Once upon a time, chia seeds were known to most people thanks to the pointless -- but fun! Undeniably fun! -- '80s toy, the Chia Pet. Today, they're everywhere: in smoothies, granola, yogurt, and your mom's cabinet because she read they're a good source of protein and meaning for empty-nesters. You can even make a pudding out of them, since they absorb up to 12 times their weight in liquid when soaked. They're practically magical.
OK, "magical" might be a stretch. But they are considered a superfood, and it's thankfully much easier to work them into your diet than it is to grow them into chia-sprouted Donald Trump hair. Here's what you need to know about the big power of these tiny seeds.
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.