Scientific Name: Salvia hispanica
Chia seeds are from chia plants (Salvia hispanica), which are native to Mexico and Guatemala. "Chia" is an ancient Mayan word for "strength." It contains omega-3 fatty acids and many other minerals important for health. Chia seeds are small, flat, oval-shaped and their color ranges from white to brown or black. They are versatile, and can be used as a nutritious ingredient in smoothies or sprinkled on salads.
Chia seeds contain high amount of fiber (138% daily value [DV]). The fiber in chia seeds act as a mucilage, which increases the feeling of fullness after a meal. Chia seeds have high amounts of the B vitamins, thiamin (41% DV) and niacin (44%). Like many nuts/seeds, chia seeds also contain high amounts of beneficial minerals. These include calcium (63% DV), as well as iron (43% DV).
Additionally, chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids (17.83 g), which benefits cardiovascular health. Most of the omega-3 fatty acids in chia seeds are alpha-linoleic acids (ALA). ALA is not as beneficial as expected because this fatty acid needs to be converted into DHA and EPA for the body to use it. Unfortunately, this process is not efficient in the human body. But, in general, chia seeds are still a good source of nutrients for anyone who wants to add something nutritious to their diet.