I know folks who have consumed regular chia without much benefit, and when they switched to high quality, nutrient-dense Mila, there was a significant change! Thanks for sharing this information about healthy seeds!
07/03/2012 4:36:41 PM CDT
gretchen says ...
Mila is amazing. It made such a profound change in my body that I joined the team and share it with everyone! Check out what it can do for athletes fueledbymila.net/gretchenturzo .
07/03/2012 9:28:25 PM CDT
lisa Fulton Burke says ...
I have shopped you exclusively since Bread and Circus and have never felt sooooo proud! MILA has made a massive difference in my and my family's lives!!!! Three home births and our MILA baby clearly got his omegas...and raw foods, he loves veggies and his manual dexterity is crazy advanced.I get all our stuff from you except my mila from Lifemax and my alkaline water sachets and focus up from xoomaworldwide. Cheers, Lisa and Dr. Burke and the 3 Burke Boys!
07/04/2012 5:50:46 PM CDT
MJ says ...
I have been taking Mila for 2 years now and the benefits of it to my health are NUMEROUS. For our generation to live like days of our grandparents we need healthy, wholesome products and superfoods. It is critical to our health and well-being. It's great to see Whole Foods carrying such a great product!
07/04/2012 9:37:37 PM CDT
Christine Estomo says ...
Thank you for blogging about Chia! Mila has totally changed my health. I have more energy, sleep better, more clarity in my thinking, and more endurance. My whole family eats Mila. Some of the ways we eat it is soaked in water, over cereal, in smoothies, mixed in hamburger, soups, mixed in yogurt, and even in chocolate cake. My daughter swims competively and notices a difference in her performance when she is eating Mila. Being part of a group of people who share this whole raw food that makes such a difference in peoples lives has truely changed my life....christineestomo.lifemax.net or milamom3.fueledbymila.net
08/09/2012 4:40:09 PM CDT
sheela calhoun says ...
Thanks for sharing the value of whole raw seeds! I recently heard of a study that stated whole seeds do not provide much in the way of nutrition. But when the seed is "opened" as in the case of Mila, from Lifemax, it exposes the nutrients for full absorption! I have been consuming Mila for 4 years and love it! Www.scalhoun.lifemax.net. Www.scalhoun.fueledbymila.net
10/29/2012 6:41:21 AM CDT
mona mcdermott says ...
I am looking for chia seeds. does your store carry them? if so, would i need to buy them in bulk or prepackaged? thank you!
10/30/2012 5:32:10 PM CDT
Megan says ...
@MONA Many of our stores do sell chia seeds, however, please check with your local store regarding whether they carry them in bulk or prepackaged, as selection can vary from store to store.
11/01/2012 9:55:10 AM CDT
JAY says ...
11/10/2012 4:54:16 PM CST
Clarina Aguilar says ...
Where to buy antient seeds for consumptiion. Thank-you
12/13/2012 8:18:12 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@CLARINA - Thanks for your question. You should be able to find many of the seeds listed above at our stores. Check with your local store and they'll be happy to help you find them!
12/14/2012 5:35:14 PM CST
Betty caleb says ...
Do you sell flaxseeds or marshmallow roots
02/06/2013 2:48:57 AM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@BETTY - Our products vary between locations so I would suggest reaching out to your local store to see what options they carry!
02/06/2013 3:26:45 PM CST
Sally Sanchez says ...
Love all the information that i did read about the chia seed will love to fine out where i can buy some. please feel free to foward me some inforamtion on where to buy this product and more infor on it. Thanks.
02/25/2013 4:40:23 PM CST
Merrie says ...
Very informative.. I use Chia seeds and Flax now so will try Mila!
05/14/2013 10:49:14 PM CDT
Henry says ...
Thanks for the article....will be including Chia in our families diet. Had to comment on all of the spam comments trying to hype the Mila. $50 for 16 oz of miracle seeds to funny all of these marketers for this seed. Probably a good reason this miracle seed isn't available in a grocery store near you.
09/03/2013 11:36:21 PM CDT
rvil says ...
I grind my Chia Seeds in my liltle Cuisinart to replace eggs in baking dishes. Ingredients for 1 egg: 3 Tbsp Water, 1 Tbsp Chia Seed. My muffins always come out most and delicious!
10/12/2013 4:07:05 AM CDT
Alice Canestaro-Garcia says ...
I am interested in whole chia seeds carried by Whole Foods.
11/04/2013 8:33:52 AM CST