Chia - a natural source of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants
* Chia, when used as a source of omega-3 fatty acids does not require the addition of artificial antioxidants such as vitamin E. Vitamin E has been shown to nullify the protector effects of cardiovascular drugs, and actually promotes oxidation when used at higher levels.
* Chia, when added to animal diets, results in a dramatic reduction (up 30.6%) in the saturated fatty acid content of the products produced. This reduction is significantly greater than that found when feeding marine products (fish and algae) and flaxseed. Consumption of saturated fatty acids is associated with cardiovascular diseases, with their effects on blood low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) being stronger than those of dietary cholesterol. This difference between chia and other sources of omega-3 fatty acids has important implications for commercialization.
* Chia can be stored for years without deterioration in flavor, odor or nutritional value. This is an advantage compared with marine products since fish oil and fish meal as well as algae oil and powder require special packaging and storage conditions to prevent even minor changes in these characteristics occurring over time.
* Chia has a long history as a human food, starting with its domestication by ancient Mexicans in 2,600 B.C. Amaranth, beans, chia, and corn comprised the main components of the Aztec and Mayan diets when Columbus arrived in the New World. Many people are still using this ancient grain in the preparation of a popular and refreshing beverage called “chia fresca” which is consumed in Mexico, Central America, as well as in California and Arizona in the US.
Different Colors of Chia
Black is the original color of chia seeds, also known as Salvia Hispanica L. What you call black chia is approximately 95% black and the remaining 5% is white, gray, and brown.
A variety known as the white chia is the opposite: 95% white, 5% other colors. To get this variety, the white ones are isolated from the original black variety and then planted. This process is repeated until the desired color ratio is attained. This variety is less common (hence more expensive) than the black.
The “myth” stating that the white chia is nutritionally superior over the black is completely false. We see this being promulgated by some companies only to trick consumers into paying a higher price.
Though there may be some seasonal differences now and then, they are generally the same in terms of nutrition.
Both black and white chia are of the species Salvia Hispanica L. White chia is obtained by picking out the white seeds from the black chia and planting just that.
Black chia costs less because it is more common than the white. The higher price of white chia is not indicative of nutritional superiority.
The only real difference between the two is the colour, which may be a deciding factor for those who find either more appealing in food preparations.
*Back when white chia was much more rare than it is today, some came up with the idea to market it as a grain completely different from chia at extremely high prices. More and more people are realizing that this grain is simply white chia.
Agua Fresca de chía (Chilled chía water)