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The Many Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

By Ritamarie Loscalzo

chia seeds in glass jar and on measuring aluminum tablespoon with a vintage drawer cabinet in background

jar and tablespoon of chia seeds

 

There’s a very special food I’ve been recommending to my patients and students for many years that’s seen a sudden popularity over the past few years.

In fact, the secret of this seed’s power has created a number of companies that are selling it at an exorbitant price and claiming it as the super food that is the answer to all medical problems.

Here’s a quote from a newsletter by a popular N.M.D.  who calls himself “America’s Natural Doctor”.

“Unbelievable as it sounds, Dr. Spreen has discovered a stunning secret that can transform ANY food — even decadent treats like fresh-baked brownies — into a nutritional goldmine that rivals superfoods like salmon, broccoli, and blueberries.

But as perfect as this food is, news about its amazing potential simply hasn’t become public…At least, not yet.”

He then sends the reader to a video which goes on and on about a magic seed that sounds too good to be true.

I have a really hard time with this kind of advertising!

The magic food turns out to be Chia seed, salvia hispanica. 

Dr. Spreen discovered it?  It’s not public?  Where have these guys been?

Let me shed some light on the truth here…

  1. I’ve been teaching about the “magic” of chia seeds for at least 8 years now, long before they became popular.
  2. There are dozens of books on Kindle about chia seeds.
  3.  There are dozens of retailers online and hundreds in brick and mortar businesses that sell chia seeds.  This page on Amazon alone shows thousands of results for dozens of brands Amazon’s Search Results Page for Chia
  4. There’s a MLM that sells Chia for $70 per pound!  While I am all for getting the word out, I have a hard time with the concept of overcharging people.
  5. The chia that the video I referred to above is a promotion for a company that sells it for $30 per pound.  You can find it on Amazon for as little as $9 per pound!

I love chia seeds and I have seen so many wonderful results when adding chia seeds to the diet.

In fact, listening to that video was good for one thing…it reminded me to recommend that people incorporate a tablespoon or two of chia with each meal.

So what’s so magical about chia?

Organic Dry Chia SeedsMost people have heard about Chia seeds in relation to the Chia Pets that were popular back in the 90’s.  Long before the advent of chia pets, the use of chia as food has been dated as far back as 3500 B.C., especially in Mexico, where chia was ground for flour, used in medicines and even pressed for oils.

Chia seeds come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family.

When chia seeds are mixed with water, they form a gelatinous substance. This same substance is believed to form in your stomach when you eat them. The coating this makes it harder for carbohydrates to be digested which in turn slows down the process of transforming carbs into starch and ultimately sugar.

Thus chia seeds are perfect for helping diabetics and insulin resistant people to manage their blood sugars quite well.

Chia can hold up to 12 times its weight in water.  This makes it the perfect food for making puddings and porridge.  It also helps your body to hold on to water and moisture inside, thus strengthening your electrolyte and mineral status and helping you to stay hydrated.

Benefits of chia include:

  • A rich source of omega-3 fatty acids
  • A favorable .3 to 1 ratio of Omega 6 to omega 3 fats. Research shows that when you eat foods with more omega 6 fats than omega 3 fats, you are much more prone to inflammation, which causes pain and disease.
  • An excellent source of calcium–18% of the recommended daily intake for calcium
  • Excellent source of phosphorus, containing 27% of your daily value. Phosphorus is used by the body to synthesize protein for cell and tissue growth and repair.
  • High in fiber content. An ounce of chia has about 11 grams of soluble fiber, about a third of an adult’ daily requirement.
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Manganese 30% of your recommended intake
  • Great source of protein–4.4 grams of protein in 1 ounce
  • Fight belly fat by controlling insulin resistance and blood sugar
  • Curb appetite by filling you up
  • Improves Heart Health by controlling blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides
  • Chia seeds are known to contribute to strength and endurance.  In the popular book, Born to Run, author Christopher McDougall, reveals that chia seed is the secret food of the powerful runners of the Tumahumara tribe in South America.  They make a drink called Chia Fresca, made with 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 12 ounces of water, lemon or lime juice and a splash of honey.
  • Chia has long been regarded as a superfood for athletes.  Several studies with long distance runners and triathletes have shown superior performance in the groups that ate chia seeds over the groups that did not.

 

Chia seeds in waterThe uses of chia are almost limitless.

Breads, crackers, puddings and sprouts are just a few ways to use chia seeds.

