Although native to parts of Southern Mexico and Central America, chia thrives along the foothills of the Andes mountains of South America where our Andean Sol Organic Chia Seeds are grown. Chia is actually part of the mint family and fully grown reaches about 1-1.5m in height. When in bloom chia bursts into a sea of beautiful violet coloured flowers (black chia) or white flowers (white chia).
Besides use as a nutritious food, chia seeds were used in various medicines and the chia oil pressed from the seed was even used as a base for face and body paints. Chia seeds were so highly valued by the Aztecs that they even offered them to the gods during religious ceremonies and demanded chia amongst other items as tribute from other defeated nations in order to spare their lives.
When the Spanish conquistadores took control in the 1500s they suppressed native traditions and religious practices, destroying most of the indigenous agricultural production which they then replaced with foreign “old world” crops such as wheat, rice and barley. As such, with the exception of small pockets of chia farming, the production of chia was almost lost to the ages!
The renaissance of chia really began in the early 1990s with a project that was undertaken to diversify agricultural production in the northwest of Argentina which until then centred on tobacco growing. Following farming tests, chia emerged as a clear winner as a crop that could thrive in near perfect conditions!
More recently, the benefits of the magnificent chia seed started to be discovered. New scientific research on chia seeds showed them to be an impressive plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids, the lack of which in the modern diet contributes to numerous diseases including cancer and heart disease. In addition to being an impressive source of omega-3s, studies showed chia seeds to be high in antioxidants, dietary fibre and plant protein.
Andean Sol Organic Chia Seeds are a 100% organic and raw superfood – no pesticides or other chemicals are used during production. Please read on to learn more about how Andean Sol chia seeds are produced.
Growing chia is actually a much more complex process than many would think. Chia is exceptionally sensitive to frost which can kill the plant before the chia seeds have had the chance to mature. When this happens, you get immature brown chia seeds that lack the full nutritional qualities of fully mature black or white chia seeds. The only water chia plants receive comes from the rain, so drought can also greatly impact the crop. Finally, excess humidity during the growing season can cause other microbiological nasties to grow resulting in poor quality chia seeds.
Andean Sol’s farmers never use pesticides or weed killers such as glyphosate in the growing of our organic chia. Though this can mean the yield of chia seeds produced is lower than if chemicals were used, it guarantees that the product you consume is only the purest food possible.
As you can see, it is no mean feat to bring you the highest quality chia seeds!
Andean Sol Organic Chia Seeds are sustainably produced – after harvest the fields are left to grow natural grasses and weeds. Prior to the next replanting, these grasses and weeds are cut and mixed into the soil as a way to naturally fertilize it which returns the nutrients taken by the previous harvest (in particular, nitrogen). As such, there is no need to rotate production with other crops as it is the case for example with soya.
Once the chia plants are harvested, the unprocessed product is placed into the originally entitled “big bags” (so called as they truly are remarkably big bags), before being transported from the fields to warehouses to awaiting final cleaning in a local facility.
At the cleaning facility the unprocessed chia plants are fed into a big hopper which has a magnet to remove possible metallic impurities. The plants then flow into a machine called a “Ciclón” which is exactly what it sounds like – a big machine which literally blows the big parts of the chia plant such as the stems, leaves and flowers apart from the chia seeds themselves. This cleaner chia seed then flows through a series of vibrating screens that allow only objects that are the exact size and weight of chia seeds to pass through. All Andean Sol Organic Chia Seeds then pass again by a metal detector and magnet to make sure no other metal pieces could possibly end up in the final product. This pure chia seed (minimum purity accepted of 99.9%) is finally packed into 25kg bags ready to be shipped to Europe. As you can see in the above process, no water is used in the cleaning of chia seeds since they absorb liquid so easily – what you get really is a raw and natural product!
Before shipping to Europe, we test the quality and organic status of our chia seeds at an accredited laboratory. We analyse each lot of Andean Sol Organic Chia Seeds for 17 parameters including purity, microbiology, pesticides and other contaminants to make sure you are only getting the highest quality product possible. Only when we are convinced of the quality do we green light for Andean Sol’s customers.
