Origin: Chia seeds are believed to be first used by the Aztecs as early as 3500 B.C. and was a cash crop in the centre of Mexico between 1500 and 900 B.C. Chia was harvested in the Valley of Mexico between 2600 and 2000 B.C. by the Teotihuacan and Toltec civilizations and was one of the main components of the Aztec diet.
Researches show that the Pre-Columbian civilizations used chia as a raw material for medicines and other nutritional compounds. Chia seeds were used by the Aztecs as food, mixed with other foods, mixed in water and drunk as a beverage, ground into flour, included in medicines, and pressed for oil. The flour of chia seeds was a high energy food and could be stored for years. The Aztecs used to carry this flour on the long trips. The Aztecs used chia seeds as the offerings to gods during religious ceremonies.
Later, chia seeds found its way into Mexico, Spanish, and America. It was in the early 1990s that Chia seeds gained popularity. A lot of American scientists, agriculturists, and nutritionists started the production of chia seeds and collaborated with different production houses for commercial use.
Chia seeds are traditionally grown in Argentina, Mexico, Peru, and Bolivia. Chia seeds are very famous all across the globe and are now cultivated in different parts of the world. Now, Australia is the biggest chia growing country in the world.
Scientifically: Chia seeds are the edible seeds of Salvia hispanica. It is a flowering plant in the mint family (Lamiaceae). It natively belongs to Central America and Mexico. These seeds are small, oval in shape. These are usually black and white in color. These seeds are hydrophilic and absorb up to 12 times their weight in liquid when soaked and developing a coating that gives distinctive gel texture.
When combined with liquid, chia seeds swell and form a gel. This is a powerful seed, full of vitamins and minerals. Two tablespoons of Chia Seeds contains 138 calories and 9 grams of fat, along with 10 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein and 18 percent of the daily value for calcium. It is packed with omega3s. Chia Seeds are considered to be a significant food item. It helps in promoting heart health and reducing blood sugar levels. It is also called Superfood.
Usage: Chia seeds are mild in taste and are nutty. Chia seeds can be eaten whole or can ground or can be soaked in water. Chia seeds are popular for its culinary uses. It's used in both sweet and savory foods. It is known for its crunch and texture than flavor. Chia seeds are an important ingredient in the Mexican and Central American food. It is used in their favorite drink chia fresca, in which the seeds are mixed into lime or lemon juice with added sweetener. Chia seeds add a great look to the drinks and puddings. Chia seeds are used in cereals, salads, puddings, drinks, smoothies, and yogurt. These seeds are also used in making gluten-free bread, muffins, cakes, pancakes, etc. Hydrated chia seeds are a great substitute for eggs in baking.
Chia seeds are known for an array of health benefits and enhance the diet with so many nutrients. It helps in treating diabetes, improves digestive health, aids weight loss and improves bone health. They are loaded with antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids that help in fighting ageing, soothes inflammation, reduce acne and acne scars. It also helps in keeping skin radiant and healthy.
Below are some DIY with Chia seeds:
- Take 3 tablespoons of coconut oil, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons of honey and a tablespoon of chia seeds. Combine all the ingredients together and microwave for 30 seconds to one minute. Keep it aside to cool. Then apply this mixture to the hair for 30 minutes. Then shampoo as usual. This mask gives soft silky hair.
- Take a tablespoon of chia seeds, one tablespoon of coconut oil and a teaspoon of lemon juice. Mix all the ingredients together and apply on the face. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Rinse later. This helps in rejuvenating and moisturizing the skin.
- Take a cup of soaked chia seeds and blend them into a paste. Apply this on the scalp and gently massage it. This provides protein to the hair and boosts hair growth.
- Take equal amounts of chia seeds and olive oil. Soak the chia seeds in the oil. Once the seeds have a gel-like consistency, apply it on the face. Gently massage the skin in a circular motion and exfoliate it.
- Take a teaspoon of chia seed and a teaspoon of yogurt. Mix them together and leave it for 5 minutes. Apply this mask on the face for 5 minutes. Massage gently and rinse it off. This help in removing blemishes.