Chia seeds are and have been for several centuries an important source of nutrients, as well as the basic food of some Central American cultures, and in current medicine; as the investigations have progressed; The effectiveness of the properties contained in these small but powerful seeds has been recognized. It is known that due to its chemical composition and nutritional contribution, it is expressly recommended for anyone, in short, they are a natural source of omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, proteins, B complex vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6 and B8), Vitamin E and A, minerals and a good source of dietary fiber, copper, manganese, boron, selenium, zinc, magnesium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, calcium and sodium, although in very little quantity.
Origin and Description
Chia seed is known to have been used for the first time as the staple of nutrition in 3,500 BC. in central America.
This is a herbaceous plant of the Lamiaceae family; as well as mint, thyme, rosemary, and oregano by appointment; being this cultivated mainly in the valleys of Mexico.
Going back in time, it is known that in pre-Columbian times, this was for the Mayan culture one of the four main crops used for food. Chia was used as a raw material for different functions among them, such as medicine, food and even paint; Likewise, an offering was made to the gods during religious ceremonies.
Chia seed or also known as Hispanic Salvia. This seed is rich in mucilage, starch and oil; It is 2mm long and 1.5mm wide, oval and greyish-brown to reddish in color. Likewise, this plant is tolerant to acidity and drought – like most salvias -, however, it does not tolerate frost and needs plenty of sun, which means that it is not grown in the shade. Likewise, it is known that it is one of the vegetables with the highest concentration of omega 3 alpha-linoleic fatty acid, and a wide range of minerals that help the balance and well-being of our body.
The seeds soaked in water release the mucilage, producing a gelatinous liquid that has practically no flavor, for them in some countries, it is consumed combined with juices or fruit juices or simply with essences, as a refreshing drink.
Chia flour: the seeds are also usually dried and ground to prepare a fine flour with an intense flavor, which is usually consumed mainly as sweet
Chia oil: The oil is even more concentrated than the seeds in omega-3s. It is better to consume it cold.
Consumption of the tender shoots of this plant and as a raw or cooked vegetable, and preferably in salads.
The nutritional composition of chia seed is: 20% protein, 40% dietary fiber (5% soluble fiber of very high molecular weight) and 34% oil; over 64% of the oil are omega 3 fatty acids. It does not contain gluten, making it suitable for coeliacs. There are no known toxic components in it.
How it works in our body
Being a high source of essential fatty acids, it will allow the body to help both emulsify and absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K), it helps in the oxygenation of the body, cells, tissues and organs . They also help maintain cell lubrication and combine with protein and cholesterol to form the living membranes that hold cells together.
They are essential for normal glandular activity, especially for the thyroid and adrenal gland. They nourish skin cells and are essential for healthy nerves and mucous membranes. Its function in our body is to cooperate with vitamin D so that calcium is available in our bones, helping the assimilation of phosphorus and stimulating the conversion of carotene into vitamin A.
Medicine has recognized it as a complete and superior food and contains a greater contribution, compared to others in our diet that claim to meet the same requirements; thus in a comparative scheme we can mention the following:
• 700% more omega 3 than salmon.
• 100% more fiber than any cereal in leaves.
• 800% more phosphorus than whole milk.
• 500% more assimilable calcium than milk.
• 1400% more magnesium than broccoli.
• 100% more potassium than bananas.
• 200% more iron than spinach.
• 300% more selenium than flax.
• Also among its many benefits we can mention:
• Has a satiating effect.
• It has more antioxidants than blueberries.
• Provides all the essential amino acids.
• Chia is the largest vegetable source of omega 3 fatty acids.
• Contains antioxidants, proteins, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
• Provides proteins; relevant for vegetarians.
• Does not contain gluten.
• They can be eaten alone or incorporated into other foods.
• Product of plant origin; it is nature
• They are tasteless and odorless.
• Provides energy.
• Helps control cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
• Facilitates digestion, improves intestinal transit and has a satiating effect.
• Helps control appetite.
• Collaborates in maintaining good cardiovascular health.
• Helps improve the health of the nervous and immune systems.
• Promotes muscle development and tissue regeneration.
• Improves brain activity and helps with emotional problems.
• Helps control sugar levels; special for diabetics.
• It is low in sodium; important for everyone, especially hypertensive.
• Its consumption is universal; they can be consumed by people of all ages.
Chemical composition of chia, linseed and rosehip seeds and their contribution in omega-3 fatty acids