When quality have been passed, the bags of chia are transported 1,500km from the processing plant to a warehouse in the Port of Buenos Aires where they are packed into containers and loaded aboard a ship. The journey on the water from Argentina takes around a month as the ship passes up along the coast of South America and then crosses the ocean to finally arrive in Europe where our chia is then unloaded and packed into Andean Sol spout pouches.
When it comes to the nutritional benefits of eating Andean Sol Organic Chia Seeds, where do we begin?
Andean Sol Organic Chia Seeds contain one of the highest concentrations existing of plant based omega-3 fatty acids (ALA), which contribute to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels. Each 15g serving of Andean Sol Organic Chia Seeds provides a phenomenal 3,000mg of omega-3s fatty acids.
Andean Sol Organic Chia Seeds are extremely high in dietary fibre, which everyone could use more of, at close to 5g per 15g serving. An interesting fact is that due to the nature of the dietary fibre in chia seeds, they can absorb 10-12x their weight in water, becoming gel-like and expanding in your stomach. This helps to keep you feeling fuller longer and slows absorption of food, helping you to eat fewer calories. Fibre also feeds the friendly bacteria in your intestine which is important as researchers have found that keeping your gut bacteria well fed and happy is absolutely crucial for health.
Our Andean Sol Organic Chia Seeds are exceptional in being high in quality plant protein (over 20%), which contributes to the growth of muscles and maintains your bones in top shape. However did you know that the protein in chia seeds are also a “complete protein” in that it contains all nine essential amino acids? With Andean Sol Organic Chia Seeds you can become a plant protein powerhouse!
Andean Sol Organic Chia Seeds really shine when it comes to their high levels of antioxidants which fight the production of free radicals that damage cells and contribute to aging and many diseases including cancer. This attribute of chia seeds also has a positive side effect in that it helps to protect the seeds from going rancid, keeping your product fresh for longer.
In addition to being high in iron, Andean Sol Organic Chia Seeds are a great source of calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, manganese and zinc, all essential to keep you running smoothly.
On top of the above, Andean Sol Organic Chia Seeds are also naturally gluten-free.
|Nutritional Facts||Per 100g||Per 15g|
|Energy kJ/kcals||1955 kJ/474 kcals||293 kJ/71 kcals|
|of which saturates||3.5g||0.5g|
|of which monounsaturates||2.3g||0.3g|
|of which polyunsaturates||26.5g||4.0g|
|of which sugars||0.0g||0.0g|
|Alpha Linolenic Acid (omega-3)||20.0g||3.0g|
One of the great things about Andean Sol Organic Chia Seeds is just how versatile they are – you can pretty much add them to anything for an omega-3, protein and dietary fibre boost. Chia seeds have a neutral flavour so you can add them to so many foods and recipes without impacting the taste. Unlike flax seeds, not only do they have more omega 3 but they can be eaten whole with no need to mill them to take advantage of their nutritious qualities.
Stir with Water or Juice – One of the simplest ways to incorporate chia seeds into your diet is to just add them to your water or juice – throw a spoonful into your glass, stir, wait a few minutes for the chia to absorb some of the liquid and you’re good to go.
Try a Fab New Dessert: Chia Pudding – You can make a delicious pudding using chia seeds as a base. Add the chia seeds to milk (or milk substitute such as almond milk/coconut milk, etc.), let soak for 20-30 minutes and include flavours such as vanilla or cocoa, or even fruit. Great as a nutritious breakfast pudding or for dessert.
Mix Chia in Smoothies – Just add a spoonful of chia seeds into your regular smoothies and you’re good to go. Plenty of smoothie recipes could use a boost from chia seeds.
Use as a Breakfast Topping – Easy – just sprinkle a spoonful onto your oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, salad, pasta, or even your stir fry. The sky is the limit as to which foods would benefit from a sprinkle of chia seeds.
Bake with Delicious Homemade Bread– Chia seeds are fantastic when used in baked goods such as breads, cakes, muffins, cookies, breakfast bars – you name it.
Consume with Other Grains & Seeds – Add a spoonful when cooking rice or quinoa for a great nutritional boost.
Add to Homemade Jam – Make an amazing homemade jam using chia seeds. Since they form a gel when exposed to liquid, the consistency is really similar to regular jam – just healthier!
Use as a Super Healthy Thickener – Chia seeds can be a great replacement for flour when thickening stews or gravies – just pre-soak the seeds to form a gel and then mix them in to add thickness.