Chia is a member of the mint family and grows naturally from the Mojave Desert all the way down Argentina. Chia for centuries was of great economic importance to Native Americans of Southwest and California Coast. It was a major food crop of Aztecs.
The roasted seeds were mixed with water and eaten as gruel or ground into flour for baking. Indians also placed the seeds in water to make poultices and drinks. One tablespoon of chia seeds mixed in water was reputed to have enough nutrition to sustain a man on a forced march for 24 hours. An infusion of the seeds was also given as a fever remedy and as a poultice for gunshot wounds by the Spanish Missionaries. At present long distance hikers eat Chia seeds to provide energy.
Chia seeds come in two colors: black and white, the black seeds are more abundant and cost less than the white one. The nutritional values of the two varieties are similar, but some studies think the white may be more nutritious.
Today Chia is regarded as a super food due to its unique blend of protein, essential fats, fibre, complex carbohydrates and antioxidants.
Chia Seed is a Good Source of: B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese and dietary fibre. It is also very low in sodium and cholesterol.
- According to study, Chia possesses the highest percentage of the polyunsaturated fatty acids (linolenic and linoleic) of all crops. Chia seed contain 60% omega 3 fatty acids.
- The protein content of Chia is higher that other nutritional grains. Unlike other grains, it is a complete protein, meaning that it has the appropriate balance of all essential amino acids. About 19 to 23% of chia seed weight is protein.
- Chia seed is high in fibre, a 15 gm serving of chia seeds will provide 4 to 5 gm of fibre. Our body requires at least 35 gm of fiber a day to stay healthy.
- Chia seed contain boron which is essential for bone health.
- Chia seed is rich in calcium, about 56gm of chia seeds contains 600 mg of Calcium, as compared to 120 mg for a cup of milk.
- Chia seeds have 2 times more potassium than banana.
- Chia seeds have 3 times more antioxidants than blueberries.
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