You may not know what chia seeds are, but you’ve probably heard of the sprout, famously grown and marketed as the Chia Pet. For our sake, we want to concentrate on the seed, because that is where you will find some pretty amazing health benefits.
Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family that grows in abundance in southern Mexico. The chia can be traced back more than 3,000 years to Central America when the Aztecs used it as a primary food source, ranked up with corn and beans.
The nutty-tasting whole grain chia seeds are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, they are said to be up to four times higher in essential fatty acids than other grains. For the sake of comparison, chia has a 64 percent concentration of alpha linolenic acid (ALA), while the better known flax (flax seed) contains 55 percent.
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