I’ve been fielding a lot of questions lately in regards to the health benefits of chia seeds and more importantly what are chia seeds? Well, if your looking for a great way to boost your energy and add some protein to your diet, or boost your omega 3 intake, look no further.
Chia seeds come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family. Salvia hispanica seed is often sold under its common name “chia” as well as several trademarked names.
Its origin is believed to be in Central America where the seed was a staple in the ancient Aztec diet. The seeds of a related plant, Salvia columbariae (golden chia), were used primarily by Native Americans in the southwestern United States. These gems are fantastic in so many ways, what makes chia seeds so powerful? Lets take a closer look!
Skip The Coffee And Boost Energy:
Don’t want to feel like taking an afternoon nap? Your energy levels have a lot to do with what you eat. Chia is one of nature’s highest plant-based sources of complete protein. Usually protein from items like peanut butter and some beans are incomplete, meaning you have to combine them with other foods to get the full benefit. Not Chia though, it’s protein is complete to raise your energy levels. The combination of complete protein, vitamins, minerals and blood-sugar balancing gel all work together to make sure you have steady, never jittery energy.
Chia Seeds And Weight Loss:
Chia seeds contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. The soluble fiber in chia absorbs water and expands to form a gel that fills you up faster, so you consume fewer calories, hence weight loss. Fiber and protein slow the digestive process so hunger isn’t triggered as quickly as with sugars, starches and other simple carbohydrates. The insoluble fiber, which does not digest, aids in preventing constipation and digestive disorders by cleaning the colon.
As a type 1 diabetic, the glycemic index use to be near and dear to my heart, well, that’s until I found out the glycemic load. How do the two differ? Last week I posted about the the glycemic load, but what is the glycemic index and how do they differ? Lets take a closer look!
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a numerical scale used to indicate how fast and how high a particular food can raise our blood glucose (blood sugar) level. A food with a low GI will typically prompt a moderate rise in blood glucose, while a food with a high GI may cause our blood glucose level to increase above the optimal level.
An awareness of foods’ Glycemic Index can help you control your blood sugar levels, and by doing so, may help you prevent heart disease, improve cholesterol levels, prevent insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes, prevent certain cancers, and achieve or maintain a healthy weight. A substantial amount of research suggests a low GI diet provides these significant health benefits. So, it’s worth taking a look at the basic principles of a low GI way of eating.
Why The Glycemic Index Is Important?
Your body performs best when your blood sugar is kept relatively constant. If your blood sugar drops too low, you become lethargic and/or experience increased hunger. And if it goes too high, your brain signals your pancreas to secrete more insulin. Insulin brings your blood sugar back down, but primarily by converting the excess sugar to stored fat. Also, the greater the rate of increase in your blood sugar, the more chance that your body will release an excess amount of insulin, and drive your blood sugar back down too low.
Therefore, when you eat foods that cause a large and rapid glycemic response, you may feel an initial elevation in energy and mood as your blood sugar rises, but this is followed by a cycle of increased fat storage, lethargy, and more hunger! Although increased fat storage may sound bad enough, individuals with diabetes (diabetes mellitus, types 1 and 2) have an even worse problem. Their bodies inability to secrete or process insulin causes their blood sugar to rise too high, leading to a host of additional medical problems.
The theory behind the Glycemic Index is simply to minimize insulin-related problems by identifying and avoiding foods that have the greatest effect on your blood sugar.
High Glycemic Index Foods And Health Problems:
What researchers have learned is that high glycemic index foods generally make blood sugar levels higher. In addition, people who eat a lot of high glycemic index foods tend to have greater levels of body fat, as measured by the body mass index (BMI). High BMIs are linked to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
High glycemic index foods include many carbohydrates such as:
- White bread
- Low-fiber cereals
- Baked goods
So the other day I fielded a question asking what types of plant based proteins that I enjoy. One of my top choices, legumes! These little gems are jam packed with nutrients and have a fantastic balance of protein, carbs and fiber.
The American Diabetes Association recommends legumes as one of the most important food groups for disease prevention and optimal health as legumes aid in blood sugar regulation more than almost any other food group, a key quality for diabetics and those concerned with maintaining stable blood sugars. So if that doesn’t get you pumped up enough, lets take a closer look at why these are a favorite of mine and why you want to start incorporating them into your daily diet!
What Are Legumes:
So what is a legume? Legumes are low glycemic and consist of plants that produce a pod with seeds inside, seeds that pack a powerful nutritional punch! As we look around at all the fast food joints that seem to be popping up on every street corner, it’s really no secret that most Americans depend far too much on processed foods, and far too little on whole foods to fuel their bodies. A diet that emphasizes nutrient dense foods or those that deliver a wide range of nutrients for relatively few calories, does more than provide energy it nourishes your body and supports good health. Legumes are a perfect example of this. Not only that, legumes are also complex carbohydrates which are slowly digested and absorbed. The slow release of glucose and energy from legumes is beneficial in regulating blood glucose levels
Legumes Nutritional Profile:
Legumes have quite a fantastic nutrition profile, and are a rich source of healthy fibers and protein.
