Salvia Hispanica, a flowering plant found in Latin America, produces Chia, an edible seed. Given that the region supplied more than 80% of the world’s Chia seed supply in 2021, Latin America is regarded as one of the major suppliers. Chia Seeds are preferred because they are packed with nutrients and have a lot of calories. The Seeds’ primary nutrients are fibres, protein, fats, calcium, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorous.
They also contain small amounts of zinc, vitamin B1, B2, and B3, and potassium. The Seeds lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease while enhancing metabolic health. The Seeds improve bone and muscle strength, delay the onset of premature skin ageing, and shield body cells from free radical damage. Such health benefits are propelling demand for Chia Seeds in the food, beverage, personal care, and nutraceuticals industries.
Growing interest in Chia Seeds, particularly among professional athletes, is fueling an increase in demand for dietary supplements, protein bars, and natural food ingredients in the food and beverage industry. Organic and gluten-free vegan diets are also becoming more popular. Additionally, the preference for non-Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) Chia Seeds for cultivation represents a significant investment opportunity for raw material suppliers and distributors.
But strict rules imposed on the use of food and personal care ingredients by regional government agencies like the USFDA and EFSA, as well as a lack of knowledge about the value of Chia Seeds in developing economies, are major obstacles to growth.
Colours of Chia Seeds- White, Black and Brown
Chia Seeds are well known for being a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. They contain protein, minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc, as well as 10 grammes of dietary fiber per ounce (or about 2 tablespoons). Recent studies indicate that incorporating Chia Seeds into a healthy eating regimen may help reduce cardiovascular risk factors like high blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol.
However, there are not many published studies on the health advantages of eating Chia Seeds, and the majority of the knowledge is based on research involving animals or a small sample size of people.
Chia Seeds are preferred in the food and beverage industry when making breakfast cereals, protein bars, ready-to-eat meals, snacks, energy drinks, baked goods, and a variety of other products. The growth of the food and beverage industry is being driven by rising disposable incomes in emerging economies and different sub regions like China, India, South Africa, Indonesia, Brazil, ASEAN, etc. Each nation has its own regulations governing the use and applications of Chia Seeds. Key players find it challenging to comply with such national regulations, which deters investment in the Chia seed sector.
Chia Seeds can be consumed either raw or cooked in a variety of foods. Add whole or ground Chia Seeds to yoghurt, cereal, rice, or vegetables. Chia Seeds are soaked in water or fruit juice to create Chia fresco, a popular beverage in Mexico.
It is simple to incorporate Chia Seeds into cooked cereal or other dishes because they are very absorbent and take on a gelatinous texture when soaked in water. The sprouts of the Chia plant are just as important as the Seeds because they can be eaten. Try including them in sandwiches, salads, and other dishes.
Chia Seeds, despite their small size, are packed with vitamins, minerals, Omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and antioxidants. They can be a healthy addition to a balanced diet and have a mild, nutty flavor.
According to some studies, Chia Seeds may help increase the proportion of “good” cholesterol to “bad” cholesterol in the blood. More investigation is required to support this, though.