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  • The Power Pack of Chia Seeds

    chia seed 2

    The Power Pack of Chia Seeds

    By Laura D. Field – February 09, 2017

    Who would have thought that a little tiny black, beady type seed could provide such a powerhouse of added health benefits? In addition, for those with health issues requiring elimination or reduction of gluten foods, Chia seeds are a whole grain food that is 100% gluten free.

    Grown natively in South America, Chia seeds were an important food sources for the Aztecs and Mayans, as they provided them with sustainable energy and strength. Today, it is now considered a supper food, popular worldwide by health conscious individuals.

    Historically, the Aztec and Mayan diets consisted of chia seeds for their basic survival ration for their warriors. It was believed that one tablespoon of this nutrient would sustain a person for 24 hours. This makes sense to me, only because after consuming chia seeds, I am satiated for a longer period of time. “The Aztecs recognized the medicinal benefits of chia, using it to stimulate saliva flow and to relieve joint pain and sore skin.” (Weil, A. MD)

    A 1 ounce (28 grams or 2 Tbsp.) serving of chia seeds has 101 kCals and contains:

    • Fiber: 11 grams
    • Protein: 4 grams.
    • Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are your needed Omega-3’s)
    • Calcium: 18% of the RDA.
    • Manganese: 30% of the RDA.
    • Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
    • Phosphorus: 27% of the RDA.
    • Additional Nutritional Benefits: They also contains a reasonable amount of Zinc, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Potassium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B2.

    Along with blueberries, chia seeds provide a wealth of antioxidants, which fight the production of free radicals that can damage molecules in our cells that contribute to ageing and disease. These antioxidants also protect the chia seed, in that it prevents the seeds from going rancid.

    The 11 grams of fiber come from the 12 grams of carbohydrates found in 1 ounce of chia seeds. By weight, they are 40% fiber. Although carbohydrates are important in that one should be aware of their consumption, the 12 grams of carbs that are found in chia seeds are actually 11 grams of fiber. This makes the carbohydrate content low, while benefitting our nutritional need for fiber.

    Fiber helps to keep blood sugar in line, yet in addition to that, since chia seeds absorb 10-12 times their weight in water, it can help one to feel full while it slows the absorption of food nutrients. This slow absorption will make one feel fuller while signaling your brain to eat less.

    With all the health news sharing about probiotics, and how they benefit the healthy bacteria in our gut, it is good to know that Chia seeds will also feed the friendly bacteria within our intestines. This does NOT mean, that if your physician deems it necessary to consume probiotic supplements (such as when you are on antibiotics or if your immune system is compromised) that you should stop consuming those supplements. Always discuss with your physician when you wish to replace a recommended supplement with any food or herbal alternate.

    Comparatively as a plant, they are very high in protein, and by weight 14% proteins. As with fiber, a high protein diet intake can reduce appetite.

    Protein is beneficial for those on vegan or low protein (animal meat) diets. For those who are trying to lose weight and go by the standard of utilizing lots of protein, one can obtain your daily needs more efficiently by using chia seeds and reducing the various other protein sources on the market that can have higher calories and often times unnecessary fillers.

    NOTE: Please understand, there is no scientific evidence that chia seeds will help one lose weight. Consuming sufficient protein and fiber in one’s diet, is only part of the equation in maintaining a healthy weight or weight loss. It is a balance between good nutrition, daily exercise and rest.

    Although it is true that Chia Seeds have a great deal of Omega-3’s, the source is plant based which is provided in the form of alpha-linoleic acid (ALA). Humans are not efficient in converting the ALA Omega-3 fatty acids to the healthy benefits of Omega Eicosapentaenoice Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to benefit our health needs. Your best source of Omega-3’s (EPA’s & DHA’s) are acquired through marine life such as fish and krill.

    The calcium content has 18% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA). Those who do not drink or consume enough calcium (natural or enriched) foods would benefit with this addition to their diet. Those dealing with Osteopenia or Osteoporosis would also benefit. Please be sure to discuss this with your physician, to be sure that having this in your diet will not affect other treatment you might be on.

    Although there are other speculated benefits based on the nutritional attributes, meaning no real studies done, it is worth noting some of the “possible” benefits I have read include:

    • Lowering the risk of heart disease
    • Lowering the risk of Type 2 Diabetes
    • Improving athletic endurance
    • And since magnesium is used to help those with migraines, in my opinion, it is quite possible this will help those who suffer from these horrible headaches as it contains 30% of the RDA for magnesium.

    How have I incorporated Chia Seeds into my diet?

    • Home made puddings (makes them thicker, more so if you are using a milk substitute such as coconut milk)
    • Protein or Fruit smoothies
    • Vegetable and Rice Stir-fry’s
    • Salads
    • Added to my steal cut oatmeal
    • Baking – muffins, granola bars, cookies (don’t worry family and friends, I don’t usually share these unless I let you know upfront), etc.
    • Soups, stews, chili, and crockpot meals
    • Sprinkled on unsweetened Greek yogurt, in which I personally use as a salad dressing

    These little tiny seeds might make one wonder how such a little seed can be beneficial, or more importantly how it will affect the taste of food. Personally I have not experienced any ill-effects from consuming chia seeds.