For example, one cup of cooked lentils provides:
- 18 grams of protein.
- 16 grams of fiber.
- 40 grams of carbs.
- 37% of the RDA for iron.
- 90% of the RDA for folate.
- 18% of the RDA for magnesium.
- 21% of the RDA for potassium.
- Over 10% of the RDA for Vitamins B1, B3, B5 and B6, phosphorus, zinc, copper and manganese.
This is why legumes are among the best plant-based sources of dietary protein. Not only are they highly nutritious, they are also extremely cheap. Something that definitely resonates with me!
Ok, let me start off my saying that these little gems are my favorite snack to munch on when I get that afternoon craving to devour something! The health benefits of have been documented for centuries and modern research is backing up many of the claims – there any many goods reasons why you might want to consider including them in your diet, so lets take a closer look!
Benefits Of Eating Almonds:
Nuts, like almonds, hazel nuts, peanuts, Brazil nuts, walnuts and cashews can all play a role in reducing the risk of heart disease, according to a Harvard review. That’s because nuts may help reduce LDL cholesterol (more on that later), and incorporate a dose of heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat and fiber, which has a heart-protective effect. Nuts are also rich in arginine, an amino acid that converts to nitric oxide in the body and helps blood vessels to relax.
Almonds Nutritional Profile:
Check this out! This is why I love these little guys!
Almonds boast an incredibly impressive nutrient profile, but what about the calories in 10 raw almonds.
A 1 ounce (28 grams, or small handful) serving of almonds contains (1):
- Fiber: 3.5 grams.
- Protein: 6 grams.
- Fat: 14 grams (9 of which are monounsaturated).
- Vitamin E: 37% of the RDA.
- Manganese: 32% of the RDA.
- Magnesium: 20% of the RDA.
- They also contain a decent amount of copper, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and phosphorus.
Almonds For Weight Loss:
Not only delicious, versatile, and portable, but are nutritionally beneficial on a number of levels. Recent studies have demonstrated that diets featuring almonds and other tree nuts do not cause weight gain and may actually promote weight loss. This can be explained by the exceptionally healthful fatty acid profile that they possess. In concert with fiber, these compounds evidently work to suppress appetite, possibly by influencing the production of hormones involved in the hunger-satiety cycle and promoting a feeling of fullness. So if your looking for that perfect mid afternoon snack, give these guys a whirl. Add that extra protein to your diet and also help your waistline!
Even if you do not know what dragon fruit, you may have seen them at your local supermarket at some point. Dragon fruit is actually an extremely nutritious fruit despite its odd looking shape. They are usually pink or reddish with spikes of green and yellow light coming from them, although there are actually three kinds.
Although they are increasingly popular in North America, they are not widely consumed. They are also very popular all across Asia, as well as in Mexico, Central America, and South America. Dragon fruit is actually grown in several types of cactus, this cactus blooms only at night when they revealed their flowers big, beautiful and fragrant. The purpose of this article is to consider the fantastic health benefits of dragon fruit.
Dragon Fruit And Macronutrients:
The benefits of eating dragon fruit are plentiful. A small 7-ounce dragon fruit contains 59 calories, 2 grams of protein, 0.4 gram of fat and 14 grams of carbohydrate, including 1 gram of fiber. The carbohydrate in dragon fruit consists mainly of the sugars fructose and glucose. The fiber is made up of mainly oligosaccharides, which aren’t digest One of the largest issues with loosing pounds is being able to keep your stomach full for hours after you have eaten. With the help of this exotic product of nature, you will be able to feel satisfied for longer periods of time.ed in the stomach or small intestine. These oligosaccharides act as prebiotics, helping to stimulate the growth of the healthy bacteria lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, which are probiotics, notes an article published in June 2010 in “Food Chemistry.” Probiotics help limit the growth of unhealthy bacteria and help with digestion. They may also help treat diarrhea and other intestinal infections, according to MayoClinic.com.
For Weight Loss:
One of the largest issues with loosing weight is being able to keep your stomach full for hours after you have eaten. With the help of this exotic product of nature, you will be able to feel satisfied for longer periods of time. What is more, it is comprised mostly of fiber and is incredibly low in calories, therefore it will help you to feel full after eating in comparison to other fruits. It also improves the human metabolism rate, assisting you with weight management.
Green beans, aka string beans, or snap bean in the northeastern and western United States are the unripe fruit of various cultivars of the common bean. Green beans are a versatile vegetable that can be grown in many different climates. This helps the plant become such a familiar food.
There are two types of green beans: “pole beans” and “bush beans”. Pole beans usually climb vines and require support systems to grow properly. These plants take longer to grow to maturity. Bush beans on the other hand need no support system and are lower to the ground. What makes these beans so unbelievably healthy for you, lets take a closer look!
