Monday, May 12, 2014

How important is fiber in our diets? - Chia Seed is a great source

A study just published in BMC Public Health Journal reported that if Americans would increase the fiber in their diets, health costs would decrease significantly.  The authors stated that "Accumulating evidence indicates that greater dietary fiber intakes reduce risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, weight gain, obesity and diverticular disease as well as functional constipation.  The authors estimate that at least a $2 billion savings in health care costs could be achieved among adults with only a 3 g/day increase in fiber was undertaken by only 50% of the population.

Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber and contain on average 34% dietary fiber of which 4% is soluble.

Given that chia seeds have been classified as a food by the FDA this means one can consume as much chia seed as one would like.  The only caveat is that if you are on a low fiber diet, increase your consumption of chia seeds slowly since loose bowels could result with a rapid increase.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Chia Seeds Nutrition Has Worked For Centuries

Chia was an important crop during pre-Columbian times until the discovery of America when cultivation decreased. From that time until the late 1990’s, only a small amount of chia was cultivated in its native Mexico. During pre-Columbian times, chia was one of four main crops the Aztecs and was a key component of their diets. The Aztecs grew chia, beans, amaranth and maize in a sort of primitive hydroponics system to produce the nutritious crops that contained the nutrition which meets that of the ideal diet today.

Chia seed nutritional aspects were observed more than 500 years ago by the Aztecs, even without the kind of research that is used today to evaluate the benefits of various foods in the diet. Today, modern science has determined that these pre-Columbian diets were better than those eaten today. Although the natural food was forced into obscurity, chia seeds nutrition and ease of use has brought it to the forefront again. Chia offers an easy way to add omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, protein and dietary fiber to the diet. Thanks to the efforts of the Northwestern Argentina Regional Project in initiating a chia research and development program, new production areas and the development of commercial production practices have led to the introduction of chia as a commercially available food. Its composition and nutritional values has positioned chia to be a key player in the future for use in both human food and animal feed.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Basic Chia Seeds Nutritional Info

All of the chia seed that you will find at AZChia is packed full of nutrients including protein, fiber, omega 3 and antioxidants. For many people who are considering buying chia for the first time, distinguishing between whole black, whole white and milled black seed can be confusing. While these three types, or forms, of chia seed are essentially the same, some people prefer one over the other. For example, if children object to seeds, it is easier to “hide” the milled form from their eyes.  In actuality, the location where the seeds are grown makes a greater difference in seed nutritional composition, due to climatic differences, than does the color. If anything, black seeds as with dark fruits, contain slightly more antioxidants.

AZChia offers a chart that shows chia seeds nutritional info for the black and white seeds grown in various locations, and in different countries. As for the milled black seeds, these are often used in baking recipes and smoothies if one does not like the crunch of the whole seeds. All three forms of chia available from AZChia offer similar health benefits and are quality products that will provide the optimum nutritional benefits that can be obtained from this nutritious food.

Friday, April 11, 2014

How to Make Your Own Recipes for Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are a versatile food that adds omega3 fatty acids, protein, fiber and antioxidants to your diet. In addition to being able to sprinkle the seeds directly onto a wide range of foods to take advantage of these benefits, there are also numerous ways to enjoy chia seeds in recipes that can improve a healthy diet even more. You will find over 100 recipes at AZChia that tell you how to introduce chia into all types of recipes so as to add the nutrients that chia contains, and also provides tips for using chia as a substitute for ingredients that are not as healthy such as eggs and saturated fats. The result is a greater diversity of healthy foods and delicious tastes that suit almost anyone.

One example of an easy chia seed recipe  is to use a brownie mix that calls for 2 or 3 eggs. Instead, use three egg whites with 3 teaspoons of whole chia seeds. Other than increasing the liquid used and cooking time by a few minutes, the recipe is prepared in the same way as one would normally do it. This gives you the option to use a low cost brownie mix or any other kind of packaged baking treat as a healthy snack that doesn’t have the whole egg or oil added to it, which adds cholesterol or unhealthy fats to your diet. With so many choices available as to how you use chia seeds, there is no reason that everyone cannot get the added nutrition that makes chia the world’s healthiest whole food.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Are all carbs in foods equal? How does chia enter the equation?

The truth of the matter is, they are not.

If you look at chia for example: a serving of 25 grams of chia has 10g of carbohydrates and 10 grams of fiber.

