The importance of nutraceuticals and functional foods has been a topic of interest in nutrition research for many years. This review aims to summarize the findings on the nutritive value and health benefits of chia, as well as its use as a food fortificant.
Published literature on the nutritive value and therapeutic properties of chia has been reviewed.
Chia, an ancient grain, belongs to the mint family (Lamiaceae) and was cultivated in Mexico and Guatemala by the Mayas and Aztecs of a pre-Columbian era. In addition to being gluten-free, chia seeds are concentrated source of omega-3 fatty acids (mainly α-linolenic acid), fiber (insoluble) and polyphenolic compounds (myricetin, quercetin, kaempferol, chlorogenic and caffeic acids), which were found to be comparatively higher than many other grains, cereals and oily seeds. Chia supplementation has potential to lower incidence of cardiovascular disease, obesity, hypertension, cancer, diabetes, pruritus and celiac disease. Because of its nutraceutical and physiochemical properties, chia has been widely used as a whole seed, flour, seed mucilage, gel and oil for developing various enriched food products, such as bread, pasta, cakes, cookies, chips, cheese, yoghurt, meat, fish and poultry.
With advancement in nutrition research, chia would have a great future perspective as feed, food and medicine. However, further research is needed to validate the potential therapeutic effect of chia supplementation on human health.
Kaur, S. and Bains, K. (2019), "Chia (
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