Chia seed is obtained most commonly from Salvia hispanica of the Lamiaceae family. Other plants referred to as “chia” include “golden chia” (Salvia columbariae) and the flowering herbaceous perennial Salvia polystachya, which is rarely cultivated and the seeds are not used. The seeds of Salvia columbariae are used medicinally and for food.
Chia seeds may be added to other foods as a topping or put into smoothies, breakfast cereals, energy bars, granola bars, yogurt, tortillas, and bread. They may also be made into a gelatin-like substance or eaten raw. The gel from ground seeds may be used to replace as much as 25% of the egg and oil content in cakes, also providing other nutrients.
Dried chia seeds are 6% water, 42% carbohydrates, 16% protein, and 31% fat.
In a 100 gram amount, chia seeds are a rich source (20% or more of the Daily Value, DV) of the B vitamins, thiamin and niacin (54% and 59% DV, respectively), and a moderate source of riboflavin (14% DV) and folate (12% DV). Several dietary minerals are in rich content, including calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc (all more than 20% DV).