Chia seeds are the fruits of the chia plant and were already used by the Maya as basic food and remedies. They are cultivated in Central and South America, now also in South East Asia and Australia. The seeds, whose name literally means "strong", are oval and about one to two millimetres in size. As small as they are, the seeds are also rich in content. They provide high levels of essential amino acids and polyunsaturated omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Chia seeds nourish and protect the intestinal mucosa through mucilage that forms on contact with water. In addition, they supply the body with vitamins, minerals and secondary antioxidant plant substances. Such phytochemicals can trap free radicals in the body and thus protect the cells from damage.