Chia (Salvia hispanica) is an annual herbaceous plant of the Lamiaceae or Labiatae family and is a native to southern Mexico and northern Guatemala. Chia is mostly grown in Mexico, Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador, Australia, and some parts of Asia, and it has been confirmed that the species has great potential as a future crop plant seeds provide an excellent source of soluble fiber and antioxidants with rich source of easily digestable protein content. The oval-shaped seeds of chia are approximately 1mm in diameter and are dark-brown to grayish-white in color.

Unlike most other protein-rich foods, the protein in chia seeds digested and absorbed very quickly, allowing the body to rapidly transport it to its cells and tissues. chia seeds as a dietary supplement, as well as incorporating the seeds into snacks, drink mixes, and other cereal foods. Chia is one of the highest sources of omega-3 fatty acids. chia seed products (such as oil) have a much higher value than canola, soy, or flax. Chia seed is great super food and currently being used for their nutritional and medicinal properties, stamina for athletes, for suppressing the appetite, weight loss, leveling blood sugar, and for aiding intestinal regularity. Chia seeds readily dissolve into the water, creating a substance that looks like gelatin.


Source: Usda.gov

Children:

Seeds are an excellent food source for children and adolescents for rapid growth and development. Seeds provide a healthy supply of important vitamins (vitamins B, D & E) and minerals, including boron, calcium (five times more than milk), copper, iron (2.7 times more iron than raw spinach), magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, niacin, phosphorus, and zinc.

Hydrate body:

Chia seeds are an outstanding food for keeping the body hydrated and lubricated. Chia seeds can absorb more than 12 times their weight in water. Because of this, the seeds can significantly prolong your body's ability to remain properly hydrated, and therefore help your body to more effectively absorb and regulate electrolytes and nutrients, while also maintaining the proper fluid balance to ensure healthy body cell function.

Body building:

Due to rich source of protein, the seeds are also excellent for body building and for regeneration of muscle tissue for athletes, weight lifters, etc.

Pregnant:

For pregnant and mothers who are breast feeding are advisable to consume chia seeds, because of quickly and efficiently the human body can make use of the protein chia seeds.

Diabetes:

Consumption of chia seeds has been shown to slow the digestion of carbohydrates, making it an ideal food for people with Type 2 diabetes, as well as anyone struggling with blood sugar problems and insulin resistance.

Heart diseases:

Chia seeds contain beneficial long-chain triglycerides (LCT) in the right proportions to reduce the cholesterol on arterial wall and lower the risk of heart diseases.

Cancer and brain related problems:

Human consumption of omega-3 has been linked to many health benefits, including a lower risk of cancer, and possibly stroke, as well as improved brain functions.

Weight loss:

The high fiber content keeps you feeling full and satisfied, therefore tend to eat less. It is also an excellent appetite suppressant. It is excellent to use before a workout prior to an exercise, running, walking, etc. Drink chia seeds mixed with water before and during exercise, it provides hydration, protein and healthy fats; this helps boost your energy level and stamina, and helps maintain electrolyte balance. This in turn helps boost body metabolism, increases fat burning, and promotes the production of lean muscle mass.

Chia seeds may not be advisable for those people who are having high blood pressure levels, as too much consumption of them can result in unhealthy lowering of blood pressure levels. In addition, because of their rich Omega-3 content, chia seeds should not be consumed by people who are taking blood-thinning medications without the consultation of physician. In some cases chia seeds can also cause allergic reactions, but in very rare cases.

About Author / Additional Info:
Scientist at NBPGR, New Delhi