Country of origin: Argentina
Chia is a tiny, oblong-shaped, oilseed consumed as one of the staples by the ancient Aztecs. The crop, in fact, was cultivated in the same measure to corn and amaranth by native Mexicans. Many nutrition experts believe chia (Salvia hispanica. L) top the list of functional foods because of its wholesome nutritional properties. In fact, nutrition planners are looking up at chia as a single wholesome source of phytonutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids (α -Linolenic acid), antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and dietary fibre composed in right proportions.
Botanically, chia is a low-growing herb in the mint family of plants. Scientific name: Salvia hispanica.
Chia (Salvia hispanica) is a small, annual, drought-tolerant, flowering herb. It flourishes well under sandy, fertile soils.
The Salvia hispanica plant can grow up to a meter in height and bears broad, green leaves with serrated margins. Purple, pink-violet flowers in spikes appear after about four months after seedling.
Chia seeds come in variegated colours depending upon cultivar type and may vary in from black, brown to off-white. Its seeds measure about 1 mm in diameter and resemble like miniature pinto beans. Its smooth outer cover is made up of hygroscopic mucilage coat which absorbs water and swells up several times the original size.
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