Nutritional Value Of Green Beans:
Green beans are good sources of vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K. Green beans contain beta carotene, which is found in Vitamin A. Vitamin A, a fat soluble antioxidant, helps control night blindness and other eye problems. Folic acid and vitamin B6 present in these beans, regulate the levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine is an amino acid that is produced, as an intermediate product of the metabolic process. Increased concentration of the homocysteine is seen in heart patients. Significant amounts of magnesium, copper, iron, molybdenum, potassium are also found in green beans. Intake of these individual minerals is essential in our daily diet.
Green Beans And Fiber:
Green beans are packed with dietary fiber which is beneficial for those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. Fiber adds bulk to the stools and enables easy passage during bowel movements. Green beans are good for those with high cholesterol since fiber helps to lower the levels of bad cholesterol in the body. People with diabetes may also include green beans in their diet since it helps to regulate blood sugar levels, always a bonus!
Green Beans & Vitamin C:
Vitamin C, in conjunction with the carotenoids, help to support the immune system and prevent cellular damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that, when exposed to oxygen, damage DNA. Folate may help prevent DNA damage and cellular mutation as well. According to the National Cancer Institute, populations that consume diets rich in fruits and vegetables have a lower cancer risk, in part, due to their high carotenoid, vitamin A and C content. This protective benefit is particularly pronounced for cancers of the lung, gastrointestinal tract, breast, oral cavity, pancreas, uterine cervix, and ovary. Green beans are rich in all of these protective nutrients.
Lets just say that this is one powerful little herb! Thyme, botanically known as Thymus vulgaris, is a perennial garden herb that has been used since ancient times for medicinal and culinary uses. This herb has traditionally been associated with courage, with medieval women giving sprigs of thyme to knights going into battle; it has also been used as an herbal remedy for a host of ailments. Thyme tea, rich in volatile oils, minerals, beneficial phenols and flavonoids, is a healthy beverage choice, lets take a closer look why!
A cup of thyme tea has a lot more to offer than its pleasant taste; thymol, one of the volatile oils in thyme, is a potent antioxidant. According to The World’s Healthiest Foods, thymol may help to increase omega-3 fatty acids, or healthy fats, in brain cells. In a clinical study conducted by K.A. Youdim and colleagues and published in the April 19, 1999 issue of “Biochemical and Biophysical Research,” researchers found that thyme oil helped to protect against age-related changes in the brain cells of rats. Studies are ongoing to determine whether thyme can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to thymol, thyme tea contains the antioxidant flavonoids apigenin, naringenin, luteolin, and thymonin.
Thyme And Iron:
This herb is a fantastic generator of iron, supplying almost 20% of the suggested daily allowance for a grown-up per tablespoon. Iron is necessary for energy generation, and having an iron deficiency might cause anemia, exhaustion, and also make the body more prone to disease.
Hemp Seeds are a perfect and natural blend of easily digested protein, essential fats (Omega 3 & 6), Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), antioxidants, amino acids, fiber, iron, zinc, carotene, phospholipids, phytosterols, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin D, vitamin E, chlorophyll, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, copper, potassium, phosphorus, and enzymes. All amino acids essential to optimum health are found in Hemp Seeds, including the rarely found Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA). The 17+ grams of omega fats supplied by Hemp Seeds provides sufficient, continuous energy throughout your day!
Assist With Blood Pressure:
Hemp seeds contain essential fatty acids that can reduce blood cholesterol. This keeps the heart healthy and also prevents plaque buildup in the arteries, which can ultimately lead to heart attack and strokes. Its fatty acids also reduce inflammation that can cause high blood pressure and poor blood circulation. Therefore, hemp can significantly reduce the workload on your heart.
Hemp Seeds And Diabetes:
Hemp seeds can also be beneficial if you are diabetic, or are at risk for diabetes, as they can help to stabilize your blood sugar levels but reducing blood sugar spikes. This is due to the healthy fats which help the body to absorb the glucose from the bloodstream and turn it into energy.
Let me just start out by saying that I love lentils and as a fellow type 1 diabetic, so should you! Add these little gems to your meals and increase your fiber and protein intake. Lentils are inexpensive, easy to prepare and contain many vitamins and minerals. Eat the low-fat food and help prevent chronic conditions, such as heart disease. Serve them as a main meal or as a side dish and satisfy your hunger while providing your body with lasting energy.
Lentils And Dietary Fiber:
Lentils are a high-fiber food. One cup of plain and cooked provides 230 calories and just under 40 grams of complex carbohydrates, of which 15.6 grams are fiber, an amount equivalent to 62 percent of the daily value for fiber. While lentils contain significant amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber, they’re especially rich in the soluble type. Soluble fiber dissolves into a substance that binds to cholesterol and other fatty acids and promotes their excretion through waste. Soluble fiber also slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream to promote normal blood glucose levels. A 2009 analysis of several related studies published in the journal “Diabetologia,” found that lentils and other legumes improve blood glucose management in diabetics.