A terra cotta animal sprouts green fur as the theme song, “Ch-ch-ch-chia!” plays in the background. This familiar TV commercial may make you wonder if Chia Pets use the same chia that you eat in our famous artisan breakfast cereal. Though the two share the same name, our organic mountain-grown black ash chia is twice the quality of the white chia sometimes spotted in health food stores, and about a hundred times the quality of your average Chia Pet (though they would probably rate higher if cuteness was a factor).
Salvia hispanica, more commonly known as chia, is a flowering plant native to Mexico and Guatemala. Its name comes from the Mayan word “strength” and folklore has it that Aztec and Mayan warriors cultivated it to acquire physical and mental stamina and also gave it as an annual tribute to the gods. Chia’s reputation as a food for the gods has continued with good reason. Here are a few of the reasons why chia rocks our world:
- Chia has the highest proportion of omega 3 fatty acids of any plant known—even more than flax seed—and unlike flax, which goes rancid soon after being ground, chia is easily assimilated by the body in its whole form. Omega 3′s (if you don’t already know) are essential to brain, cardiovascular and circulatory health.
- The seeds are a good source of essential minerals, including iron, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, B-vitamins, copper, zinc, boron and manganese. They contain more calcium than milk.
- Chia is 42% soluble and insoluble fiber, which alleviates constipation and makes you to feel fuller longer.
- Chia is low-glycemic and forms a gel in the digestive tract that slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, binds to toxins, helps eliminate waste, and slowly releases energizing nutrients all day long.
- The seeds 19-23% complete protein, with all the amino acids in perfect balance.
- They have the same amount of cancer-fighting antioxidants as blueberries.
The difference between strains of chia is partly due to the conditions they are grown in and partly due to climate—higher elevations and colder temperatures produce more nutritional content in the seeds, therefore our mountain-grown chia ranks high in nutritional content. Also, our chia is 100% organic, gluten-free and not genetically modified.
Comparing Chia Pets to the seeds we use is like comparing a unicycle to a Ferrari—one is a neat idea, but the other will really get you going!