Chia was the third most important crop cultivated by Aztecs, preceded by corn and beans and was an integral part of the staple diet of Aztec athletes and warriors. Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants which boost the immune system and are a rich source of omega 3s, fibres, proteins, and magnesium.
History and Origins
The cultivation of chia as a source of food can be traced to the 3500 B.C. The Mayans were perhaps the first to appreciate truly the amazing benefits of the seeds of this plant and rightfully called it chiabaan which means to strengthen.’ When the Aztecs discovered this wonderful plant, they called it chian meaning oily’, based on the appearance and texture of the small seeds.
Chia almost disappeared in the 16thcentury with the conquest of the Aztec empire. Hernán Cortés recognized that the strength of the Aztec army depended heavily on the cultivation of Chia. A part of his strategy was to wipe out this “superfood’ cultivated in the central valley of Mexico. It is believed that this is one of the core reasons why Cortés’ army of five hundred soldiers was able to bring the downfall of an empire of almost five million people.
After overthrowing the Aztecs, the Spaniards banned all cultures and traditions of the fallen empire. This included the cultivation of Chia. This wondrous plant almost disappeared and was rarely talked about till until a couple of decades ago, when nutritionists rediscovered the amazing benefits of Chia seeds.
Chia plant belongs to the mint family and was primarily cultivated in Mexico. In fact, the state of Chiapas in Mexico is named after this amazing plant and can be translated to mean – “the river where Chia sage grows’.
Aztec mythology claims that Chia seeds sprouted out of the nose of Cinteotl, the God of Maize.
Aztecs valued Chia so much that it was often used as a form of currency during trade.
Today, Chia Seeds are cultivated globally and are appreciated for the nutritive value by athletes, coaches, nutritionists and health-conscious eaters.
Origin: Peru Certified Organic