Who can forget the Chia Pet that is mainly advertised during holidays? It is an annual crop and plant and associated Chia Pet container is a gag gift; that is why it is cropping up mainly during holidays. Seeds of the house hold plant Chia are in many of our cereal, granola, dressings, many fruit drinks, baby food, animal food and others. Chia contains fiber and protein, and some thinks it may be the next superfood. Chia believed to provide energy boost to the body and pair nicely with buckwheat, quinoa and other similar healthy food items. Some say Chia can reduce food cravings, lower blood pressure, and help with weight loss. But these health claims are yet to be proven with hard evidence and conclusive scientific research.
Between 2009 and 2013, Chia products grew by more than 1,300 percent and in 2012 its retail sales value exceeded more than $29 million. Botanically called Salvia hispanica, Chia belongs to the mint family and native to Southern Mexico and Guatemala. It is believed that ancient Aztecs planted Chia and it provided important supplement to maize. Some parts of Central America still uses ground Chia seeds in nutritional drinks and as a food source.