Chia seeds, the member of the mint family, are known for their superlative nutritional benefits and have even been deemed a superfood. Originating in Mexico and South America, Chia seeds are said to have been used in these cultures for supernatural powers. In Mayan “chia” means “strength”. The Aztec runners used to drink a mixture of Chia seeds, lemon, and water called Iskiate. After drinking this, they are said to be able to run hundreds of miles, hence the term “Runner’s Food”.
Chia seeds are an excellent source of protein, healthy fats, dietary fiber, and several minerals. They also contain a high amount of antioxidants. When Chia seeds are added to water and allowed to sit for 15-30 minutes, they form a gel. It also reduces plasma cholesterol. The biological value of Chia is superior to cereals and it has a higher content of calcium, magnesium, and potassium than milk. Like flax seeds, Chia seeds have a mild, nutty flavor, but unlike flaxseeds, they can be eaten whole as well as the ground. Chia seeds pair well with both sweet and savory foods, adding more crunch and texture than flavor.
Chia sprouts are used in salads, chia seed is used in beverages and cereals based foods and it can be consumed in raw form.