You’ve heard the old saying “you are what you eat,” right? In an age of meals on-the-go and over-processed foods, it can be challenging (and seemingly impossible at times) to develop good eating habits that you’re able to stick with long-term. If you’re struggling, the tips found here are sure to help…
Every year there seems to be a new superfood that gains so much popularity that only those handcuffed to a fast food restaurant without a smart phone wouldn’t know about it. It’s on the news, the internet, your friends are talking about it, and every health magazine has a spread dedicated to this “it” food. It’s the food that your friends brag about by posting countless Facebook pictures of their hip, new, healthy concoctions – making you want to put down your cheeseburger and GMO infested soft drink. In 2013, it appears as if Chia seeds are generating quite the stir for health enthusiasts everywhere. How does such a food make headlines and impress upon leaders in holistic health? Well, the Chia seed doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to natural benefits across the board.
Chia is extremely rich in Omega-3. In fact, they are one of the “richest plant-based sources,” even above flax seeds and salmon! Within the Chia seeds’ lipid profile, it has an overall omega-3 composition of 60%, which is high in alpha-linolenic acid, ACA. Benefits of omega-3 include reducing high cholesterol and inflammation, while refining cognitive performance. Its anti-inflammatory properties, associated with Chia’s high essential fatty acid content, help improve heart health, lowers the risk for arthritis along with joint pain, and also aids in the prevention of some forms of cancer. Enhancing hair, skin, and nail health is also associated with incorporating omega-3 fatty acids into your diet.
“Two tablespoons of Chia seeds contain 18 percent of the DRI for calcium, 35 percent for phosphorus, 24 percent for magnesium and about 50 percent for manganese,” according to healthyeating.sfgate.com. The nutritional makeup of Chia does wonders to your health – maintaining a healthy body weight and issues with hypertension are just a few of the benefits. Calcium and manganese help improve bone health, and phosphorous is essential for tissue growth and repair, as well, as protein syntheses.
3. It’s Gluten and GMO Free – Vegan and Kosher Friendly!
Gluten allergy or on a gluten free diet? No problem, because you will not find gluten in Chia. It is also valuable for vegans, vegetarians, and safe for those who eat Kosher. If you have any of these dietary restrictions, you are in luck. This superfood allows you to gain many of the health and nutrition benefits that could have been lacking in your diet – with no hidden GMOs anywhere to be found.
Chia seeds are loaded with protein, which helps curb cravings and build lean muscle mass. This is definitely an advantage to any vegans or vegetarians out there scrambling to get more protein in their diet!
5. Mental Energy
The high essential fatty acid content found in Chia seeds is excellent for improved cognitive performance, concentration, mood, and overall mental health. It is a great study tool for all of you students out there!
Put down the Red Bull, because Chia was derived from the Mayan word for “strength,” and referred to as the “running food” by ancient Aztecs, for a reason. The Chia seed’s hydrophilic properties and complex carbohydrates (soluble fiber) create a physical barrier between digestive enzymes and carbohydrates in your digestive system. This barrier is a result of a gel that is formed when the soluble fiber in the seed attracts water and expands. This efficient process allows a delay in carbohydrate to sugar conversion, thus resulting in increased metabolic rates and endurance. This process also stabilizes blood sugar, which is essential for diabetic individuals.
7. Weight Loss
The gel forming phenomena that takes place during digestion, along with the Chia seeds’ high protein content, makes you feel fuller faster and for an extended period of time. Satiety is one of the major keys to weight loss, due to its power to decrease calorie intake. The insoluble fiber in Chia seeds helps clear and detoxify the colon by clearing out the “extras”, thus by promoting digestive regularity.
8. Hydration and Electrolyte Balance
In addition, the gel created by Chia ensures maximum hydration and electrolyte retention. Toss the Gatorade because “the seeds absorb and retain 10-12 times their weight in water.”
9. Inexpensive and Organic
This is not a combination you hear very often, but for those on the right path of eating organically, Chia seeds can cost as low as $9 for an entire pound – this amount typically lasts for about 3 weeks. If you want to buy in bulk, Chia lasts 4-5 years, unless it is in its gel form, which gives it a safe 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator. Chia seeds are also naturally organic. There is no need to treat them with pesticides because insects don’t have much interest in the product.
10. It’s Delicious!
It took a few years after the Chia Pet hit the shelves, and thousands of years after it was a staple food for the Mayans and Aztecs, for the Chia seed to hit the shelves as a well-known health food. The typical American diet lacks, well, standards, to say the least – especially when it comes to incorporating nutrients the natural way. After understanding how Chia seeds can greatly improve your health and wellness, you may never want to change your diet again. The reputation of the Chia seed may withstand the bounds of a yearly fad.
Brown, Genevieve Shaw. “Chia Seeds the ‘It’ Food of 2013.” ABC News. ABC News Network, 6 Feb. 2013. Web. 10 Sept. 2013. <http://abcnews.go.com/Travel/eating-chia-seeds/story?id=18296119>.
“Chia Seeds – The Pinnacle Superfood.” Healthy-Eating-Guidelines.net. Healthy-Eating-Guidelines.net, n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2013. <http://www.healthy-eating-guidelines.net/chia-seeds.html>.
Coles, Terri. “Chia Seed Benefits: 10 Reasons To Add Chia To Your Diet.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc., 03 June 2013. Web. 13 Sept. 2013. <http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/06/03/chia-seed-benefits-_n_3379831.html>.
Duncan, Lindsey, ND, CN. “Chia: Ancient Super-Seed Secret.” The Dr. Oz Show. HARPO, Inc., 14 Oct. 2011. Web. 10 Sept. 2013. <http://www.doctoroz.com/blog/lindsey-duncan-nd-cn/chia-ancient-super-secret>.
