While kids eagerly anticipated the sprouting of their Chia Pets, they never dreamed they were growing the nutraceutical of the future! Salvia hispanica, commonly called chia, is a sort of “superfood before its time.” The ancient Aztecs used to grow chia in the tropical and sub-tropical valleys of South America. The key benefit attracting attention today is chia’s high amount of omega-3 fatty acids, along with a good mineral profile.
According to Dean Mosca, president at Proprietary Nutritionals Inc., an exclusive supplier of BeneXia, a proprietary form of chia from South America, “Chia is a gluten-free grain that can be easily incorporated in various types of food or drink formulations or ground into flour for baking. Additionally, no other whole grain compares on a nutritional level, and it has an Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) that is greater than blueberries on a per-gram basis (80 micromole TE/d).” Chia has a high calcium content, something that no other whole grain can claim. Additionally, its ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids is 4:1. In fact, every 22g serving of chia provides 3.8g omega-3 fatty acid, 2.4g complete protein, 8.0g dietary fiber, 139mg calcium, 0.5mg copper, 4.1mg iron, 86mg magnesium and 86 calories (or 42 calories, when the indigestible insoluble fiber is subtracted).
Propietary Nutritionals claims that Benexia “Omega-3” Chia Seed is ISO 9001:2000-certified for purity and incorporates into a wide range of recipes. It lends only a slight, nutty flavor that mixes pleasantly with other aromas or ingredients. The company claims it has an advantageous omega-3 content compared to other sources, such that 25g of Benexia Chia Seed (2tbsp) is equivalent in omega-3 content to 17 soft-gel caps of fish oil, 50 glasses of milk fortified with omega-3, two slices of salmon and eight portions of canola oil. Benexia “Omega-3” Chia Oil is cold-press extracted and filtered. It is a clear, golden oil with a slight nutty taste and no fishy flavor. It also contains no heavy metals (such as mercury, lead and cadmium).
Sprouted “Omega-3” Chia Seed has increased bioavailability of its nutritional content, almost three times increased antioxidant value, increased amino acid content (as they are now in a pre-digested state) and a decrease in phytic acid (which can prevent the uptake of essential minerals in its seed state). As to chia’s regulatory status, according to the FDA’s Office of Food Additive Safety, chia is considered to be a food; hence, it is exempt from regulation, unless there are safety concerns. Moreover, the agency said, “It appears that chia has been consumed by native cultures for long periods of time, and we are not aware of any safety concerns.”
For more information:
Proprietary Nutritionals Inc. (div. of Pharmachem), Kearny, N.J.
Dean Mosca, 519-647-2071
How Does Chia Compare?
100g Chia is Equal to:
* 545ml milk as a calcium source.
* 294g of oats as a fiber source.
* 900g of oranges as an antioxidant source.
* 178 bananas as a potassium source.
* 992g salmon as an omega-3 source.
* 216g nuts as a magnesium source.
* 400g spinach as an iron source.
Source: Proprietary Nutritionals Inc.
R&D: Chia Seed Nutraceutical -- July 2008
July 1, 2008