Chia seed was popular with the Aztecs, who held it in such esteem that it was actually used as currency. Aztec warriors were known carry the seed into battle and it was a common practice for indigenous Americans traveling from the Colorado River to the California coast to bring along only a bag of Chia seed as nourishment.
Chia has some truly amazing properties. Try mixing a spoonful in a glass of water. In about thirty minutes or so you will find the glass contains neither seeds nor water, but instead an almost solid gelatin. This gel-forming reaction is due to the soluble fiber in the seed.
Researchers believe this same gel-forming phenomenon takes place in the stomach when food containing these gummy fibers, known as “mucilage”, are eaten. The gel that is formed creates a physical barrier between carbohydrates and the digestive enzymes, thus slowing their conversion into sugar.
In addition to the obvious benefits for diabetics, this inhibition of the conversion-rate of carbohydrates also aids physical endurance. By prolonging the transition of carbohydrates to sugar also prolongs the stimulative effects. It is for this reason that Chia Seed is so prized by athletes. Chia seed’s high oil content is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and higher in antioxidants even than blueberries.