People have been eating them for thousands of years
Chia grows near the equator, in countries like Mexico, Bolivia, and Ecuador, says dietitian Amy Stephens. The Aztecs and Mayans were eating them long before health nuts started adding them to their fancy kombucha drinks.
So they're not a newfangled health food -- just a newfangled health trend. They grow from a flowering plant, and come in black or white. Classic colors.
Chia gives you a good bang for your buck
Make no mistake, these tiny little seeds aren't a replacement for eating a varied, healthy diet. (Moderation, people. Don't jump on some crazy Silicon Valley Soylent train.) But they do have a lot of powerful nutrients that tend to be found in pricier items. For instance, 1tbsp of chia seeds has nearly 5g of omega-3 fatty acids, which are usually found in salmon and other fish. "Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats, meaning you have to get them from food," says dietitian Alissa Rumsey. While they may seem a little pricey at first glance, compared with what you'll pay for salmon -- plus the fact that they expand in water -- they're a pretty good omega-3 value, especially for vegetarians.