    Making choices to be healthy,

    Laura – Blogger and paid Freelance writer

    Potpourri of Health www.potpourriofhealth.com

    Freelance writer at www.reflectivetapestryoflife.com

    Seamstress consultant at www.davinadawnsewing.com

    REFERENCES:

    • Gunnars, K., BSc. (2016, August 18). 11 Proven Health Benefits of Chia Seeds. Retrieved February 08, 2017, from https://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds/
    • Weil, A., MD. (2006, May 15). Benefits of Chia Seeds – Chia Seeds Nutrition | Dr. Weil. Retrieved February 09, 2017, from http://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/nutrition/what-is-chia/
    • Mercola, Dr. (n.d.). Ultimate Guide to Omega-3 Benefits, Sources and Supplements. Retrieved February 08, 2017, from http://articles.mercola.com/omega-3.aspx

  • Nutritious and Delicious – Exceptional Berries and Fruit

    Berries pack nutritional wealth - full of antioxidants and fiber, with natural sugar. Laura - Potpourri of Health
    Berries pack nutritional wealth – full of antioxidants and fiber, with natural sugar.
    Laura – Potpourri of Health

    Nutritious and Delicious – Exceptional Berries and Fruit

    ~ Fruit that are high in Antioxidants and Fiber ~

    By Laura D. Field – Potpourri of Health ~ May 26, 2014

    Summer time is fast approaching, and if you are like me, you look forward to this berry-picking time of year. I can literally spend hours in a berry patch!! And then later, while cleaning and preparing for salads and desserts, I also prepare them for freezing.

    Despite the number of hours of freezing from the prior years sowing, the berries of summer past can only last so long, so you look forward to this new season with a fresh anticipation of fruits fresh from the vines.

    The best part about berries and other fruit from summer and fall harvests, is not only are they nutritious and delicious, they are also full of antioxidants and fiber which support our body’s ability to run efficiently.

    The fruits in which the USDA deems as exceptionally high in antioxidants are:

    The #1 is Wild Blueberries!! One might think that a blueberry is a blueberry, and they taste relatively the same. The main difference has to do with its obvious size variation. The wild blueberries are much smaller, and in comparing how many one can get in a cup, more than 150 of the wild ones vs. 80-90 of the cultivated berries, you discover that there is more surface area (skin) on the wild berries. So, not only do you get more fiber, but you also get more of its nutritional antioxidant benefit.

    Blackberries – another berry with a fiber coating that packs quite a nutritional kick with a great deal of antioxidant benefit. A firm, dark, ripened blackberry is at its peak and the sweetest. Be sure not to consume the red ones until they have ripened. And avoid any over-ripen, mushy ones. Since they are quickly perishable, consume quickly, and if you cannot consume in an adequate time, such as after you have gone out picking, be sure to flash freeze them.

    Raspberries – Similar to that of blackberries, raspberries provide a healthy source of low-calorie sugar (sweetness), and a great deal of nutritional benefit. Raspberries have a great source of vitamins that are high in B-complex, which help the body with the metabolism of carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Select shiny, deep red berries with an attached green cap, which are firm and plump.

    Strawberries – Another favorite of mine, and should soon be ready for picking. Many of the same nutritional properties of the other berries already mentioned, providing a rich source of essential nutrients for our health. For me, strawberries are the kick-start of the berry-picking season. Be sure to pick fully firm, red strawberries. Leave the mushy ones to nurture the ground and avoid the ones that are still white and slightly pink. I wash mine when I get home, then prepare them for flash freezing, as well as use for salads and desserts.

    Other fruits that are quite beneficial for antioxidant properties are:

    • Apples – Red delicious and Granny Smith
    • Cranberries
    • Cherries (sweet)
    • Plums (Black)
    • Prunes

    Since berry picking, cleaning, and prepping can be time consuming, I personally tend to freeze much of what I pick, while enjoying some for a few days. The benefit of picking in large amounts, is that on a day you are home, possibly a rainy Saturday afternoon, you can spend your time making jams, pies, desserts, smoothies, etc. from those frozen berries. Of course, one needs to have a large freezer to put them aside.

    One of the favorite jams I have made over the last couple years is a tri-berry jam that incorporates blackberries, raspberries and strawberries. It is amazing!!

    Laura

    Potpourri of Health www.potpourriofhealth.com

    Freelance writer at www.reflectivetapestryoflife.com

    Seamstress consultant at www.davinadawnsewing.com

     

    Online Resources:

    http://www.superfoodsrx.com/healthyliving/wild-blueberries-benefits/

    http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/blackberries.htmlhttp://www.nutrition-and-you.com/raspberry.html

    http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/strawberries.html