Organic Chia refers to organically cultivated Chia, which is the common name for the Salvia hispanica plant of the mint family, native to Guatemala and Mexico. It is consumed in various forms, as an ingredient for breads, drinks and porridges, and has a range of health benefits.
History of Organic Chia
As per American folklore, Chia was cultivated in the pre-Columbian period by the Aztec, and was considered such a significant crop that it was offered to the rulers by the subjects as a tribute annually. In modern times too, it is used in various forms in Mexico and Guatemala for preparing nutritious foods and drinks. Organic variety of chia is cultivated for the segment of health conscious people who wish to eliminate harmful effects of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in their diet.
What is Organic Farming?
Organic farming involves cultivation of crop or livestock by totally natural methods like biological pest control, green manure and crop rotation. This is in contrast with non-organic farming which uses artificial pesticides, insecticides, and plant growth boosters like hormones, antibiotics for livestock, genetically modified organisms and food additives which are known to cause many detrimental effects in the human body, and are also hazardous for the environment.
Culinary Uses of Chia Seeds
Chia is cultivated for its seeds, and organic chia seeds have the following benefits-
- Chia seeds are used in ground form as an ingredient in making breads, biscuits and cakes.
- They can be eaten raw, in which case they are a very good source of protein, fibre and fats.
- Ground chia is added to flour made of maize kernels, called pinole.
- Soaked chia seeds are used to make porridges, puddings and gruels.
- Chia seeds are added to fruit juice or plain water and called ‘Chia fresca’. The drink is popular in Mexico.
- Chia in sprouted form is added to salads and sandwiches.
- Chia oil is used as a therapeutic oil.
Health Benefits of Organic Chia
- Organically grown chia is an excellent source of protein and dietary fibre.
- Chia seeds contain minerals like manganese, phosphorus, calcium, sodium and potassium.
- Chia seeds are a rich source of omega 3 acids, which are beneficial in fighting inflammations and reducing signs of aging.
- Chia is also a rich source of essential fats, complex carbohydrates, vitamins and antioxidants.
- Chia seeds are known to absorb a lot of water, and hence help in keeping the body well hydrated.
- Organically cultivated chia is free from harmful effects of pesticides and insecticides, unlike non-organic chia which may contain residues of such chemicals which are harmful for the human body.
- Organic chia is cultivated without polluting the environment with harmful chemicals and toxins.