A close relative of sage, chia seeds (Salvia hispanica) have long been a major food crop of indigenous peoples from modern-day Mexico up through the modern U.S. Southwest. On long-distance runs, some native peoples would consume nothing more than chia seeds mixed with water. If anything deserves the title of “superfood,” chia does.
Chia seeds are one of the highest known sources for omega-3 fatty acids, containing 7.5 times more of these essential oils per ounce than salmon.
They provide more protein than any other seed, and a complete protein to boot. They are exceptionally high in fiber, which benefits intestinal health. The seeds contain five times as much calcium as milk, along with boron for healthy bones and high levels of B vitamins.
Studies suggest that a diet containing chia seeds also helps regulate blood sugar and prevent obesity. Because chia seeds can absorb 30 times their volume in liquid, eating them during vigorous exercise prolongs hydration and stems electrolyte loss.