Background: Chia seed (Salvia hispanica L.) is becoming one of the most popular plantbased
foods that contain the greatest amount of nutrients particularly omega-3 fatty acid, α-linolenic
acid. It is therefore considered a functional food with pronounced health benefits.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the proximate composition, minerals, fatty acid
profiles and phytochemical contents of chia seeds grown in East Africa (Kenya and Uganda).
Methods: Official methods of analysis, 2005 were adopted, minerals determined by Atomic absorption
spectrophotometer, phytochemicals were determined by standard methods and fatty acid profiles
were analyzed by Gas chromatography.
Results: Proximate composition indicated high contents of protein, fat and fiber. The fatty acid profiles
revealed great amounts of α-linolenic acid (45.29-56.99%) followed by linoleic acid (15.9-
20.28%) and oleic acid (6.88-11.58%). However, the difference in the content of α-linolenic acid between
samples was not significant (p = 0.7391). Mineral determination (mg/100g) showed high contents
of potassium (492.96-862.98), phosphorous (486.45-569.45), calcium (297.47-429.09) and
magnesium (192.22-202.97) while considerable amount was observed for iron, zinc, manganese, and
copper. There was a significant difference (p = 0.0001) in mineral content between black chia Molo
and white chia Bukembo with the exception of phosphorus.
Conclusion: Both black and white chia seeds grown in East Africa, observed to have high amounts
of α-linolenic acid, proteins, fats, fiber, and minerals. These findings support the evidence that chia is
rich in nutrients that are beneficial to human health. Therefore, we suggest its incorporation in diets
as a healthy food ingredient.