5 Reasons Why Chia Seeds Are An Amazing Superfood

Chia seeds are tiny black seeds from the plant Salvia Hispanica which is native to South America.

As published on Zhou Nutrition website.

“Chia” means strength and has long been known for its energy producing qualities. Historically, the Mayan and Aztec cultures used chia seeds for energy and endurance during long distance running or even while fighting battles.

Recent research is finding even more amazing benefits to this superfood. They are extremely nutrient dense and a 2 Tablespoon serving contains:

  • Dietary fiber (11g – 42% recommended daily value)
  • Protein (4.4g – 9% RDV)
  • Omega-3 fatty acids (5 grams)
  • Omega-6 fatty acids (1.6 grams)
  • Calcium (77 mg – 18% RDV)
  • Phosphorus (265 mg – 30% RDV)
  • Magnesium (24% RDV)
  • Manganese (up to 50% RDV)
  • Zinc (1.0 mg – 7% RDV)

All of these nutrients and in only 130 calories!

Some Health Benefits Which Have Been Seen With Chia Seeds Are:

High in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight free radicals in the body, which contribute to premature aging and diseases such as cancer. In fact, studies have shown the antioxidant levels in chia seeds fight up to 70% of free radical damage.

Weight Loss

Chia seeds can aid in weight loss with help from the high fiber and protein found in them. They can absorb up to 10X their own weight in water, which will aid in digestion and keep you feeling fuller longer. This can also help with reducing sugar cravings. Additionally, chia seeds rank as one of the top plant food sources for protein, which helps in balancing blood sugar levels, burning fat, and building lean muscle.

High in Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Chia seeds are high in ALA (Alpha Linolenic Acid), which is a form of Omega 3 fatty acids. This particular fatty acid has been shown to prevent and decrease tumor growth in specific cancers, such as breast and cervical.

Lower Risk of Heart Disease and Type 2 Diabetes

The nutrient density of chia seeds fight inflammation in the body and assist in reversing oxidative stress. This along with the high levels of omega 3’s protect the heart by reducing risk of atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and bad cholesterol.

Additionally, these same factors, reduce the risk of developing metabolic disorders like dyslipidemia (excessive fat in the blood) and insulin resistance. These are two primary factors in developing Type 2 Diabetes.

Stronger Bones

Due to the high levels of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, chia seeds are an excellent super food to help boost strong, healthy bones.

My Favorite Quick and Easy Chia Seed Recipe

  • 1 cup Almond Milk
  • ¼ cup Chia Seed
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons honey or maple syrup (or to taste)
  • 1 pint strawberries chopped and hulled
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)

Whisk the first four ingredients together in a bowl and let chill in refrigerator overnight. In the morning add chopped strawberries. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired. Enjoy!

References:
Chicco, AG, et. al, Dietary chia seed (Salvia hispanica L.) rich in alpha-linolenic acid improves adiposity and normalises hypertriacylglycerolaemia and insulin resistance in dyslipaemic rats, Br J Nutr. 2009 Jan;101(1):41-50
Deshpande, R. et.al, Alpha-linolenic acid regulates the growth of breast and cervical cancer cell lines through regulation of NO release and induction of lipid peroxidation, Journal of Molecular Biology
Martinez-Cruz, O, et. al, Phytochemical profile and nutraceutical potential of chia seeds (Salvia hispanica L.) by ultra high performance liquid chromatography., J Chromatogr A. 2014 Jun 13;1346:43-8

 

 

Grab your FREE Menu Plan when you sign up for our Newsletter to keep you updated on current events and research!

* indicates required
Email Format
fish oil, fatty acids, autism

Remarkable Healing Benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acids

As published on Zhou Nutrition Website.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids Health Benefits and How to Supplement Properly

What is really behind all the hype of Omega 3? What is the difference in Omega 3, 6, and 9? Are there really health benefits to supplementing with Omega 3?

Let’s start by differentiating between the types of Omegas.

Both Omega 3 and Omega 6 are essential fatty acids, meaning your body cannot make them on its own so they must be found in your diet. Omega 9 fatty acids, on the other hand, are able to be produced in the body.

Omega-6 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid that are found very abundantly in the American diet. Omega 6 is present in seeds, refined oils, and most processed foods. The body also makes hormones, known as eicosanoids, from Omega 6 fatty acids. These eicosanoids produced from Omega 6 are pro-inflammatory and vasoconstrictors (constricting blood vessels).

