Chia is edible seed of Salvia hispanica, flowering plant in the mint family native to Central America, as well as the related Salvia columbariae of southwest United States and Mexico. Chia seeds are oval, gray-colored with black and
white spots, with a diameter around 1 millimetre (0.04 in). The seeds are hydrophilic, absorbing up to 12 times their weight in liquid when soaked and developing a mucilaginous coating that gives chia-based creams and beverages
a distinctive gel texture.
Chia seeds on average contain 6% water, 42% carbohydrates, 16% protein, and 31% fat. The fatty acids of chia seed oil are highly unsaturated, with linoleic acid (17-26% of total fat) and linolenic acid (50-57%) as the major fats.
They are rich in omega-3 fatty acid and the B vitamins, thiamin and niacin.