Chia as a food ingredient

J. Rodolfo Rendón-Villalobos, Emmanuel Flores-Huicochea

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


© 2016 by Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. The fact that Salvia hispanica is widely distributed together with its nutritional and industrial value makes it a promising plant resource. Chia is one of the oldest crops cultivated for centuries by the Aztec tribes in Mexico and is high in dietary fiber, protein, and ω-3 fatty acids. It also has the highest α-linoleic acid (an ω-3 fatty acid) content of any known vegetable source. In addition, as a functional food ingredient, and in order to improve the nutritional quality of a wide range of foods consumed every day, chia seed can be used in the production of many processed foods; mainly, the consumer demand for natural, healthy and non-animal source food ingredients. These little seeds are an excellent source of ω-3 fatty acids (for heart health), fiber (for digestive health), calcium (for strong bones), and protein (for healthy muscles). Actually, chia seeds are recognized as a superfood and are showing up in all types of applications. The seeds are considered energizing ingredients loaded with nutrients, and with a bland, neutral taste profile, chia seeds are suitable for both sweet and savory applications. Some attributes of the seeds are for example: with a low-glycemic index, chia may help maintain energy levels, improving stamina and endurance; chia is also a great way to boost daily iron intake, improving oxygen transport throughout the body to combat fatigue. One of the highest known plant sources of essential fatty acids (ω-3 and ω-6), chia also provides 20% of the daily value for fiber. Together, the nutrients help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL, “bad” cholesterol) and raising high-density lipoprotein (HDL), “good” cholesterol. Chia seeds naturally expand in liquid and can promote a sense of fullness. They also are rich in fiber, adding bulk without calories while gently helping digestion. Chia seeds provide a unique source of dairy-free calcium, which promotes bone strength in children and helps prevent osteoporosis. Therefore, chia seeds can help develop nutritionally enhanced foods incorporating an ingredient with well-documented nutritional functionality (chia seed).
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationSalvia Hispanica L.: Properties, Applications and Health
Number of pages95
ISBN (Electronic)9781634843959, 9781634843621
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

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