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.