Botanical Name: Salvia hispanica
- English: Chia
- Also, known as: Salba Seed, Sabja Seed
Habitat: Central and southern Mexico and Guatemala
Parts Used: Whole seed
Chia seeds, a grain product, are seeds from the plant Salvia hispanica that are ground or entire and used for supplemental purposes to supply dietary fiber and fatty acids. The fiber component is mostly insoluble and absorbs a large amount of water while the fatty acid component tends to be mostly omega-3 fatty acids and some omega-6 fatty acids.
Chia is an annual herb growing up to 2 meters tall, with opposite leaves that are 5-8 cm long and 2–5 cm wide. Its flowers are blue - purple or white and are produced in numerous clusters in a spike at the end of each stem. In summer, flowers are produced in dense racemes at the end of each stem. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs). Salvia hispanica is adaptable to most well drained soils and prefers a protected, sunny position. It is frost tender but drought resistant and is grown as an annual or biennial, depending on climate. It needs a long summer to have enough time for the seed to mature. Typically, chia seeds are small ovals with a diameter of approximately 1 mm. They are mottle-colored with brown, gray, black, and white. All colors are considered equally nutritious.
Chia is grown worldwide commercially, a food rich in omega-3 fatty acids since the seeds yield around 30% extractable oil. The seeds are hydrophilic, absorbing up to 12 times their weight in liquid when soaked. While soaking, the seeds develop a mucilaginous coating that gives chia-based beverages a distinctive gel texture.
Chia seeds are grown and commonly used as food in several countries. Chia seeds may be added to other foods as a topping or put into smoothies, breakfast cereals, energy bars, granola bars, yogurt, tortillas, and bread. The gel from ground seeds may be used to replace the egg content in cakes while providing other nutrients, and is a common substitute in vegan baking.
The seed has a long shelf life and can be sprouted. The sprouts are highly edible, and can be used in soups, stews, sandwiches. It can be added to salads just like alfalfa and wheatgrass. Due to its mucilaginous properties, it is often sprouted on clay or other porous material.
How to use:
As a food supplement.
You should consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using any herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.
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This information has not been evaluated by Health Canada.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.