You may have heard of these five trendy fad foods: chia seeds, matcha, probiotic-rich foods, oat milk and bee pollen. Talk of these foods is buzzing around all over the media, blogs and in grocery stores. What you may not know is what the food really is, what its health benefits are and if it’s worth eating or not. We evaluated each to see if they are truly worth eating or not.

Chia seeds

Chia seeds are being sprinkled on everything from oatmeal to baked goods to salad dressings to yogurt. Chia seeds are a complete protein with all 9 essential amino acids and 2 tablespoons of chia seeds has 140 calories, 4 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber and 18% of your daily calcium. They are also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which can be hard to get enough of in your diet unless you regularly consume fish. Chia seeds are thought to lower triglycerides and improve blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics.

Are chia seeds worth it?

Chia seeds are quite affordable and can be purchased in bulk online and at most grocery stores. They are nutritious little seeds that seem to play a beneficial role in your diet. Ground flax is another similar option that is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids that also make a great choice.


Matcha is a powdered green tea that is rich in antioxidants. All forms of green tea contain antioxidants though matcha is supposed to have 3 times the amount of antioxidants as regular green tea. Matcha can be expensive though some people think it is an investment for their health.

Is matcha worth it?

If you love the taste of matcha and don’t mind the extra cost compared to green tea, feel free to drink it. Otherwise, traditional green tea also contains antioxidants and is still a nutritious beverage option.

Probiotic-rich foods

Gut health is all the rage right now and for good reason, it is very important! Probiotics are a type of healthy bacteria that naturally occur in our digestive tracts. Probiotics can help with nutrient absorption and work against the effects of stress, a poor diet, and are beneficial when you’re taking antibiotics. Probiotics naturally occur in foods such as yogurt, kefir, tempeh, kimchi, miso and sauerkraut. 

Are probiotic-rich foods worth it?

Since gut health is so important and probiotics play a role in that, eating probiotic-rich foods is important. They don’t have to be expensive either! Have a Greek yogurt in the morning or for a snack, and add some fermented kimchi or sauerkraut to your meals regularly if you enjoy that. Other foods that are fortified with probiotics can be quite expensive so unless you love these, feel free to skip them in favor of less costly foods rich in probiotics.

Oat milk

Oat milk is the newest non-dairy milk that everyone is talking about. So much so that there was an oat milk shortage in 2018! Oat milk is made from blending oats with water and straining the oats out and using the liquid as milk. Often sugar, salt or other additives are added. One 8-ounce glass of oat milk has 120 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein and 16 grams of carbohydrates.

Is oat milk worth it?

If you need a non-dairy milk for allergy reasons, because you’re a vegan or for personal reasons, oat milk can be an okay choice. It is lower in protein than soy milk which is the most similar to cow’s milk. It is higher in protein than other non-dairy milks such as almond, cashew, coconut and rice milks. It can be a good alternative if you have gluten, nut or lactose allergies. Oat milk can be more expensive than other non-dairy milks so watch prices. If you can tolerate dairy and eat dairy, cow’s milk is still a great option due to being high in protein and calcium.

Bee Pollen

Bee pollen is thought to have different health benefits yet scientists have yet to be able to confirm any of these benefits related to consuming bee pollen. Bee pollen comes from the pollen that is collected on the bodies of bees. It contains vitamins and minerals and is thought to be helpful for alcoholism, asthma, allergies and stomach issues.

Is bee pollen worth it?

Considering that there has been no scientific evidence that the benefits stated for consuming bee pollen are true, it probably is not worth it. Bee pollen can be expensive and unless you truly enjoy it, you should be able to get vitamins and minerals from other foods.

Some fad superfoods are popular for good reason and some are just a fad that will most likely fade away eventually. Choose foods based on nutritional value, foods you enjoy and that are within your budget as a general recommendation. There are tons of healthy foods out there and you don’t have to stick to a couple expensive “super foods” in order to meet your nutrient needs.


— Amanda Hernandez, MA, RD of The Nutritionist Reviews


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