ingredient information
Chia Seeds
Salvia hispanica (Chia) is a plant of the genus Salvia in the family Lamiaceae native to Mexico. It was cultivated by the Aztecs in pre-Columbian times, and was so valued that it was given as an annual tribute by the people to the rulers. It is still widely used in Mexico and South America, with the seeds ground for nutritious drinks and as a food source. Chia is grown commercially for its seed, a food that is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, since the seeds yield 25-30% extractable oil, mostly a-linolenic acid (ALA). It also is a source of antioxidants and a variety of amino acids. For all these health related benefits, chia is in the process of application before the EU authorities to be considered as a novel food. In 2009, the European Union approved chia seeds as a novel food, allowing up to 5% of a bread product's total matter. Chia seed may be eaten raw as a whole seed and is an excellent source of omega-3 and dietary fiber (both insoluble and soluble).[citation needed] Ground chia seed is sometimes added to pinole, a coarse flour made from toasted maize kernels. Chia seeds placed in water or fruit juice are consumed in Mexico and known as chia fresca. The soaked seeds are gelatinous in texture and are used in gruels, porridges and puddings. Ground chia seed is used in baked goods including breads, cakes and biscuits.