Chia: The Full Story

Chia seeds are one of the world’s oldest sources of nutrition, documented to have been eaten by the ancient Aztecs and Mayans as early as 3500 BC.  

Derived from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, chia seeds offer the highest combined plant source of omega-3, fibre and protein, alongside a range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  Chia offers essential wholefood nutrition that is often lacking in the modern diet. 

Adding a tablespoon of chia to your daily diet delivers 3g of omega-3 ALA and 6g of dietary fibre. Chia also a fantastic source of vegetarian protein, containing all nine essential amino acids.

Chia seeds can be either black or white, but never brown. There is no nutritional difference between black and white chia, however brown chia is immature and should not be eaten.

At The Chia Co, we are proud to be the world’s largest producer of premium quality chia seed. Our farms are located exactly 15 degrees from the equator, the perfect latitude required to provide the ideal amount of sunlight to grow chia rich in omega-3 oils. All chia seeds produced by The Chia Co are sustainably grown, guaranteed 100% chemical free, certified non-GMO and can be traced back directly to paddock on which it was grown.

Learn more about how we grow chia.

History of chia

Ancient south-American civilisations prized the tiny chia seed and its remarkable nutritional profile more highly than gold. They would mix chia with water and consume as a beverage, grind into flour, add to medicines, press for oil and even use chia as a base for body paints. 

But above all else, chia was valued for the remarkable stamina and endurance it offered athletes and warriors. The name ‘chia’ literally translates to ‘strength’ in Mayan, with the seed long being famed a ‘running food’. This fact remains true to this day for the Tarahumara tribe of northwest Mexico. Held to be the greatest runners in the world, the Tarahumara people can run for hundreds of miles at a time through the rugged terrain of their homeland after consuming a special beverage called Iskiate, which is a mix of chia seeds, fresh water and lemon.

Health and nutrition benefits

The health and wellness benefits of chia are far reaching, from increased energy levels and improved digestive health, to helping promote healthy skin, hair and nails. The hydrophilic quality of chia seeds means they absorb up to 16 times their weight in liquid, which can lead to increased satiety and also helps your body regulate hydration and electrolytes. More about health. 

Chia is a fantastic source of nutrition for vegan, gluten-free and fully raw diets. The protein in chia contains all eight essential amino acids, making it a ‘complete’ protein. This is incredibly rare for a plant based source of protein. Amino acids are the building blocks of our bodies, and are essential for healthy muscles, hair, skin and nails. More about nutrition.

How to eat chia

It’s easy to include chia in your diet.  Chia is one of very few grain-like seeds that can be eaten completely in its natural state – no grinding, no cooking and no processing.Sprinkle onto your muesli or cereals, into your salads or smoothies, or soak in liquid to form a chia pudding. Chia can even be used as an egg replacement; when allowed to ‘gel’ in a little water chia becomes sticky and binding, perfect for vegan baking. View our chia recipes