Basic Chia Gel Recipe: You can make a gel from the chia seeds by placing 1 cup of chia and 5-6 cups of water in a bowl and allowing it to sit for several hours or overnight until all the water has been absorbed and a thick gel is formed.  This gel can be used as the basis for pudding, added to smoothies or salad dressings or made into dehydrated crackers or crisps.  It can also be used to make energizing beverages, similar to the Tumahumarra Chia Fresca.

Chia seeds are available as white seeds or black seeds. There is no significant nutritional difference between the colors.  The black ones are more commonly available.

Chia seeds are also sold as Salba, Ben Via Gold and Milo, at a much higher price.  These are identical to chia seeds, although the manufacturers will tell you that their seeds are nutritionally superior.  However, even if they do have slightly higher nutrient contents, it does not justify the exorbitant price, ranging from $30 to $70 per pound.

NOTE: When purchasing chia, be sure you are getting organic or a very high agricultural standard chia. Those used for the Chia Pets, are generally loaded with pesticides and not suitable for consumption.

I use chia seeds in what I teach in my Correcting Adrenal fatigue and exhaustion (CAFÉ)  program the “Breakfast of Champions”.  When you start your day with chia and greens, you stabilize your hormones, especially cortisol, leptin and insulin, leaving you energized and focused all day long.

Add a tablespoon or two of chia seeds to lunch and as part of a salad dressing, dip or soup.

Raspberry and Chia Seed BeverageThe sky’s the limit!

My Adrenal Restoration Recipe Guide in CAFÉ is loaded with chia recipes.

Give it a try.  Add chia to your breakfast, lunch and dinner for a week and report back how you feel.

Speaking of CAFE, I thought I would mention more about it here. You will receive many ways to use the versatile and healthy chia seeds in the 50-page recipe guide that comes with the course. Delicious mouth-watering recipes are not the only reason I created CAFE.

Because adrenal burnout is such an epidemic, I’ve created a brand new 5-part program to correct and heal your adrenal glands in as short of time as possible. The good news is that even though it has probably taken years to wear out your adrenal glands, it doesn’t have to take years to restore them.

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 4.39.21 PMThat is why I created CAFE (Correcting Adrenal Fatigue and Exhaustion). You can begin using the tips I shared above today. Incorporate chia whenever and where ever you can, to enjoy its many health benefits.

However, if you would like to take more permanent and targeted actions to correct your adrenals in a proven step-by-step system, I highly encourage you to do your adrenals a huge favor and sign up for my CAFE Program. When you take care of your adrenals, they take care of you in return. You can take your life back.

Enter the CAFE

My wish for you is to have the vibrant health and energy to enjoy the life that you deserve!

With love and appreciation,

ritamarie-signature

Comment below with your favorite chia recipes! 

 

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Medical Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo, drritamarie.com, and the experts who have contributed. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.

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9 Comments

  1. 5 multi-purpose herbs to never leave home without | on October 16, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    […] and make a drink each day containing herbs, greens powder and protein powder.  I also take along chia seeds, because they are so versatile and pack a nutrition […]

  2. […] chia and hemp seeds, green leafy vegetables and sea vegetables also contain anti-inflammatory fats, and […]

  3. Tefft on June 16, 2014 at 1:51 am

    whoa, thanks very much for posting this! It is gonna be so helpful when I research Chia Seeds at the grocery store! Very Astonishing!

  4. glenda ward on November 26, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Good day Where would I be able to buy Good Chia for my family in South Africa. and it must be organic – If there is no agent in South Africa I would be interest to promote.
    regards
    Glenda Ward

    • Vibrant Living Care Team on November 26, 2014 at 11:22 am

      Hi Glenda,

      Thanks for writing! While I can’t speak to South African availability, I know these are two brands of chia seeds that Dr. Ritamarie recommends. Perhaps you could search online for these or have them shipped?

      Navitas Naturals Raw Chia Seeds: https://drritamarie.com/wp-clone/go/NNChiaSeeds
      Ultimate Superfoods Chia Seeds: https://drritamarie.com/wp-clone/go/UltSupChia16

      Wishing you Vibrant Health!
      Stacey Terry
      Dr. Ritamarie Care Team

  5. Dessert: Making it Rich Without Oil | on August 28, 2015 at 11:40 am

    […] cup chia […]

  6. Recipe: Superfood Brownies • Vibrant Living Blog on January 22, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    […] chia gel by soaking 1/4 cup chia seeds in 1-1/2 cups water overnight, or at least until the seeds soak up […]

  7. Iris Webb on January 11, 2017 at 3:18 am

    Great Tips! Didn’t know chia seeds a lot of benefits. Lovely to know this. Thanks Ritamarie. Your blog is amazing.

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