Posts Tagged ‘omega-3’

Have You Become a Chia Head?

Chia Pet Sequence

Chia Pet Sequence (Photo credit: Jeffrey Beall)

 Remember the chia heads and pets that were popular several years ago?  You planted chia seeds in a doll planter and grass grew on top of the head. Well, it turns out that the same chia seeds are a very beneficial dietary supplement!

Chia seeds are a sacred Aztec and Mayan seed and have been a staple in their diet for centuries.  Native to South America, chia seeds are rich in   nutrients and anti-oxidants.

English: Chia (Salvia columbariae) seeds Franç...

There is much talk today about the importance of Omega-3 fatty acids in one’s diet.  I like getting Omega-3’s from a variety of animal and plant sources and chia seeds are one of the richest plant sources of Omega-3 essential fatty acids, specifically alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA).  Omega-3’s reduce inflammation and high cholesterol, help support normal cardiovascular function and enhance cognitive performance.

Many people’s diets are low in fiber.  Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber with 10 grams in only 2 tablespoons, or one-third of the daily recommended intake.  Fiber is essential to support normal functioning of the digestive system and can help lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation.

Chia seeds are also rich in antioxidants with more antioxidant activity than blueberries. Antioxidants help protect the body from free radicals, aging and cancer.  This high antioxidant profile gives chia seeds a long shelf life; they can last almost two years without refrigeration.

Chia seeds are also high in minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and manganese.  They can be digested whole and do not need to be ground to obtain their nutritional benefits.

Another important benefit?  Chia seeds are gluten-free and gluten allergies are a growing problem today.   My husband has even noticed his hair has become fuller after adding chia seeds to his diet.

How do you eat this nutritional powerhouse?  I add them to my smoothie in the morning, but you can sprinkle them on yogurt, cereal or even in salads.  They can be added to baked goods or simply enjoyed as a snack.   Chia seeds are satiating too due to their high fiber content, protein and gelling action when mixed with liquids.  My smoothie holds me easily until lunch. One tablespoon daily is the suggested serving. You can buy chia seeds at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and natural food stores.    photo-1

So become a chia head – you’ll be healthier for it!

Information compiled from: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/top-10-health-benefits-chia-seeds-6962.html and spectrum essentials.

 

Summer’s Extreme Weather

Whether the weather be fine,
Whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold,
Whether the weather be hot,
We’ll weather the weather,
Whatever the whether,
Whether we like it or not
~Author Unknown

Here in the Northeast and in the Mid-west, we’ve been experiencing more than our fair share of cloudy days and rain, intense thunderstorms, flood and tornado watches and high humidity.  Since there really is nothing you can do about the weather (other than lead a greener lifestyle and hope other people will too), try not to let it get you down.  Eating certain foods can relieve weather-related depression.

Omega 3 fats found in fish oil, salmon (and other fatty fish), walnuts (and other nuts), flax seeds, olive oil, chia seeds and avocados, are essential for proper brain function.  When the brain functions properly, it’s hard to get depressed for long.  Studies have shown that just a gram of fish oil a day can decrease symptoms such as anxiety, sleep disorders, unexplained periods of sadness, etc.  Omega 3 fats also lower cholesterol and improve cardiovascular function.

Fruits like dates, papaya, bananas, strawberries*, mangoes, pineapple, grapefruit, peaches and apple* also help fight depression!  They contain the best natural sugars your body can process, as well as essential nutrients.  They hydrate too!

Out west, the weather is unusually hot and dry and they are experiencing less than normal rainfall!  Protecting your skin is essential, not only with sunscreen but with food too.  The following three summer fruits are cooling and may protect your skin from sun damage during the hot dry summer weather.

  • Cherries contain inflammation-fighting anthocyanins and melatonin, which may boost UV protection and encourage cell growth, both great ways to fight wrinkles.
  • Nectarines* contain nutrients that help correct sun damage from the inside out.  They contain vitamins and minerals that help control inflammation and free radical damage.
  • Watermelon has high water and lycopene content, which helps protect and preserve skin cells so the skin is tighter, smoother and better able to retain moisture.  Lycopene, also found in tomatoes, is a powerful antioxidant and may help ward off sunburn too.

Extreme weather conditions are hard on the body and the spirit, but eating whole, nutritious and seasonal foods can help.

Have a happy and safe 4th of July!  Stay cool!!!

* Foods that you should always eat organic!

Information compiled from:

http://www.sharecare.com/health/diet-nutrition/article/eat-these-3-fruits-for-great-summer-skin; http://voices.yahoo.com/foods-fight-depression-eat-way-happiness-2710221.html and http://www.naturalnews.com/020611_depression_nutrition.html#ixzz2XtsDD1aP

 

Important Books and Documentaries about Healthy Eating

I love food – fresh, healthy food!  But understanding what’s healthy and safe is getting increasingly difficult. Food poisoning and food contamination are too common.  Do you buy organic?  Local? All natural? Sustainably grown? Free range?  Grass fed?  Lowfat?   Whoa……….

Fish is loaded with heart, brain, and skin-healthy omega 3.  But not all fish.  Many types are also contaminated with mercury, overfished, or farmed, which has its problems.  Chicken is a healthy, lean protein, but not if it’s injected with growth hormones and antibiotics and raised in filthy, inhumane environments. Soy is an excellent source of plant protein, but along with corn, a major GMO (genetically modified organisms) crop. GMO crops are linked to allergies and many other health issues, and what’s worse they aren’t labeled.  (There is a bill before Congress now requiring GMO foods to be labeled.)

It’s ironic that berries are a powerhouse of cancer-fighting anti-oxidants, but one of the most heavily sprayed crops with cancer-causing pesticides.  Apples are considered a super food, but they are #1 on the list of the most heavily sprayed crops.  Additionally, it seems like everyday we get conflicting advice about what is good for you and what isn’t.

It’s all too complicated.  There are several eye-opening books and documentaries however, that help make the issue of food more understandable.  Here are some of the most important.

Books

Michael Pollan is the expert about sensible, ethical eating and has written several fascinating books on the subject.  His book The Omnivore’s Dilemma is a must read;  Food Rules is a short manual of simple food rules.  One example, don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.

Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation is the intriguing history of the fast food movement and how it has changed our diet, culture, economy and health!

Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, a history making bestseller published in 1962, launched the modern environmental movement.

Documentaries

Food, Inc., an astonishing, if not frightening film about what’s wrong in America’s industrialized food system.

Super Size Me: A fit man embarks on a 30-day challenge to eat only McDonald’s fast food.

Forks Over Knives investigates the lifestyle diseases that can be controlled or reversed by avoiding meat and processed food.  You’ll never eat meat again!

The Future of Food: A look into genetically modified food (GMOs) and the destructive path of the Monsanto Corporation.

Get informed – the future of our food supply depends on it!

Email me with questions…..

Food Rules: An Eater's Manual

Food Rules: An Eater's Manual (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fast Food Nation

Fast Food Nation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)