They’ve been called “miracle seeds,” “super seeds,” “superfood,” “magical,” and “the food of endurance runners” – but 3500 years ago, the tiny, mighty chia seed was known as “the food of the ancient Mayans, Aztecs, and Tarahumara Indians.” In fact, Mayan and Aztec warriors used chia seeds as their sole food source when traveling long distances, because just a small pouch carried at their waists provided complete nutritional sustenance for days – without ever having to stop and eat. With that kind of track record, it’s no wonder that the Mayan word for chia seeds is “chiabaan,” which means “strengthening.”
A Superfood Emerges
Fast forward 3500 years, Dr. Wayne Coates, a research professor at the University of Arizona in the field of new and/or ancient food crop sources like chia seeds and jojoba, was one of the very first to [re]discover chia seeds in the 1980s, and the fact that they grew a thick green matt of grass-like shoots in a matter of hours was sort of an accident. For years, the novelty of this overshadowed the very real nutritional value that Dr. Coates found in the tiny chia seed.
Chia Seeds Move into the Spotlight as a Superfood
20 years later, interest in health and nutrition began to take off. Vegetarian and vegan lifestyles started to become popular, and so the search for protein from plants resumed. The use of seeds as a source of protein was suddenly the latest, greatest thing, and researchers took a second look at chia seeds. All of a sudden, chia earned its rightful recognition: a SUPERFOOD! “Super” because it contains an extremely dense concentration of vital nutrients, vitamins and/or minerals, as well as antioxidants, good fats, healthy enzymes, or other healthy properties that help to treat, lower the risk of, or prevent specific diseases and maladies. Every tiny chia seed comes with all the proteins, fats, vitamins and/or minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants needed to unlock their nutritional value – all by themselves! Chia seeds have everything necessary to process all the nutrients they contain, and that means your body can use them quickly and efficiently. Yes, all of that unassuming power in one tiny, mighty seed!