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Healthy Foods

Chia

What is chia?

Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family that grows abundantly in southern Mexico. A very tiny seed that packs a very big punch. After all, chia is the Maya word for strength. From energy powerhouse to digestive tract workhorse, chia gets the job done. Most evidence shows that humans began using chia seeds around 3500 BC. Aztecs and Mayans consumed chia seeds regularly, grinding them into flour, pressing them for oil and drinking them mixed with water. Chia seeds were considered to be almost magical because of their ability to increase stamina and energy over long periods of time. They remain a dietary staple in many South and Central American countries.

Does chia come from ch-ch-ch-chia pets?

You may have seen chia sprouts growing on the novelty planters called Chia Pets, but historically, the seeds have been the most important part of the plant.

What is the difference between black and white chia seeds?

Chia is available in two colour varieties. The 'black' variety of Chia naturally contains a combination of black, and white seeds. The 'white' Chia variety was formed by specially selecting white seeds from the black variety. Aside from the obvious colour difference, the seed itself is virtually the same in all of its properties - size, taste and smell.

What are the nutritional benefits of chia?

Chia is a gluten free whole grain and the richest plant based source of Omega 3, dietary fibre, protein and antioxidants. One ounce (about 2 tablespoons) contains 139 calories, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams fat, 12 grams carbohydrates and 11 grams of fiber, plus calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc.

How do I eat chia seeds?

The mild, nutty flavor of chia seeds makes them easy to add to foods and beverages. You can sprinkle ground or whole chia seeds on cereal, in yogurt or salads, eat them as a snack, or grind them and mix them with flour when making muffins or other baked goods. Chia can be substituted in any recipe for flax. You can mix seeds in water and add lime or lemon juice and sugar to make a drink known in Mexico and Central America as "chia fresca."