The word for “strength” in Mayan is chia and certainly it is a fair description of this seed; as chia is a powerhouse when it comes to the nutrition bundle it delivers.
It is surely a “fat” superfood as most of its calories comes from fat. The healthy fat ratio omega-3 to omega-6 (3:1) helps to bring back fatty acid balance from overeating too many omega-6 fats like vegetable, corn and soy oils.
Chia contains carbohydrates but almost all of its carbs are fiber. It contains protein, some B vitamins, minerals (calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc) and an abundance of antioxidants (chlorogenic and caffeic acids, myricetin, quercetin, kaempferol, flavonols…).
The Antioxidants in chia help counteract free radical damage to cells in the body. Antioxidants help promote good health on the cellular level and protect the cell from aging, cancer, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and exercise induced free radical damage, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24811150. If you are interested in learning more about antioxidants and free radicals, there is a simple explanation here, http://greatist.com/health/what-are-antioxidants.
Data on improving actual exercise performance and chia is a little controversial as a study published by David Neiman suggests, “No Positive Influence of Ingesting Chia Seed on Human Running Performance”. However on a health note, a single-blind crossover study using chia and wheat bran were studied. Clinical health labs were monitored in twenty volunteers with diabetes for 12 weeks (authored by V. Vuksan, Dana Whitham, John L Sievenpiper, et al., appearing in Diabetes Care, http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/early/2007/08/08/dc07-1144). Chia seed significantly lowered blood pressure, hemoglobin A1C ( A three month measure of blood sugar.), fibrinogen (A protein that helps stop bleeding by helping blood clots to form.), CRP (C-reactive protein, CRP, produced by the liver it increases in the presence of inflammation in the body), vonWillebrand factor (vWF is a blood glycoprotein involved in a large number of blood clotting diseases). There were no negative effects found in the liver, kidney or blood.
The other nutrients such as fiber, omega 3 and calcium/magnesium/phosphorous…all contribute to supporting the gut, heart, bone health, strengthening the immune system and controlling inflammation.
So ch-ch-ch chia is super food number five and its not just because I can’t get the CH, CH, CH Chia song out of my head!
For about the same amount of energy as that in a 100 calorie snack pack chia may help keep your health in check. No matter what the reason, adding an ounce of chia to your meals or snacks can be simple and convenient.
If you are interested in adding chia seeds to your diet, try topping these foods off with a chia boost: Greek yogurt, smoothies and shakes, salads, cottage cheese, soup, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches or oatmeal.
You can also incorporate chia into a favorite recipe:
- Mocha Chocolate Chunk Chia Seed Brownies
- Coco-choco-chia bars
- Chia Seed Pudding
- Sauteed Zucchini with Toasted Chia Seeds
Chia seeds can also be purchased in powder form, if you prefer.
Looking for a change in your diet that will blast nutrition and wellness into your food plan, consider these five “fat” superfoods:
- BONE MARROW