Though the word ‘chia’ might seem to sound funny, the reality is that chia seeds can also be a healthful addition to a person’s diet.
Chia seeds belong to the mint family, Salvia hispanica (a desert plant). Salvia hispanica seeds are sold under the common name “chia” and other trademarked names. These seeds originated in Central America where they were a staple of the ancient Aztec diet. Seeds of a related plant, Salvia columbariae (golden chia), were used primarily by Native Americans in the southwestern United States.
Chia seeds have captured the market recently as they are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. The health benefits of consuming omega-3 fatty acids can be looked upon at the website www.firsteatright.com. These seeds are packed with fiber and every 28 grams of chia seeds (about 2 tablespoons) contain 10 grams of fiber along with protein and minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc.
Consuming chia seeds along with your diet helps to lower cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure levels. Research and studies about the health benefits of chia seeds are not so common and much of the information available is also based on animal studies or human studies with a small number of research participants.
Chia and its Uses
You can eat your chia seeds raw or cook them in a variety of dishes. You can sprinkle ground or whole chia seeds over yogurt, vegetables, cereal or rice. Mexicans make a dish called chia fresco by soaking chia seeds in juice or water. Chia seeds become soft and develop a gelatinous texture when soaked in water making it easy to mix them along with cooked cereal and other dishes.
Apart from seeds, the sprouts of chia plant are also edible and can be added to salads, sandwiches and other dishes.