Ever think of eating your Chia Pet? It might not be a bad idea. The ancient Aztecs consumed chia seeds for energy and conquered their corner of the world. These days, many people still enjoy the nutritional benefits of chia seeds.
The chia seed (Salvia hispanica) is a cousin of the seeds (Salvia columbariae) once used to grow a crop of green “hair” atop the popular 1980s clay pets famously sold on infomercials. The chia seed is now sold as a topping for yogurts, salads and used in cereal, energy bars, and even pasta. Also, it packs more alpha-linoleic acid, a heart-healthy omega-3 fat, than flaxseeds and provides fiber, antioxidants, calcium, and iron.
The tiny black chia seeds, cultivated by the Aztecs during pre-Colombian times, are slowly working their way into American markets. Similar to flax, chia seeds are also rich in phosphorous, and manganese. Sprinkle them on cereal, oatmeal, or salad for some crunch.