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Category Archives: Omega-3

Try Chia Seeds for Big Nutrition in a Small Package

By Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD

If you’re seeking an easy way to add protein, fiber, healthy fat, and minerals to your diet, look no further than the humble chia seed. The nutritional numbers support their reputation as a healthful addition to the diet. One ounce of chia seeds—about three tablespoons—contains 140 calories, plus:

11 grams of fiber
180 mg of calcium
4 grams of protein
9 grams of fat

With this much fiber and calcium, chia seeds provide more than a third of your daily fiber needs and nearly 20% of your daily calcium needs in a single serving. The 4 grams of hunger-quashing protein add to chia’s nutritional offerings.
Fat is where it’s at

Our bodies do not make omega-3 fats, so we must get them from food. And having more omega-3s in the diet is linked with good health, and with lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer. This is where chia seeds come into the picture: more than half of the fat in chia seeds is alpha-linolenic acid, a beneficial, omega-3 fat.
Chewing (or sipping) on chia

You’ll find chia seeds in the bulk section of your natural grocery store, and in the health food section of your regular supermarket. If you’re ready to give chia seeds a try, there’s no shortage of creative ways to work them into your diet. Chia seeds are tasteless, and slip into other foods and beverages easily without altering flavor.

Get soaked. Place a large spoonful of chia seeds into a small glass and cover with water. Let stand for 20 minutes; they will form a gel. Add the chia seed-gel mixture to smoothies, yogurt, or oatmeal. It’s okay to soak seeds over night, so they will be ready for breakfast.
Drink up. Toss a spoonful of chia seeds into your water bottle or add them to juice. You won’t taste them and they are so tiny you may not even notice them in the liquid.
Cook. Add chia seeds to soups, stews, and casseroles, as a thickener.
Bake. Process chia seeds in a coffee bean grinder and mix with flour, milk, eggs, mashed banana, and cinnamon to make pancakes. Add chia seeds to the batter or dough when making muffins, bread, or other baked goods.
Surf for ideas. Perform a quick internet search of “chia seed recipes.” You will find hundreds of additional ideas, tips, recipes, and hints for incorporating chia seeds into your food and drinks.
Call your doctor. If you have digestive health issues, such as diverticulitis or inflammatory bowel disease, do not add chia seeds without first talking to your healthcare provider. While these tiny seeds improve digestive health for many, they may not be right for people with existing digestive conditions.

Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD, an author, speaker, and internationally recognized expert in chronic disease prevention, epidemiology, and nutrition, has taught medical, nursing, public health, and alternative medicine coursework. She has delivered over 150 invited lectures to health professionals and consumers and is the creator of a nutrition website acclaimed by the New York Times and Time magazine. Suzanne received her training in epidemiology and nutrition at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health at Ann Arbor.

Copyright © 2012 Aisle7. All rights reserved. http://www.Aisle7.net

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Posted by on February 23, 2012 in Chia, Chia Seeds, Diet, Fiber, Nutrition, Omega-3, Protein

 

Once Again, Fish Fats Shown to Fight Heart Disease

Healthnotes Newswire – By Maureen Williams, ND

More and more, inflammation has been implicated as the culprit in heart and blood vessel diseases, making anti-inflammatory agents such as the omega-3 fats found in fish of interest to researchers. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids have been shown to play an important role in supporting cardiovascular health, and a new study published in Vascular Pharmacology now reports that lower-than-normal levels of omega-3s were found in people who have suffered vision loss and brain damage as a result of disease in the artery that carries blood from the body to the head and neck (the carotid artery).

 

 

Plaques—not good for the arteries

Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, is characterized by plaque formation in the artery walls. These plaques are thought to be the result of cholesterol buildup, oxidative damage, and inflammation.

The cap of an atherosclerotic plaque can break away from the vessel wall, travel in the blood, and become lodged in a smaller artery: traveling plaques within the coronary arteries can cause a heart attack. Breakaway plaques from the carotid arteries tend to block small arteries in the brain, leading to vision loss, a condition that sometimes precedes a stroke, known as transient ischemic attack, or a stroke.

Low omega-3s associated with more symptoms

Carotid artery plaques from 41 people having surgery to have them removed were analyzed for signs of inflammation and for their fatty acid makeup. Plaques from people with symptoms of vision loss, transient ischemic attack, or stroke, had a higher degree of inflammation and lower levels of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), the two major omega-3 fatty acids from fish, than plaques from people with no symptoms. Levels of omega-6 fatty acids, which are generally considered to be inflammatory, were the same in symptomatic and asymptomatic people.

“Recommendations have previously been made regarding the amount of omega-3 content which may prove to be beneficial for cardiac protection, especially in those at risk,” the study’s authors said.

More might be the answer

These current results suggest that omega-3 fatty acids from fish might prevent stroke, adding to the evidence from a number of previous studies showing that omega-3 fatty acid consumption prevents cardiovascular disease. Here are some ways to get more in your diet:

• Follow the advice of the American Heart Association: eat two 3-ounce servings of fatty fish per week. These include salmon, tuna, herring, and mackerel.

• Include plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids such as non-defatted flax meal, walnuts, and oils from soy, canola, walnut, and flaxseed. These foods can increase levels of the beneficial EPA, and, unlike fish, are generally free of heavy metals and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl).

• If you have heart disease or a high risk of heart disease, consider taking a daily fish oil supplement that provides 1 to 1.8 grams of omega-3 fatty acids.

(Vascul Pharmacol 2009; doi:10.1016/j.vph.2009.08.003)
Maureen Williams, ND, received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Seattle, WA. She has a private practice on Cortes Island in British Columbia, Canada, and has done extensive work with traditional herbal medicine in Guatemala and Honduras. Dr. Williams is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire.

Copyright © 2010 Aisle7. All rights reserved. http://www.Aisle7.net

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Posted by on December 28, 2010 in Food, Health, Omega-3

 

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