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The History of Chia Seeds

Approximately 3500 years ago, chia seeds were used as a food source by the ancient Mayans, Aztecs, and Tarahumara Indians. (In fact, when Mayan and Aztec warriors were traveling long distances, they used chia seeds as their sole source of food, because the seeds were lightweight and provided robust sustenance. Fittingly, the Mayan word for chia seeds is “chiabaan,” meaning “strengthening.”) In the 1980s, Dr. Wayne Coates, a research professor at the University of Arizona working in the field of new and/or ancient food crop sources, became one of the first people in academia to “rediscover” chia seeds. Twenty years after that, public interest in health and nutrition was starting to build, and vegetarian and vegan diets were becoming more popular, so the search for plant-based protein sources resumed. Chia seeds were deemed a superfood and quickly became popular. Today, they remain a staple for many people looking for plant-based nutrition and are used in everything from baking recipes to salads.

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