Fit Find | Ground Chia Seeds

Ground Chia SeedChia seeds? If you’re having sudden flashbacks of your old Chia Pet® from the 1980’s and you’re impulsively singing “Ch-ch-ch-chia!” right now, you’re probably not alone. Believe it or not, we’re talking about the same ‘chia’ but… instead of watching the seeds sprout into “animal fur”, we’re eating them!

Chia seeds, like flax seeds, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (2.3 grams ALA per two tablespoons). These omega-3’s increase the production of anti-inflammatory substances that help prevent “cell adhesion molecules” from causing plaque buildup in your arteries.

These little seeds also pack in a good amount of B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc. They’re small (little ovals) and typically black in color. To receive the benefits of the fatty acids, they need to be hydrated before eating them. These seeds can soak up to 12 times their weight in liquid and when soaked, they form a gelatinous texture which make them an excellent binding agent in baking.

chia-seed-smoothie_adobestock_77942716_croppedThese nutritious seeds now come finely ground to a powder which make them easy to blend in your yogurt, cereal, smoothies, salads, and soups. And like ground flaxseeds, they’re great in baked goods too. Spectrum® Ground Chia Seeds have been cold milled. Since Omega-3 fats are sensitive to heat, the cold milling process is a plus. On that note, be sure to store your seeds in the freezer or refrigerator to extend their shelf life because these seeds are also sensitive to oxygen (air) and light. Oxidation will affect the nutritional value of the healthy fats as well as cause them to go rancid.

*I especially like the Spectrum brand for chia and flaxseeds. They are packed in a light protective pouch and sealed airtight which is probably why they contain more omega-3’s than other brands. NEVER buy your seeds from self-serve bins or barrels in the grocery store!

Apple c heart symbol_40x54Fit Tip: You can substitute ground chia seeds (or ground flaxseeds) for eggs in recipes if you’re a vegan — or like me, sometimes you’re just out of eggs! Simply mix 3 tablespoons of water with one tablespoon of ground chia seeds (3:1 ratio) for every large egg. After stirring together, let the mixture sit for five minutes, then add it to your recipe.

Fit Find | NuttZo™ Seven Nut & Seed Butter

If you’re looking for a natural nut butter to spread on your favorite PB&J, here’s one I’m absolutely crazy about: Nuttzo™ Seven Nut & Seed Butter ‘Power Fuel’. It’s not only yummy, but offers the benefits of seven different nuts and seeds. You can get it either crunchy or smooth. Spread it on sliced bananas and apples too for a healthy snack with staying power.

NOTE: Nut phytonutrients (plant nutrients) have been shown to help fight free-radical damage, prevent inflammation, and lower blood cholesterol. See ♥ Daily Dose | What’s Your Nut I.Q.?.

Nuttzo_Power Fuel-275x487Nut oils tend to separate from the solids in natural nut butters like NuttZo™ since they aren’t made with unhealthy hydrogenated vegetable oils which prevent separation. My longstanding tip to make mixing easier has been to place the jar upside down until ready to open and stir. Nuttzo already has that figured out and is sold upside down!

Ingredients: organic cashews, organic almonds, organic brazil nuts, organic flax seeds, organic hazelnuts, organic chia seeds, organic pumpkin seeds, sea salt. No added sugar or oil.

One serving (2 Tbsp) contains a whopping 975 mg of omega-3 fatty acids (alpha linolenic). You want to try to get in 1,000 to 1,600 mg of omega-3’s per day.

Eat this Food EVERY Day

Puppy eating dog foodTake a tip from your vet. Dogs are eating this wonder food every day, why not you? Wouldn’t you also like a soft, glossy coat and healthy skin? This superseed is known for its immune system benefits and  anti-inflammatory properties.  What is it? It’s ground flaxseed.

Per a study published in the American Journal of Physiology¹, flaxseed is actually considered a ‘functional food’.  That is, it:

  • Has physiological benefits and/or
  • Reduces the risk of chronic disease
  • Has basic nutritional effects

Dietary flaxseed is a rich source of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) and lignans which may help:

Be sure the flaxseed is ground (not whole) to receive the health benefits.
Be sure the flaxseed is ground (not whole) to receive the health benefits.

1. Decrease inflammation by blocking the release of some pro-inflammatory agents. Studies show atherosclerotic plaque regression can occur when inflammation is inhibited. Once plaque regression occurs, your arterial walls can heal and are better able to open and relax (necessary for healthy heart function). See “Inflammation | Foods that Heal and Harm“.

2. Decrease total cholesterol by 7% and LDL levels or “bad” cholesterol by 10%. (Per a study of menopausal women² that consumed 4 tablespoons of ground flaxseed each day for three months.)

Atherosclerosis disease - plague blocking blood flow3. Reduce atherosclerotic plaque buildup by up to 75%. Arteries harden when plaque is deposited in the arteries (atherosclerosis). Some studies suggest that flaxseed omega-3’s keep white blood cells from sticking to the inner lining of the blood vessels.    Continue reading “Eat this Food EVERY Day”

Inflammation | Fish-Free Omega-3’s

Cat fish and mouse isolated on white background“Eat more fish.” How many times have you heard those three words? Well, what if you don’t like fish? Or you’re a vegetarian? No worries. There is a fish-free omega-3 alternative, so you can leave the fish to those who love it.

A third type of omega-3 is found in plant oils  and is known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). The body partially converts ALA to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), that is, the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish.

It’s not known if vegetable and fish omega-3’s are equally beneficial, but nevertheless, these fatty acids are essential for good health and most Americans don’t get enough of either type. Aim for at least one rich source of omega-3’s every day. Recommended amount: at least 7 to 11 grams of omega-3’s per week which equates to 1 to 1.6 grams per day. Continue reading “Inflammation | Fish-Free Omega-3’s”

Inflammation | Sorting Out the Omega-3’s

Plant-based and animal sources of Omega-3 acidsOmega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats and consist of three types: EPA, DHA and ALA. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are primarily found in certain kinds of fish. Another type of omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid  (ALA), is found in plants.

Certain types of fish are rich in EPA and DHA. These essential polyunsaturated fats reduce C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6, two inflammatory proteins in your body. A six-month study demonstrated that consuming 960 mg/day of EPA and 600 mg/day of DHA lowered CRP.¹

To lower your risk of mercury exposure from eating fish, be sure to choose the right fish*.

Swordfish_dollarphotoclub_75683664*Avoid larger, longer-living fish, such as shark and swordfish, as they tend to accumulate more mercury than the smaller fish like sardines, sole, and trout.

Per Consumer Reports, a 6-oz. serving of:

  • Salmon contains 4 mcg of mercury
  • Canned albacore tuna contains 60 mcg 
  • Swordfish contains 170 mcg 

Oily fish high in omega-3 fatty acids include:

How much: At least 3 to 4 ounces of fish, twice a week

Apple c heart symbol_40x54Fit Tip: If you don’t eat fish, you can actually drink it in the form of orange juice! Tropicana® Orange Juice Pure Premium Healthy Heart Orange Juice is fortified with actual fish (tilapia, sardine and anchovy). Also, grass-fed beef  is often higher in omega-3 fatty acids than conventional beef due to their diet of grass and foraged foods versus grains, such as corn.

Source:
¹Fish oil supplementation lowers C-reactive protein levels independent of triglyceride reduction in patients with end-stage renal disease. Nutrition Clinical Practice. 2009.

 Stay tuned! Up next… “Fish-Free Omega-3’s