What if you could get a good amount of nutrition and feel satisfied all from a tiny seed?

Think ch-ch-ch-chia.

Most of us remember that jingle (you’re probably singing it as you read this) advertising the terra-cotta planters in the shape of pets.

Once you soaked the seeds and slathered the gooey mixture on the planter, it sprouted fuzzy greens in a few days.

Turns out those black seeds are full of nutrients.

Aztec and Mayan cultures “relied on it to keep their civilization healthy,” Wayne Coates writes in “Chia: The Complete Guide to the Ultimate Superfood.” In fact, the name chia means “strength” in Mayan.

Chia seeds are often compared to flax seeds because they have similar nutritional profiles.

But the main difference is that chia seeds don’t need to be ground the way flax seeds do. Chia also has a longer shelf life and does not go rancid like flax does.

From a culinary perspective,chia acts as “a binder, thickens and emulsifies things.”

Often cited as an authority on chia, Coates is an agricultural engineer and professor emeritus at the University of Arizona.

His book discusses the history of chia, its health benefits and plenty of recipes, a few of which we have included here.

“It’s not a supplement and is a food in the FDA’s eyes,” says Coates. “Which means you can consume as much as you like.”

Coates does urge caution when choosing chia seeds.

“Chia is only black or white,” Coates says. “If there is brown it is not good, and it can mean the seeds are immature.”

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