“Five Health Benefits of Chia.” FitDay. Internet Brands, Inc., n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2013. <http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/exercises/five-health-benefits-of-chia.html>.
Hathwell, Jen. “Top 10 Health Benefits of Chia Seeds.” SFGate: Healthy Eating. Demand Media, n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2013. <http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/top-10-health-benefits-chia-seeds-6962.html>.
Katie. “10 Uses for Chia Seeds.” Wellness Mama. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2013. <http://wellnessmama.com/4981/10-uses-for-chia-seeds/>.
Mike. “Chia Seed Benefits.” Nutrition Talk. Thrive Foods, 27 July 2009. Web. 10 Sept. 2013. <http://blog.thrivefoods.net/2009/07/chia-seeds-top-10-benefits.html>.
Photo 1: chiaseedszone.com
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Posted By: Axiom Health Care Marketing
Check out these statistics on being vegetarian! The numbers may surprise you.
Posted By: Axiom Health Care Marketing
Posted by: Axiom Health Care Marketing
Posted by: Axiom Health Care Marketing
Posted by: Axiom Health Care Marketing
Suffering from high blood pressure? Your diet may be a big part of the problem. This article reveals how the right diet can lower blood pressure significantly:
If you suffer from hypertension but are concerned about taking medications, the DASH diet may be for you. This articles discusses the diet and how it can lead to significant improvement in blood pressure:
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is often called “the silent killer.” Because it presents no obvious physical symptoms, many people who suffer from it are unaware of their condition or the risk it poses to their health. Many studies have drawn connections between hypertension and diet – excess consumption of sodium, for example, is linked to elevated blood pressure. Today that link is clearer than ever.
What is DASH?
In recent years, nutritionists and medical researchers have discovered a great deal of new information about the nutrients in food and how they can influence our health. One result of this work is the creation of a diet that has proven to lower blood pressure significantly without the use of medication. Known as the DASH diet – Dietary Approaches to Reducing Hypertension – it focuses on consuming foods that are low in saturated fat, total fat, cholesterol, processed sugar, and sodium. Examples of the kinds of foods included in the diet are whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish, poultry, and low- or no-fat dairy products.
Proven Results with DASH
The proof of the effectiveness of the DASH plan comes from two studies sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The first study included 459 adults, evenly divided between men and women, of whom 27% had high blood pressure. The participants were divided into three groups: one group was fed a typical American diet; the second group ate the same diet, supplemented by additional fruits and vegetables; the final group ate a DASH diet. All participants consumed about 3,000 milligrams of sodium daily. While members of both the second and third groups showed reduced hypertension, the reductions under the DASH were significantly greater. Participants on the DASH plan showed results as quickly as two weeks after changing their diets.
The second study focused more specifically on the role of dietary sodium in conjunction with different diets. In this study, 412 individuals were divided into two groups: one on a typical American diet and one on the DASH plan. The researchers then varied the participants’ daily intake of sodium each month. One month, participants received 3,300 milligrams of sodium daily, about what the average American consumes. The amount was then reduced to 2,300 milligrams/day for a month, and to 1,500 for a month. Again, those on the DASH diet showed the greatest reductions in blood pressure, with the most dramatic results produced by the lowest-sodium (1,500 milligrams/day) DASH diet. Even participants who had only very slightly elevated blood pressure, or prehypertension, showed great improvement under the plan.
The DASH Diet
The DASH diet requires no special foods or supplements, nor does it require any additional preparation than a standard diet. It emphasizes the importance of eating foods that contain nutrients that researchers have linked to lower blood pressure, including potassium, calcium, magnesium, protein, and fiber. The DASH plan contains recommendations for daily servings from several different food groups. These include:
- 6-8 servings of whole grain (1 serving = 1 slice of bread, 1 ounce dry cereal, or ½ cup cooked cereal, pasta, or rice.
- 4-5 servings of vegetables (1 serving = 1 cup raw leafy vegetables, ½ cup cooked vegetables, or ½ cup vegetable juice)
- 4-5 servings of fruit (1 serving = 1 medium fruit, ¼ cup dried fruit, ½ cup fresh, frozen, or canned fruit, or ½ cup fruit juice)
- 2-3 servings of low/no fat dairy (1 serving = 1 cup milk or yogurt, or 1 ½ ounces of cheese)
- 6 or fewer servings of lean meat/poultry/fish (1 serving = 1 ounce cooked meat or 1 egg)
- 2-3 servings of fats or oils (1 serving = 1 teaspoon of margarine of vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise, or 2 tablespoons of salad dressing)
In addition, the diet prescribes weekly dietary intake of two other food groups:
- 4-5 servings/week of nuts/seeds/legumes (1 serving = 1/3 cup nuts, ½ cup cooked peas or beans, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, or ½ ounce of seeds)
- 5 or less servings/week of sugars (1 serving = 1 tablespoon of sugar/jelly/jam, ½ cup of sorbet or gelatin, or 1 cup lemonade)
As mentioned earlier, the DASH diet has its greatest benefits in lowering blood pressure when you limit sodium intake as well. Because the DASH plan includes lots of foods that are naturally low in sodium, such as fruits and vegetables, your sodium intake will likely decrease just by adopting the diet. However, a lot of foods and food additives contain sodium, so it is wise to monitor your food choices. A partial list of such products includes processed cereals, soy sauce, baked goods, baking soda, and monosodium glutamate, or MSG. Be sure to read the labels on processed or prepackaged foods carefully to make sure you are not getting “hidden” sodium from these products.
If you have been diagnosed with hypertension and are looking for a natural way to control your blood pressure, taking up the DASH diet is a good place to start. Of course, you should consult with a physician before you start any new dietary regimen. The DASH diet, however, has helped many people control their hypertension and lead healthier lives. It could do the same for you!