Chia (Salvia hispanica L.) – a rediscovered ancient grain, from Aztecs to food laboratories: A review

Sukhdeep Kaur (Department of Food and Nutrition, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, India)
Kiran Bains (Department of Food and Nutrition, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, India)

Nutrition & Food Science

ISSN: 0034-6659

Publication date: 16 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

Published literature on the nutritive value and therapeutic properties of chia has been reviewed.

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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.

Keywords

Citation

Kaur, S. and Bains, K. (2019), "Chia (Salvia hispanica L.) – a rediscovered ancient grain, from Aztecs to food laboratories: A review", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 50 No. 3, pp. 463-479. https://doi.org/10.1108/NFS-06-2019-0181

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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