Chia seeds are the tiny black seeds of the chia plant (Salvia hispanica).They are native to Mexico and Guatemala, and were a staple food for the ancient Aztecs and Mayans. In fact, “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength”
Chia seeds contain large amounts of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, plenty of high quality protein, and several essential minerals and antioxidants. They may improve risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, lead to better digestive health and increase blood levels of heart-healthy omega-3 fats.
Chia seeds are small, flat and oval-shaped, with a shiny and smooth texture. The color can range from white to brown or black. Because of their relatively bland flavor, chia seeds can be added to pretty much everything.
They can be soaked in liquid and added to porridge, made into pudding, used in baked goods, smoothies or simply sprinkled on top of salads or yogurt. Because of their ability to absorb liquid and form a gel, they can also be used to thicken sauces or as an egg replacement in recipes.
Soaking chia seeds before eating is optimal, but not necessary.
Chia seeds contain 486 calories per 100 grams, or 138 calories per ounce. By weight, they are 6 percent water, 46 percent carbohydrates (of which 83 percent is fiber), 34 percent fat and 19 percent protein.