Benexia Chia seeds, From the Aztecs and Mayas to us
Pre-Colombian civilizations used Chia seeds as raw material for the preparation of medicines, nutritional blends, even paints. It was one of the main crops used by pre-Colombian societies, second only to corn and beans in significance. At the time of the Spanish conquest, there were at least 20 botanic species in Mesoamerica used for domestic purposes. Four of these were outstanding from a nutritional standpoint: amaranth, beans, Chia and corn. These four elements formed the basic components of daily diet. It is worth noting that the diet of ancient Aztecs was based exclusively on these grains; furthermore, it totally complied with present-day dietary requirements, as determined by the Food and Agriculture Organization-World Health Organization (FAO-WHO).
Chia seeds were consumed as food mixed with other crops, as a beverage mixed with water, blended with flour, and used in medicines; it was even pressed to obtain oil that was then used as a component for body and facial paint. Chia seeds were given to the Aztecs by their conquered peoples as a tribute, and in turn were offered by them to the gods as part of their religious rites.
Chia was a central dietary component not only to Aztecs, but also to that other great pre-Colombian civilization in Mesoamerica: the Mayas. Today’s Chiapas State, in Mexico, located in what was formerly Mayan territory, owes its name to the nahautl word ‘Chiapan’, which means ‘Chia River’. This indicates that Chia was grown in this area since ancient times.
Chia seeds are still consumed today in many American communities. It is used by Aztec and Maya descendents to prepare a popular beverage called “Fresh Chia”. Mixed with lemonade, it makes a refreshing drink consumed today both in Mexico and in Guatemala, Nicaragua and Southwestern U.S.
Today, Benexia is approved in Europe as novel food ingredient to be used in bread products with a maximum content of 5 % Chia (Salvia hispanica) seeds
A revolutionary ingredient for the baking industry