New Castle News

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July 18, 2013

Lori Brothers: Good health, as well as ceramic pet ‘hair,’ can sprout from Chia

NEW CASTLE — Nutrition experts are now pointing to a little seed — one that has been better known since the 1980s as a quirky house plant — as the “newest” super food.

Remember the Chia Pet? Still available today, the variety of popular clay figures, grows the illusion of hair as the plants sprout when the chia seed paste is watered.

FYI, about 500,000 Chia Pets are sold every year in the U.S. as novelties or house plants!

However, now there’s evidence that health can spring from these tiny little seeds as well. The chia seed is capable of igniting a powerful boost toward good health. A relative of mint, chia has been grown and used by Native American cultures in the U.S. and many parts of Mexico for centuries.

A one-ounce serving of chia seeds contains 9 grams of plant-based fat, 5 milligrams of sodium, 11 grams of dietary fiber and 4 grams of protein, according to the USDA.

The seeds also have 18 percent of the recommended daily intake of calcium, 27 percent phospherous and 30 percent maganese. Pow!

The benefits continue. Chia seeds contain a complete plant-based protein, fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, anti-oxidants and minerals (magnesium and potassium).

The recommendation is to eat 1 to 2 teaspoons daily, adding them to any food or liquid. It’s that simple.

Note that the Omega-3 oils in chia seeds, by weight, deliver more healing benefits than salmon. That is a stat worth noting.

The inclusion of these essential fatty acids to your diet will also help you to lose weight. Studies showed that dieters who included omega-3 (from any source) lost 2 pounds more monthly than those who did not.

The chia seed helps dieters succeed because it expands when mixed into liquid, and creates a gel around each seed, which acts as a thickener keeping them feeling full for hours.

Cravings are curbed due to this plumping affect, while increasing the amount of vitamins and minerals. This fills not only the tummy but vitamin and mineral recommendations also.

Chia may be an excellent addition to your daily diet if you have diabetes, or need to regulate your blood sugar levels. Due to the gelling action when met with moisture, both the soluble and non-soluble fiber of the seeds help to slow the conversion of starches to sugar. This creates a constant delivery of energy to get you through your day without feeling lulls or a dip in blood sugar.

Anyone with diverticulitis, diverticulosis, or bowel irregularity will gain from the high fiber content of chia seeds. The outside of the seed is protected by the insoluble fiber, which is unable to be digested and helps food to move smoothly through the digestive process. The gel coating from hydrated seeds keeps the colon moist to also move food along the digestive track.

But wait, there’s more.

The chia’s ability to deliver high amounts of anti-oxidants gives them trumping power over other, similar seeds such as sesame or flax. While other seeds tend to become rancid easily, chia seeds can be stored at room temperature, ready to eat for up to two full years due to the high amount of antioxidants they contain. Amazing!

You don’t have to overdo it. We don’t want to flirt with colon disaster. Remember just 1 to 2 teaspoons per day will give you all of these benefits. That’s what I call “S-U-P-E-R.”

Lettuce Wraps

Just for fun, cut out the bun!

Ingredients:

  • 2 very ripe avocados
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 2 tbsp yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • kernels from one ear raw or cooked corn
  • 2 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 6-8 large romaine lettuce leaves

Preparation:

In a medium sized bowl, mash the avocado.

Add remaining ingredients and stir until well mixed.

Spread 2-3 tablespoons of this mixture onto lettuce leaves and wrap. Enjoy!

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