Naturally Artisanal

Passionate About Natural & Organic Food with An Artisanal Twist

Posts Tagged ‘chia’

Chia, The Miracle Seed: Regulating Blood Sugar for Hypoglycemics and Diabetics, A Natural Energy Boost, Antioxidants and so much more….

Posted by smfierro on April 13, 2010

Since I have seen Diabetes and Hypoglycemia affect members of my family, when I learned Chia (Salvia Hispanica) seeds might offer a healthy and natural way to help stabilize blood sugar, I wanted to learn more.  I believe this is just the tip of the iceberg, and yet, if you are interested in discovering ways to improve your overall well-being, you will like this post.  Chia seeds offer a natural way to increase your energy, protein, fiber, Omega 3 fats, regulate your blood sugar and so much more!  This article is a bit long, and yet, there is so much I had to delete to make it a better read.

Chia seeds boast of a long list of health benefits which might surprise you. Until only recently, when we thought of Chia in the US, most of us immediately envisioned the gimmicky ‘dime store’ Chia Pet clay potted animal figurines.  Only in the last decade has Chia seed gained recognition as a ‘super food’.  One of my friends refers to it as her “miracle seed”.  Who knew this tiny little black and white seed could pack so much nutritional power.  field blue flowers EVI Foto 051

The Mayan, Incan and Aztec civilizations were cultivating these seeds in the plateaus of Mexico, Central and South America, as they knew of their powerful health benefits.  Despite what caused it to virtually disappear from our planets landscape, literally, we can thank some health conscious farmers and inquisitive scientists for bringing it back to the 21st century.

The mildly nutty tasting seeds are surprisingly versatile and only 1 to 2 Tbsp. are recommended for daily intake.  The health benefit upside appears to be enormous.  They can be consumed raw out of the palm of your hand, ground up in your favorite smoothie, used as a thickening agent and included in many foods as an ingredient as you might use wheat flour, for example.  There are many ways in which we can include Chia in our daily diets and reap the health rewards are numerous.  According to Luis Echeverria, New Business Manager for EVI, Inc., one of the first organic Chia growers in the world, Chia’s largest and primary market is currently as a seed, being used as a food supplement by consumers.  Echeverria projects in the next year or so, Chia’s primary market will be as an ingredient for the manufacture of nutraceutical products, sports nutrition, and functional foods such as muffins, cereals, drinks, cake mixes, tortillas and so on.

The great news is that the health benefits associated with Chia seeds far outweigh the cost of other sources we use to get the daily recommended amounts of nutrients in our diet.  I talk a bit about how the seeds positively impact the health of Diabetics and Hypoglycemics, however, these benefits apply to everyone.

So those of you who are Diabetic or Hypoglycemic, we know it is because the pancreas is not functioning properly (processing sugar well) which can result in a lack of energy, poor elimination through the intestines, heart disease and a whole host of other issues.  Among many other things, Chia seeds do two great things, they level blood sugar and ensure intestinal health.  Chia seeds contain very high levels of soluble and insoluble fiber, which are the key to stabilizing blood glucose levels.  Since I am not a scientific type, I like to make things simple, so here goes…  Chia contains anywhere from 15 to 30 percent more fiber per seed than flax or hemp, both considered leading sources of fiber.  Both forms of fiber are indigestible and do not absorb into the blood stream.  The coating of each seed is soluble fiber that forms a gel that binds with fatty acids and helps regulate the rate at which carbohydrates are assimilated into the body as sugar and the stomach is emptied.  The slowing of the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar in the body is outstanding for one’s metabolic rate.  The result is a regulation of blood sugar levels and the lowering of bad cholesterol (LDLs) for better heart health.  The insoluble fiber of the Chia seed promotes regularity and pH balance of the intestines reducing the risk for cancer.   For all of you who have Diabetes and Hypoglycemia, expect to experience higher levels of energy with the addition to Chia to your diet, not to mention a whole host of other benefits.

Another hot topic is about getting enough Omega 3 fatty acids, of which a 1,000 to 2,000 mg intake per day be followed.  1,000 mg = 1 g = .0022 lb.  At just around $10 per 1 lb. bag, Chia seeds can be an excellent alternative or complement to meat or salmon, where 1 lb. of salmon might be anywhere from $12 to $22.  And Chia is purported to have 8.7 times the Omega 3s found in wild Atlantic salmon.  Omega 3 fatty acids are required for the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system, provide maintenance to the cell membranes, are required for hormone production and provide anti-inflammatory properties.

Check out all the other ways Chia seeds can boost your energy, immune system, heart health, intestine health and so on.

–          High in antioxidants

–          No toxic impact on the thyroid function

–          No lignans affecting estrogen

–          Magnesium in 100g of Chia seeds is equivalent to ~200g of nuts

–          Fiber in 100g of Chia seeds is equivalent to ~300g of oats

–          Calcium in 100g of Chia seeds is equivalent to ~545mg of milk

–          Iron in 100g of Chia seeds is equivalent to ~400g of spinach

–          Potassium in 100g of Chia seeds is equivalent to ~180 of bananas

–          Antioxidant in 100g of Chia seeds is equivalent to ~900g of oranges

–          Omega 3 in 100g of Chia seeds is equivalent to ~990g of salmon

–          Easily digestible

–          High in zinc, boron (for bones) and niacin

–          Low sodium and cholesterol free

–          Increases and lengthens hydration, resulting in electrolyte maintenance and more efficient utilization of body fluids

–          Increases energy…it is the most popular choice of long distance runners

–          Long shelf life:  High in antioxidants such as Vitamin C and E, Cinnamic acids allowing storage at room temperature for up to 3 years

–          Gluten-free:  Great for diabetics, hypoglycemics, sufferers of Crohn’s and Celiac diseases

From what I am learning, this is only a short list of benefits gained from including anywhere from 1 to 2 Tablespoons of whole or ground Chia in one’s daily diet.

I hope at least those of you living with Diabetes and Hypoglycemia, or who simply want to live as healthfully as possible, are encouraged about Chia being a simple way to assist you in achieving wellness.   And with that, read my post about how the Echeverria family is growing Chia seed organically (to USDA organic standards) for commercial import to the US in a 3rd world country.  This family-owned company found a way to employ an entire small town in Ecuador to operate one of the few organic Chia seed growing companies in the world.

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