Native to Guatemala and central and southern Mexico, chia, or Salvia Hispanica, is a type of flowering plant from the mint family Lamiaceae.
The name of these seeds comes from the Mayan word for strength. This incredibly beneficial plant has been regularly used since the ancient era in order to boost the energy levels, especially in the case of running messengers. Due to this property, it was also known as Indian Running Food.
The taste of these miraculous seeds is mild and pleasant, and it can be added to numerous different dishes, as it does not alter the taste much. You can add it to sauces, smoothies, bread butters and the like.
Chia seeds have numerous health benefits, as they are rich in nutrients. Namely, they include:
- 2 times the amount of potassium contained in bananas
- 3 times the reported antioxidant strength of blueberries
- 5 times the calcium of milk, as well as boron, a trace mineral that helps transfer calcium in the bones
- 3 times more iron than spinach
- large amounts of omega 3 and omega 6, which are essential fatty acids
- 2 times the protein of any other seed or grain
These beneficial seeds are also high in soluble fibre, proteins and essential amino acids in an easily digestible form.
Moreover, chia seeds are highly hydrophilic, that is, they absorb water and form a mucilaginous gel. They can absorb 9-12 times their weight in water fast, in no more than 10 minutes.