One of the four main Aztec crops at the time of Columbusâ€™s arrival in the New World, chia is now a forgotten food of the Americas. Chia seed oil offers the highest omega-3 fatty acid content available from plants, but today this species is known only for its use in "chia pets." Yet pre-Columbian civilizations used chia as a raw material for medicines and nutritional compounds, while chia flour could be stored for years as a food reserve and was valued as a source of energy on long journeys. In this book, agronomist Ricardo Ayerza and agricultural engineer Wayne Coates trace the long and fascinating history of chiaâ€™s use, then reveal the scientific story of the plant and its modern potential. They compare fatty acid profiles of chia with our other major sourcesâ€”fish oil, flaxseed, and marine algaeâ€”and provide evidence that chia is superior in many ways. Here are just some of the benefits that chia provides:- chia has the highest known percentage of alpha-linolenic acid, and the highest combined alpha-linolenic and linoleic fatty acid percentage of all crops- chia has more protein, lipids, energy, and fiberâ€”but fewer carbsâ€”than rice, barley, oats, wheat, or cornâ€”and its protein is gluten-free- chia is an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, and copper- chia is low in sodium: salmon has 78 times as much, tuna 237 times as much- chia exhibits no evidence of allergic response, even in individuals with peanut and tree-nut allergies- chia doesnâ€™t give off a â€śfishy flavor,â€ť unlike some other sources of omega-3 fatty acid The need to balance the essential fatty acid content of the human diet, combined with the need for a safe, renewable, omega-3 fatty acid source, positions chia to become one of the worldâ€™s important crops. As this insightful study shows, current nutritional understanding provides an excellent opportunity to reintroduce this important food to the world.
Health, Mind & Body, Nutrition,