Chia seeds: a diet asset already known to the Maya

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Native to the mountains of Peru and the central valley of Mexico , Chia is an annual herbaceous plant of the Lamiaceae (mint) family, cultivated for its medicinal properties ,praised by Native Americans in pre-Columbian times.

Long ignored, health professionals now have a particular interest in chia seeds because of their high lipid content (25 to 38%) containing omega3 , and beneficial for health .

What are their therapeutic virtues? In which cases are they indicated?
All of the horizon…

A bit of history about chia seeds

By its etymology, the word “chia” comes from “chiyan” designating the sage “salvia hispanica” and “nuhauatl” (derived from the Amerindian of Mexico).

According to some writings, the first cultivation of chia in the Valley of Mexico dates from between 2600 and 2000 years before Christ.
From the 15th century, this agricultural activity developed among the Aztecs who made it their staple food (after corn and beans), and approved their medicinal properties in the treatment of various infections . Calling them very energetic, they pressed them to make a drink for their soldiers, or oil consecrated to their deities.

It was during the 1990s that we rediscovered the chia plant (and its benefits) in Argentina, then relaunched its cultivation in Peru, before starting to market it around the world.

Benefits and virtues of chia seeds

About 1 meter high, chia is characterized by quadrangular stems, oval leaves covered with fine whitish hairs, mauve or white leaves and small elongated seeds, greyish or brown, shiny, smooth and grouped in fours.

Rich in caffeic and chlorogenic acids, flavonols, flavonol glycosides, chia seeds are also rich in dietary fiber (30%), protein (between 22 and 30%), but especially in omega 3 (68%) and omega 6.

Antioxidant and a true source of phosphorus , manganese , vitamins C and B9 , calcium and minerals (copper, niacin, zinc, iron, potassium, sodium), chia sage seeds do not contain gluten. They are therefore effective against:

  • skin aging
  • cholesterol , _
  • the constipation,
  • inflammation , _
  • cardiovascular risk factors (hypertension, hypercholesteolemia, diabetes),
  • diverticulosis,
  • sleep disorders .

As other therapeutic properties, chia seeds promote intestinal transit and relieve itching (pruritus) caused by dry skin due to kidney failure or diabetes .

Use of chia seeds

Recommended in naturopathy for their protective effects on cardiovascular diseases , the seeds of salvia hispanica should be consumed:

  • They are added at the end of cooking to the meal in order to preserve the desired nutritional effects,
  • dry (ground or crushed) for sprinkling recipes,
  • sprouted (do it yourself). For this, in a pot, cover with water, 1 teaspoon of chia seeds. The next day, drain and replace the water. Repeat the operation as soon as the seedlings appear (i.e. every 2 days). After 15 days, the fine roots and seedlings – with a slight nutty taste – can be consumed in the form of juice (smoothie) or added to the ingredients of your recipes.

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