Four Sigma Foods 101 – Chia
Some say that the word “chia” is derived from Nahuatl word “chian,” which means “oily.” Others maintain that “chia” is the Mayan word for “strength.” Both explanations sound logical enough, since chia seed is indeed oily, and has strengthening properties.
Chia seed is extremely rich in omega-3 fatty acids… it contains up to eight times more omega-3 per gram than salmon.
According to folklore, chia was cultivated by the Aztecs in the pre-colonial Americas. It was apparently so highly valued that it was often presented to rulers as an annual tribute. The modern Tarahumara people of north-western Mexico use chia in making a traditional drink called iskiate (or chia fresco) to fuel their active lifestyle. “Active lifestyle” is something of an understatement. Legendary long-distance runners, some Tarahumara may run as much 120 miles in a single session.
Why to Use Chia Seed
Chia seed is extremely rich in omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, it contains up to eight times more omega-3 per gram than salmon. Chia also supplies ample dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, manganese, potassium and sodium. It is also full of antioxidants, which make it more nutritionally stable.
Chia seed may be beneficial in dealing with a variety of health issues, including diabetes, hypoglycemia, celiac disease and low cholesterol. In any case, chia seed is an extremely healthy adjunct to any diet, but particularly to diets lacking healthy fatty acids or dietary fiber.
How to Use Chia Seed
Chia seeds can be used much as you would flax seeds: sprinkle them into oatmeal, cereals, granola or yogurt. Chia seed flour works as a wheat flour substitute for baking, resulting in healthier breads, crackers and so on. Since chia seed can absorb up to nine times its weight in water, transforming into a gel, it is a wonderful thickening agent in smoothies, soups or puddings. The Tarahumara people add chia seeds to pinole (a drink made from ground corn and herbs). They also mix chia with water and lime to make their famous super-drink, iskiate, or chia fresca.
Where to Buy Chia
Chia seed products can be purchased from most health and natural food stores throughout North America, Western Europe and in some parts of Asia. We recommend the following products.
Navitas Natural Chia Seed Sprouted Powder | The most convenient way to use Chia
Amazon US (Affiliate*): Navitas Naturals Chia Seed Sprouted Powder
Amazon US: Navitas Natural Chia Seed Sprouted Powder
Nutiva Organic Chia Seed | High quality yet bargain-priced
Amazon US (Affiliate*): Nutiva Organic Chia Seeds
Amazon US: Nutiva Organic Chia Seed
*Affiliate program link: Product costs the same to you but FSF gets a percentage of the sales to bring more healthy products to you