Chia seed’s use as a food dates back to the time of the Aztecs, who held it in such esteem that it was actually used as currency. Aztec warriors were known to live on the Chia seed during times of war and it was common practice for various First Nation people traveling by foot from the Colorado River to the California coast to bring along only Chia seed as their nourishment.
Chia seed has some truly amazing properties. Try mixing a spoonful in a glass of water. In about thirty minutes you will find the glass contains neither seeds nor water, but an almost solid gelatin. This gel-forming reaction is due to the soluble fiber in the Chia. 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 slowing of the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar also creates physical endurance. Since carbohydrates provide energy for our bodies, prolonging their conversion can also prolong their effects. That is why Chia is so prized by athletes. Chia seed’s high oil content is also extremely rich in omega-3 fatty acids and even higher in antioxident activity than blueberries.