Posts Tagged ‘Salvia hispanica’

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.

 

START YOUR DAY WITH AN ORGANIC SMOOTHIE

One of the most nutritious and convenient breakfasts is a delicious organic fruit smoothie.   The Department of Health recommends that we get at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day, which research proves reduces the risk of heart disease and some cancers. With a smoothie you can almost get your full day’s requirement in one serving!

Start with 16 ounces of a liquid in your blender.  I prefer a combination of almond milk and kefir and/or yogurt for the calcium and probiotics. You can also use cow’s milk, soy milk, rice milk, hemp milk, 100% fruit juice or water for the liquid.  Experiment with different kinds to see which you like.

Image by Digital Wallpaper

To the liquid, add 2 -3 scoops of protein powder like whey, and then whatever fruits you like.

For the fruit, I start with a banana for the consistency and the nutritional value. In addition to the potassium, its natural sugars give an instant, sustained and substantial energy boost. Avocado is a delicious and healthy thickener as well.  I then add about a cup or more of blueberries or strawberries and pineapple bits (or whatever fresh fruits I have on hand).  Blueberries are powerful anti-oxidants, but make sure you use organic since all berries are heavily sprayed with pesticides. Pineapple is high in Vitamin C, A and manganese and good for arthritis, bones and joints, and indigestion.

Finally, I supplement with hemp, chia seeds, and fish oil for a super source of fiber and Omega 3 fatty acids.  You can also use flax seed powder or oil, another good source of Omega 3.   Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid necessary for our brains and skin and an all around must for good health.

Blend the ingredients for a minute or two and enjoy your delicious, nutritious and easy meal setting you on your way to optimum health for the day. With its abundance of fresh fruit, summer is a good time to get into the smoothie habit.  (The rest of the year use frozen fruit).  Be creative – you’ll feel great!