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Chia: Rediscovering a Forgotten Crop of the Aztecs Paperback – February 1, 2005

4.1 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A book filled with intriguing information about chia, its history, uses, and nutritive value.” —SIDA

“Admirably [raises] chia seeds in the reader’s consciousness.” —Plant Science

From the Inside Flap

One of the four main Aztec crops at the time of Columbus’s arrival in the New World, chia is now a forgotten food of the Americas. Chia seed oil offers the highest omega-3 fatty acid content available from plants, but today this species is known only for its use in "chia pets." Yet pre-Columbian civilizations used chia as a raw material for medicines and nutritional compounds, while chia flour could be stored for years as a food reserve and was valued as a source of energy on long journeys.

In this book, agronomist Ricardo Ayerza and agricultural engineer Wayne Coates trace the long and fascinating history of chia’s use, then reveal the scientific story of the plant and its modern potential. They compare fatty acid profiles of chia with our other major sources—fish oil, flaxseed, and marine algae—and provide evidence that chia is superior in many ways.

Here are just some of the benefits that chia provides:
- chia has the highest known percentage of alpha-linolenic acid, and the highest combined alpha-linolenic and linoleic fatty acid percentage of all crops
- chia has more protein, lipids, energy, and fiber—but fewer carbs—than rice, barley, oats, wheat, or corn—and its protein is gluten-free
- chia is an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, and copper
- chia is low in sodium: salmon has 78 times as much, tuna 237 times as much
- chia exhibits no evidence of allergic response, even in individuals with peanut and tree-nut allergies
- chia doesn’t give off a “fishy flavor,” unlike some other sources of omega-3 fatty acid

The need to balance the essential fatty acid content of the human diet, combined with the need for a safe, renewable, omega-3 fatty acid source, positions chia to become one of the world’s important crops. As this insightful study shows, current nutritional understanding provides an excellent opportunity to reintroduce this important food to the world. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 215 pages
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press (February 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816524882
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816524884
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #752,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was so delighted with the Chia book. Not only does the author provide an excellent historical review of chia seed, and its uses - there is also a wealth of information about its nutritional benefits. Long time overdue. I eat chia seeds every day, and cannot believe the dramatic difference they have made in my overall health. Don't miss this one!
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Format: Paperback
With 37 pages of documented references, Ayerza and Coates have established credibility with their findings of this old (but new) kid on the Essential Fatty Acid (EFA market. Chia seed, as well as hemp seed, is going to be a valuable source of EFAs in the not too distant future. Our waters are just too polluted and manufacturers too unscrupulous to keep up the facade that fish is the only source for the omega-3s our body needs. Ayerza and Coates goes into much detail on such subjects as the paradox of hunger and abundance; the importance of EFAs and the best sources of them as well as fats in general; why chia seed is one of the best sources of EFAs and many other nutrients; a detailed history of chia and where it seems to grow best (southern Mexico); the history of the Aztec people and their use of the seed; the various varieties and how to recognize them; and the oil's contribution to the preservation of art. The book also includes valuable tables of information and concludes with marketing ideas. Although the seed is a much needed food item, I fear that it can easily be exploited by manufacturers who see the value of the seed for other reasons than food. In this day and age of widespread hunger, food in general and good food (like chia and hemp seed) in particular, remains at the bottom of legislative concerns.
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Format: Paperback
Have read all the chia information on the web. This book gives you the history, the facts and why chia is so important in the diet - both ours and animals. The authors compare chia to other sources of omega-3 and then discuss why chia is a better source. If you are interested in your health this is a must read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was an objective overview of the history of Chia. Not a recipe or how-to book. A bit on the academic side but I enjoyed it. Also enjoy using chia as a supplement.
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This book is good for getting down to the nitty gritty technical side of why chia seed is a great source of nutrition and energy. I was looking for something a little more historic and practical. If you want to know why chia does what it does, this is a great resource. I may reread it again when I need more info on the effects of the wonderful chia seed.
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I would recommend this book to a friend, colleagues, associates, family and everyone. This book is about the rediscovery of a native food with amazing nutritional properties. This book explains how it was used based on ancient texts and literature. Thank you so much for a book well documented.
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