Can you say Ch, Ch, Ch, Chia? The 4th forgotten Super food is chia seed. What is Chia seed? It is the seed from the desert plant Salvia hispanica and a member of the mint family. The word chia is derived from the Aztec word chian, meaning oily (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chia_seed). Chia is grown in South and Central America and has been around for over 3000 years. Chia seeds can be stored for
several years without ever going rancid or losing potency. My friend David Mendosa has already written about this, http://www.healthcentral.com/diabetes/c/17/17801/chia-seeds/.
Chia is on the list because of its wide array nutritional value. A one ounce serving size provides:
12 grams of carbohydrates (11 grams of which are fiber and there is almost no starch or sugar)
9 grams of polyunsaturated fat (4915 milligrams of omega three); the balanced fat ratio (3:1 Omega 3 vs. Omega 6) makes it the best whole food source of Omega 3
4 grams of protein
Chia seeds contain significant levels of antioxidants (chlorogenic and caffeic acids, myricetin, quercetin, and kaempferol flavonols) and is an excellent source of calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc.
Greens plus, http://greensplus.com, is a company that has its priorities in the right place…good health and a growing list of products that help people make better food choices! I highly recommend the green drinks (original, berry burst, orange-greensicle-be creative use a blender to mix the powder with cream and low-glycemic fruit, ice and water) and protein bars. They now have a Chia drink, “Omega 3 Chia”, http://greensplus.com/index.php/cPath/84_21_86. If you happen to check out the website, you do not want to miss the story of Lani Deauville, and her blog http://lanideauville.blogspot.com/. She has an amazing life and is an inspiration to us all. I hope to one day meet her in person.
Above and beyond the nutrients, claims for Chia seed include:
The high amount of fiber helps to reduce cravings and keep you full while maintaining steady states of blood sugar. Despite its high fiber content chia seeds seem to be more easily digestible.
Research on Chia has shown benefits for improving cardiac risk factors by increasing HDL, lowering Triglycerides(1) especially for diabetics (blood pressure, hemoglobin A1c (if you are diabetic and do not know what this is do a Google search now and speak with your healthcare professional to get it done immediately…actually that goes for any of the clinical terms I mention), high-sensitivity C-reactive protein)(2), Dietary chia seed reduced fat found around the stomach of rats that had insulin resistance. This study may provide hope for humans that have similiar symptoms. (3)
1. Ricardo Ayerza, Jr., Wayne Coates Ann Nutr Metab 2007;51:27-34 Effect of Dietary -Linolenic Fatty Acid Derived from Chia when Fed as Ground Seed, Whole Seed and Oil on Lipid Content and Fatty Acid Composition of Rat Plasma
2. Vladimir Vuksan et al., “Supplementation of Conventional Therapy With the Novel Grain Salba (Salvia hispanica L.) Improves Major and Emerging Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Type 2 Diabetes, http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/early/2007/08/08/dc07-1144
3. Adriana G. Chicco et al., Dietary chia seed (Salvia hispanica L.) rich in α-linolenic acid improves adiposity and normalises hypertriacylglycerolaemia and insulin resistance in dyslipaemic rats, http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=2802408
You can easily add chia seeds to your diet, just like flaxseeds, Greek Yogurt, smoothies and shakes, salads, cottage cheese, soup, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches or oatmeal.
Chia is a super food with lot of health benefits. I’m not sure how it is so easily forgotten especially because I can’t get CH, CH, CH Chia out of my head!