People trying to avoid carbs in their diet would obviously say this is way too much and I am not going to eat chia. 

The issue here is that fiber is counted as carbohydrates in any analysis done on a food. So in this case the reality of the situation is that chia has no carbs that you want to avoid. Why is this so? Because fiber is not broken down into glucose.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Organic Chia - What is the real story?

A number of people have called us wanting to know if our chia is organic. Here is what I tell them:

1.  Chia is a member of the mint family, as such insects never bother it, hence it is never sprayed with pesticides and residues are never found.  Often the FDA takes samples when we import chia, always looking for pesticide residues.  Never have they found any, since it is impossible to find them as the crop has never been sprayed.

2. The other issue is that there are people selling what they call "organically grown" chia.  This means absolutely nothing and is being used as a marking tool.  If you see this message, ignore it.

3. There are people selling what they claim to be "organic" or "certified organic" chia.  There is organic chia that is properly being certified available.  However it is easy to claim this, to arrange for documents that are misleading or to say it is organic when processed in an organic facility. Unless the crops was actually grown in properly certified fields, it is not organic.

Bottom line..........Buyer beware

Friday, August 30, 2013

Omega3 and Risk of Hip Fracture in Women

A study recently published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research found that increasing the omega3 content of the red blood cells, and decreasing the omega6/omega3 ratio can help to reduce hip fracture risks in women. In particular they noted that a higher alpha linolenic content of the red blood cells may predict lower hip fracture risk.

Consuming chia, which is the highest plant source of omega3, has been shown to increase the alpha linolenic (omega3) content of the blood.

Thus this study points to another very good reason that women, in particular, should consume chia.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Omega3 and Prostate Cancer - Is there an increased risk from their consumption?

A study just published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute warned that omega3 intakes can lead to an increased risk of prostate cancer.

But here is the key to the is ONLY the long chain omega3s (DHA and EPA) that are the concern! These are found in marine products such as salmon, etc. or in the oils produced from them.

The short chain form of omega3 found in chia is ALA and there is no evidence that there is a risk of increased prostate cancer from consuming ALA.

Bottom line is that this study confirms an earlier one published several years ago in Europe that consumption of long chain omega3s (EPA and DHA) can increase the risk of prostate cancer.

So any recommendations that are made to consume these forms of omega3 should also carry a warning of the potential risks as well.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Whole Chia Seed or Milled Chia Seed - more proof they work the same in the body

A study just published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported on a clinical trial in which whole chia seeds and milled chia seeds (Salvia hispanica L) were incorporated at three levels and then baked into bread.

The clinical trial found all chia amounts to reduce blood glucose levels compared to the control.  The three levels of chia, 7, 14 and 24 g showed significant main effect of dose (amount of chia), but no effect of form (milled vs whole chia). 

In each case chia reduced bloo glucose iAUCs by 20, 28 and 35% respectively.

Once again there is proof that the decision on whether to eat whole chia seed or milled chia seed should be decided on consumer preference, and not be based on myths or false claims.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Whole Chia Seed or Milled Chia Seed?

There is increasing discussion about the benefits of whole chia seed, compared to milled chia seed.

Some argue that whole chia seed will simply pass through the body leaving you with little to no benefit with all the components simply excreted.

This is definitely the case for flaxseed since it has a very hard seed coat. Unless the seed is opened, sprouted, cooked etc. and the coat opened, it will pass through the body.

Chia seed, on the other hand, has a soft seed coat. The omega3 fatty acid in the seed being protected by the natural antioxidants it contains, rather than being protected by a hard seed coat, as in the case of flaxseed.

Now some people have said I looked in the toilet and saw the seeds.  No that is not what they are seeing, rather it is the seed coat which is the insoluble part of the seed.  If one were to carefully examine the remains it would be a hollow incomplete shell.

In theory it would make sense that opening the seed would expose more of the inside of the seed to the stomach so that the benefits could be gained.  It may be true that it might act a bit faster, but that is about it.

Why do I say the seeds do not need to be milled to be taken advantage of? 

There are just way too many people that have consumed only whole chia seeds and have seen remarkable changes in cholesterol, weight loss, less joint pain, lessened glycemic spikes, more energy, etc.  I doubt these people are making up their unsolicited stories to please the world.  They are simply telling the world how well whole chia seed has helped them.