While these fatty acids are essential for brain function, growth and development, too much can be detrimental to health. The standard American diet has an approximate ratio of 20:1 of Omega 6 to Omega 3. This ratio should be 2:1.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids Health Benefits and How to Supplement ProperlyThere are fewer sources in modern diets which contain Omega 3. The best and most bioavailable sources are fish oils; also, walnuts, flax seeds and oils are good plant sources but requires the body to convert them to their usable sources. There are two types of Omega 3 that the body needs; eicosapentaenoic acid, called EPA and docosahexaenoic or DHA. These omega 3s also create specific hormones in the body but in contrast to Omega 6, the omega 3 hormones are anti-inflammatory and can control immune function, blood clotting and cell growth.

The imbalance of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids are believed to be contributed to the majority of inflammatory diseases including, heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, autoimmune diseases and cancer.

What are some health benefits of adding more Omega 3 to your diet?

1. Cardiovascular Protection

Studies have shown Omega 3’s to reduce risk of heart attack, cardiac death and sudden death associated with cardiovascular disease. Studies have also shown a lowering of cholesterol and triglyceride levels associated with Omega 3 supplementation. Normalizing coronary blood flow and heart rate are also seen.

2. Improvement in behaviors associated with ADHD and Autism

Research has revealed an improvement in behaviors such as hyperactivity, conduct problems, anxiety, and temper tantrums with adequate omega 3 levels. Several studies have shown improvements with the use of omega-3 fatty acids in children with ADD, autism, and similar disorders.

3. Reducing Overall/ Systemic Inflammation—Lowering risk of Chronic Disease

Increased inflammatory markers in blood work increase the risk of chronic inflammatory conditions such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, heart disease and diabetes. Omega 3’s have been shown in studies to decrease these inflammatory markers, therefore decreasing systemic inflammation.

4. Improve Symptoms of Arthritis

Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce joint inflammation and tenderness and can even reduce the need for NSAIDS and corticosteroid drugs in rheumatoid arthritis.

5. Healthier Skin and Hair

EPA helps to regulate oil production for skin and hair. Dry, flaky skin can benefit greatly from the addition of Omega 3’s in the diet. Studies have also shown improvements in skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis with supplementation.

6. Improves Cognition

There are many studies which suggest that a reduction of Omega 3 fatty acids can lead to cognitive decline and even possibly Alzheimer’s. Memory has been shown to improve significantly with supplementation of Omega 3, specifically DHA. The brain needs fatty acids!

To try and balance the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 more closely, limit the amount of refined vegetable oils and choose olive oil or coconut oil instead. Also, add in fatty fish, walnuts, flax seeds and eggs from free-range chickens. Supplementation of fish oils are also very beneficial. The recommended dose would be 700 to 1,000 mg of EPA and 200 to 500 mg of DHA daily. Supplementation has been used at one to two grams daily to help alleviate behaviors of ADHD and autism in children, however, consult your pediatrician first.

Comment below if you’ve had any significant improvement from adding Omega 3’s to your diet!

References:
Stevens, L.J., et al., Omega-3 fatty acids in boys with behavior, learning, and health problems. Physiol Behav1996. 59(4-5): p. 915-20
Sinn, N., J. Bryan, and C. Wilson, Cognitive effects of polyunsaturated fatty acids in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms: a randomised controlled trial. Prostaglandins LeukotEssent Fatty Acids , 2008. 78(4-5): p. 311-26.
PC, Calder. “N-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids And Inflammation: From Molecular Biology To The Clinic. 2003 Apr;38(4):343-52. – Pubmed – NCBI”. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
JS, Ong. “Statin Alternatives Or Just Placebo: An Objective Review Of Omega-3, Red Yeast Rice And Garlic In Cardiovascular Therapeutics.Chin Med J (Engl). 2008 Aug 20;121(16):1588-94. PMID: 18982874 – Pubmed – NCBI”..
vanGelder BM, et al. “Fish Consumption, N-3 Fatty Acids, And Subsequent 5-Y Cognitive Decline In Elderly Men: The Zutphen Elderly Study. – Pubmed – NCBI”. nlm.nih.gov. Am J ClinNutr. 2007 Apr;85(4):1142-7. PMID: 17413117
Galarraga B, et al. “Cod Liver Oil (N-3 Fatty Acids) As An Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug Sparing Agent In Rheumatoid Arthritis. – Pubmed – NCBI”. nlm.nih.gov. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2008 May;47(5):665-9. Epub 2008 Mar 24. PMID: 18362100
Millsop, JW, et.al, Diet and psoriasis, part III: role of nutritional supplements, J Am AcadDermatol. 2014 Sep;71(3):561-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2014.03.016. Epub 2014 Apr 26

Grab your FREE Menu Plan when you sign up for our Newsletter to keep you updated on current events and research!

* indicates required
Email Format