Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cha-Cha-Cha Chia!

Navitas Naturals Chia Seeds Aztec Superfood, 16 Ounce Pouch

Remember those little Chia Pets you used to buy as a kid (or adult, as the case may be)?  Well, those little Chia seeds are actually a superfood.  Why should you care?  Well, research has shown that more than 2/3 of ALL deaths in the United States are diet-related.  Says William Anderson, Chia researcher, "The American Medical Association, in the Advances in Cancer Research, concluded, “At present, we have overwhelming evidence… (that) none of the risk factors for cancer is… more significant than diet and nutrition.”"  (William Anderson, Chia Seed- The Ancient Food of the Future) Maybe it's time to add some of these superfood seeds in your diet, and try to avoid being part of that dismal statistic.

The tiny Chia seed was used as a food staple of the Native Americans of the South West and Mexico, and ancient Mayan and Aztec warriors subsisted on the Chia seed during their conquests (even the small amount of 1/4 cup is said to have kept them satisfied for an entire day).

DIABETES

A diabetes study showed that Patients who ate up to four teaspoons of white chia seeds every day for three months:

■reduced their blood clotting factors by 20 per cent;

■reduced markers for inflammation by 30 per cent;

■increased the levels of essential omega-3 fatty acids by 80 per cent; and

■dropped six units in systolic blood pressure.
 
According to an interview with the lead researcher, Dr. Vladimir Vuksan, "one hundred grams of Salba (white Chia seeds) contains as much omega-3 fatty acid as a 32-ounce Atlantic salmon steak, as much magnesium as 10 stalks of broccoli, as much calcium as 2½ cups of milk and as much iron as half a cup of kidney beans."
 
HYDROPHILIC PROPERTIES

The Chia seed has the ability to absorb more than 12 times its weight in water.  What does this mean for your body?  The ability to prolong hydration by keeping the concentration and composition of the fluids and electrolytes in your body well-regulated.

FIBER

One serving of Chia seeds (2 tablespoons) contains 11 grams of fiber.  "If you try missing a spoonful of Chia in a glass of water and leaving it for approximately 30 minutes or so, when you return the glass will appear to contain not seeds or water, but an almost solid gelatin. This gel-forming reaction is due to the soluble fiber in the Chia. Research believe this same gel-forming phenomenon takes place in the stomach when food containing these gummy fibers, known as mucilages, are eaten. The gel that is formed in the stomach creates a physical barrier between carbohydrates and the digestive enzymes that break them down, thus slowing the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar." (Living Foods)  The slowing of the conversion of carbs is especially useful for diabetics and athletes, as well as those who would like to lose weight.

PROTEIN

You'll get 4 grams of protein in just 2 tablespoons of Chia seeds, which are easily digested and absorbed by the body.  It is also a "complete" protein, providing all essential amino acids in one food.

FATTY ACIDS

The Chia seed is the richest vegetable source of the Omega 3 fatty acid (yes, even more so than Flaxseeds).  Containg alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and having an omega-3 to omega-6 ratio of about 5:1.5, Chia seeds are also rich in the unsaturated fatty acid, linoleic, which the body cannot manufacture.  These fatty acids are important for cellular health, muscle repair, keeping weight in the normal range, lubricating the joints, and all muscle and organ functions.

CALCIUM AND IRON

Just 2 tablespoons of Chia seeds provide 10% the RDA for Calcium, and contains the imineral boron, which acts as catalyst for the absorption and utilization of the calcium by the body.

The same serving of seeds will provide 8% the RDA for Iron.

B-VITAMINS

The Chia seed contains a full range of B-vitamins.


EARTH-FRIENDLY

According to azchia.com, chia is a sustainable and environmentally-friendly product.  He says, "The high oil content of its leaves acts as an extremely potent insect repellent and eliminates the need for pesticides being used to protect the crop. The use of chia as an omega-3 source prevents depletion of natural fish stocks, and also eliminates concerns about the accumulation of toxins such as dioxin and mercury that may accumulate in fish and fish products. Solvent extraction and artificial preservatives are not needed when chia seed is used in human or animal diets. This is another advantage compared to omega-3 sources such as algae."

HOW TO EAT

Chia seeds have a neutral flavor and can be eaten alone, or do well on top of salads, in smoothies and wraps, in oatmeal and cereal, in komboucha, in puddings and desserts, and in soup.  You can even be creative and add them to recipes for breads and muffins.

BUT CHIA HERE: