February 9, 2012
Chia seeds come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family. Salvia hispanica seed is often sold under its common name "chia" as well as several trademarked names. Its origin is believed to be in Central America where the seed was a staple in the ancient Aztec diet. The seeds of a related plant, Salvia columbariae (golden chia), were used primarily by Native Americans in the southwestern United States.
Chia seeds have recently gained attention as an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acid. They also contain fiber, protein, minerals and antioxidants.
Emerging research suggests that including chia seeds as part of a healthy diet may help improve cardiovascular risk factors such as lowering cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure and promote weight loss.
Chia seeds can be eaten raw or prepared in a number of dishes. Ground chia seeds can be used for porridge or baked goods including breads, cakes and biscuits. In Mexico, a dish called chia fresco is made by soaking chia seeds in fruit juice or water. Chia seeds are very absorbent and develop a gelatinous texture when soaked in water making it easy to mix them into cooked cereal or other dishes.
The seeds are not the only important part of the chia plant. The sprouts are also edible and can be added to salads, sandwiches and other dishes. Chia sprouts may be most familiar as the green fur or hair of Chia Pets, a collectible clay figurine.
Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Posted by Lisa at February 9, 2012 6:02 AM
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