Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia! | amazing little seed with HUGE vegetarian power!

Not only do chia seeds help to make a fun festive gift (see left), they’re exceptionally good plant-based sources of protein, calcium, magnesium and inflammation-fighting antioxidants.1
 
A member of the mint family, Salvia hispanica is an Aztec super-grain that boasts the highest known whole-food source of dietary fibre. The word "chia" is derived from the Nahuatl word chian, meaning oily – and for good reason. More than half the calories in chia come from anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fat called α-linolenic acid (ALA).
 
In the United States, the first substantial wave of chia seed sales were tied to "Chia Pets" in the 1980s. About 500,000 Chia Pets are sold every year... if I could just convince everyone to eat the seeds instead of sprouting and LOOKING at them, I could really transform our health!
If you're ready to welcome chia seeds into your kitchen, and I strongly suggest you do, try out all of these amazing recipes...
 
My sister, Lynn devised these tasty Banana Chia Pecan Muffins (from Hot Detox) which use ground chia seed and water, instead of egg. Lynn's allergic to eggs and she follows a paleo diet (which also makes these vegan), and I think you'll agree that her results are very tasty!
 
Pudding for breakfast? Sure! Everything about my dreamy Fan Favourite Chocolate Chia Raspberry Pudding is healthy, nutritious and anti-inflammatory. Whole Chia Seeds absorb moisture, making a milky gel-pudding texture... it's a fun way to start (or end) the day.
 
You'll be so surprised at how many people around your table hoard my Gluten-Free Onion Mushroom Gravy (from Happy Holiday Menu), you too will say, "Gluten-Free OMG"!
 

5 BIG reasons to add little Chia Seeds to your kitchen

1. Can Chia Seed help regulate blood sugar? YES!

Chia seed contains healthy fats that, when consumed as a part of a balanced meal, help stabilize blood sugar. The healthy fats in chia seed decreases the overall glycemic index of whatever it is you’re eating alongside them. As I outline in my books, managing your glycemic index to minimize blood sugar rollercoaster rides, helps prevent and control inflammatory conditions. Not only is the fat in chia seed beneficial, the fibre has blood sugar stabilizing properties,2 minimizing blood sugar spikes by slowing down the rate at which food is broken down into sugar.

2. Can Chia Seed help regulate your digestive system? YES!

Chia seeds are a rich source of soluble and insoluble fibre, which, along with water, is necessary for moving things out of your body and maintaining a healthy digestive system.  Fibre-rich foods, like chia seed, minimize your risk of developing constipation or a more serious inflammatory bowel condition such as diverticulitis.3 Plus, the mucilaginous gel which coats each seed helps your body sweep out wastes and toxins.

3. Can Chia Seed boost brain function? YES!

As mentioned above, chia seed contains healthy fats called essential fatty acids. They also contain an optimal ratio of brain-friendly Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids that support brain structure and brain function from memory to mental health.4 Talk about brain food!

4. Is Chia Seed heart-healthy? YES!

A promising Toronto-based study concluded that the presence of the amino acid α-linolenic acid (ALA) in chia seed may reduce levels of C-reactive protein, a marker that can be used to measure the overall level of inflammation in your body and a widely-accepted indicator in predicting risk for cardiovascular disease. Supplementation with a few tablespoons (approx. 3½ tbsp in this study) of chia seed, in conjunction with conventional therapies and a fibre-rich diet, minimized inflammation and risk factors for cardiovascular episodes among those with type ll diabetes. Similarly, clinical trials at the University of Arizona showed a decrease in serum triglycerides (TG) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) while simultaneously increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and Omega-3 PUFA levels.5 6

5. Is Chia Seed an excellent source of plant-based protein? YES!

Just one 28g (2 tbsp) serving of this cholesterol-free Chia Seed added to a breakfast or smoothie provides a remarkable 4.6g of easily-absorbable protein.7 Imagine how much protein you'll add your day when you try out a Chia Breakfast Bowl or Chia Dessert Bowl like this one I made on The Marilyn Denis Show...

 

References

  1. Norlaily Mohd Ali, Swee Keong Yeap, Wan Yong Ho, Boon Kee Beh, Sheau Wei Tan and Soon Guan Tan: “The Promising Future of Chia, Salvia hispanica L.” Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 171956 
  2. Vladimir Vuksan, PHD, Dana Whitham, MSC, RD, John L. Sievenpiper, PHD, Alexandra L. Jenkins, RD, PHD, Alexander L. Rogovik, MD, PHD, Richard P. Bazinet, PHD, Edward Vidgen, BSC and Amir Hanna, MD, FRCPC “Supplementation of Conventional Therapy With the Novel Grain Salba (Salvia hispanica L.) Improves Major and Emerging Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Type 2 Diabetes. Results of a randomized controlled trial.” August 8, 2007, doi: 10.2337/dc07-1144. Diabetes Care November 2007 vol. 30 no. 11 2804-2810
  3. Judith A Marlett, PhD, RD, Michael I McBurney, PhD, Joanne L Slavin, PhD, RD: “Health Implications of Dietary Fiber” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. July 2002Volume 102, Issue 7
  4. Artemis P. Simopoulos: “Omega-6/Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acid Ratio and Chronic Diseases” Food Reviews International Vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 77–90, 2004. The Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health, Washington, D.C., USA
  5. Ricardo Ayerza: “Effects of Seed Color and Growing Locations on Fatty Acid Content and Composition of Two Chia (Salvia hispanica L.) Genotypes”. J Am Oil Chem Soc (2010) 87:1161–1165 DOI 10.1007/s11746-010-1597-7
  6. Ann Nutr Metab, Ayerza Jr. R., Coates W.: “Effect of Dietary α-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”  Office of Arid Lands Studies, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz., USA 2007;51:27–34 (DOI:10.1159/000100818)
  7. United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28: Basic Report:  12101, Nuts, chestnuts, european, boiled and steamed.
 

 

 

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