Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Amazing Chia Seed!

So when you think of Chia I bet you're thinking of a cute terracota planter with green "fur" right?
Well guess what ladies and gentlemen this amazing seed can also be used in your diet to help cut calories, increase your omega-3, antioxidant, and fiber intake for the day, reduce your blood pressure and thin your blood, boost your calcium absorption, and even boost your energy, stamina, and endurance. WOW! That seed sure packs a punch huh? Now I'm not condoning eating the seeds right off your Chia pet, but you should definitely read more and maybe take a trip to the store as well. 

In a study published in Diabetes Care in 2007, chia was found to have a protective effect against heart disease and stroke due to the thinning effect on blood,  shown to lower systolic blood pressure an average of about 6 mm HG, lower high sensitivity C-reactive protein, vonWillebrand factor, A1C, and fibrinogen levels. Here's a link to read the full study.

The Nutritional Science Research Institute in partnership with Dr. David Nieman of Appalachian State University conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in healthy, non-diabetics to determine the effects of chia. They also performed allergenicity and toxicity tests and released their results in 2008. According to their results, Both white and dark chia seeds were found to contain omega 3 fatty acids, plenty of dietary fiber, complete protein, iron, calcium, magnesium, and many antioxidants. They found that the difference between the white and dark chia seeds was the fact that the dark seed contained an additional antioxidant called quercetin. The NSRI also found that Omega 3 Chia contained the highest level of omega 3 than any other food and the highest amount of antioxidants that is possibly greater than blueberries! The additional tests found no toxic levels of chia intake and only 2 of 12 tested with peanut and tree seed allergies showed a low level allergic response to skin prick tests. 

Here's some nutritional facts on Chia seeds, compliments of NSRI.

Serving Size: 15g
*Percent Daily Values based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Amount Per Serving (15g )*( % Daily Values )*
Calories 50; 
Calories from fat 44
Total Fat 4.9 g8
Saturated Fat <0.5g1
Trans Fat 0g
Omega-3 (Alpha-Linolenic Acid) 3g
Omega-6 (Linoleic Acid) 1g
Cholesterol 0g0
Sodium <0.5mg0
Carbohydrates Available 0.1g0
Dietary Fiber 6.1g24
Sugars 0g
Protein 3.1g6
Calcium 107mg11
Iron 2.4mg13
Zinc 0.5 mg3
Potassium 105mg3
Magnesium 59mg15
Phosphorus 160mg16

Antioxidants:(antioxidants include myrecetin, quercetin, kaemferol, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid)

The Omega 3 Chia oil and bran have signifigant technical data. To view the technical sheets click here to download a PDF showing that data.

Here's a few more reasons to add some Ch-Ch-Chia to your diet!

  1. Chia is easy to digest and doesn't need to be ground like flax to remove its coating. 
  2. Chia is very versatile and can be eaten straight out of the bag, sprinkled on cereal and salad, added to drinks, and even ground to be used in cooking and baking. Try a handful as a snack, sprinkle two tablespoons in your cereal or salad, add 2 teaspoons to your drink, grind and add to baking mix, use in place of oil in recipes, or top the crust of your breads and pies with it while baking.
  3. Chia does have one weird quality that makes it top the charts in benefits and will amaze your kids. When chia is soaked in water it can absorb up to 12 times its weight in water and it will form a gel like coating. This gel like coating is a highly soluable fiber that can help keep you full longer while reducing the occurence of heart burn and GERD, give you an energy boost that will last, stabilizes blood sugar as it breaks down slowly, increases your fiber intake to promote regularity and prevent gastrointestinal diseases, and decreases your fat intake if substituted for oil in baking. (A 9:1 ratio of water to chia can be substituted for oil in baking)
  4. It's very nutritious and contains 3-10 times the healthy oils and 1-2 times the protein of most grains. It also contains boron which encourages and stimulates calcium absorption for healthy bones, teeth, and body function and brags of 3 times more iron than spinach!
  5. Chia has no flavor of its own, so you can add it to anything without any weird flavors or after taste. Also great for the kid factor as children can be hesitant to try new things.