Nuts and seeds have always been a staple food of homo sapiens, until 20th century There are many different types of fats; polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, hydrogenated, saturated and trans fat. The body requires good fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated) in order to… phobia kicked in. In case you didn’t know there’s never been any evidence that eating nuts or seeds is anything but positively good for you. Today’s study of 25 high quality trials in the Archives of Internal Medicine[2010;170:821-827], confirms that eating 67 grams a day, a small handful, have lower cholesterol with more HDL and less LDL, lower triglycerides (blood fats) and consequently a reduction in risk for cardiovascular disease.
Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of antioxidants such as What it does: Acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage, including against cancer. Helps body use oxygen, preventing blood clots, thrombosis, atherosclerosis. Improves wound… and Plant sterols are compounds similar to cholesterol which occur in plants. They can help to prevent cholesterol being absorbed in the body…. and soluble fibres. Colder climate nuts and seeds are also rich sources of omega 3 fats. Walnut, flax and chia seeds are the best in this regard. They are also abundant in minerals. Almonds and sesame seeds, for example, are especially high in What it does: Promotes a healthy heart, clots blood, promotes healthy nerves, contracts muscles, improves skin, bone and dental health, relieves aching muscles and bones,…, while pumpkin seeds are a superb source of What it does: Strengthens bones and teeth, promotes healthy muscles by helping them to relax, also important for PMS, important for heart muscles and nervous…. All nuts and seeds are rich in What it does: Component of over 200 enzymes in the body, essential for growth, important for healing, controls hormones, aids ability to cope with stress…. But which is the best all rounder? The answer is chia seeds, a staple food of Meso-America, going back to pre-BC, but this incredible food was actively discouraged by the Spanish conquistadores since it was virtually worshipped, much to the chagrin of the Christian conquerors and thus fell foul to the equivalent of 16th century ‘novel food’ act. So, if you haven’t heard of them now you know why. But chis seeds are making a comeback.
Chia seeds are nutritionally superior to flax in that they are highly in omega 3, antioxidants , calcium and magnesium, much lower in sodium and, like flax, a very good source of Proteins are large molecules consisting of chains of amino acids. Proteins are essential nutrients for the human body – they are a building block of…, as well as soluble Fibre is an important part of a balanced diet. There are two type of fibre; soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fibre helps your bowel to pass…. Chia oil is 64% alpha linolenic acid (omega 3) and 19% linoleic acid (omega 6), compared to flax which is 58% omega 3 and 15% omega 6. In truth they are both excellent sources of omega 3 but chia definitely has the edge on minerals providing 631mg of calcium and 466mg of magnesium per 100 gram (flax is 199mg of calcium and 362mg of magnesium). I have a 15 gram serving every day (a heaped dessertspoon) which is giving me 100mg of calcium and 70mg of magnesium. That’s a really decent amount. Chia is also very low in sodium (19mg versus 34mg per 100g in flax) and very high in fibre, as is flax. Both provide soluble fibres. Both are high in protein.
Chia is about 20% protein, much higher than grains, including quinoa. Rice is only 7% while oats is pretty much the best grain in this regard with 17% protein. Flax has some disadvantages too which stopped it becoming a staple food. Historically it was used more for clothing and for oil. Unlike Chia is has quite a high level of anti-nutrients such as glycosides, trypsin inhibitors, phytic acid and others. I don’t want to put you off eating flax but these anti-nutrients don’t make it the ideal food in large quantities while you could literally live off chia. Chia, being very high in antioxidants, also stores for longer. If you’ve never tried Chia it has a much nicer, slightly nutty flavour than flax and tastes good on its own, added to cereal, or on salads, soups our in bread or cakes. It hasn’t quite hit the health food stores yet but Totally Nourish sell both ground and unground seeds in a sealed bag by mail order. They are tiny, like sesame, but they have a soft outer shell so there’s no need to grind them to to get out the all the goodness. If you put them on cereal their soluble fibres absorb moisture, much like oats. You can also use ground Chia flour for baking. You can buy them milled or whole. You can find out more here on this website – www.drcoateschia.com.