Chia is a species of flowering plant that bears oval-shaped, multicolored seeds. These seeds, which have a neutral taste and crunchy texture, have been cultivated for centuries as a survival food in their native Mexico and Guatemala. Chia seeds had only just begun to enjoy recognition in the United States, however, when the eccentric Californian gadget company, Joseph Enterprises, began to market them in the 1980s as “Chia Pets,” which are terracotta figurines that sprouted chia.
Aztec warriors treasured chia seeds for their medicinal properties, and many of these alleged properties are now being confirmed by contemporary studies. Below is a list of the health benefits attributed to chia seeds and the research that reinforces them.