QUESTION

I have prediabetes and really don’t want to gain weight, so I'm trying to curb my cravings. Any suggestions?

ANSWER

I have a great suggestion and it’s very easy—just add small amounts of chia seeds to your diet. These tiny black seeds, a dietary staple of the Aztecs—the plant is actually a sage, Salvia hispanica—contain a lot of fiber and can absorb up to 12 times their volume in fluid. The sense of fullness this adds will help you eat less during and between meals. Chia seeds also help moderate your blood sugar response to a meal. Your blood sugar will rise more slowly and won’t peak as high as it would if you ate the same food without chia seeds added. That, too, helps calm appetite, since high blood sugar can actually increase hunger. Having a sense of fullness and keeping blood sugar on an even keel should reduce cravings, which in turn can help you lose weight and manage—or maybe reverse—prediabetes. Indeed, chia seeds are more effective in curbing hunger and promoting fullness than similar water-soluble, fiber-rich foods such as oat bran and flaxseeds. So give the little seeds a go. Try sprinkling 30 grams (one tablespoon) onto a salad, into your oatmeal, in your yogurt. Use the seeds in puddings, baked goods, frittatas, stews—and, definitely, smoothies. Bonus: Chia seeds are packed with protein and healthful omega-3 fats as well. Learn more in Bottom Line's article, "Seeds: The Forgotten Superfood."