Flax’s Latest CompetitionCould Chia Be The Next Super Grain?What: This grain, which was originally consumed by the Mayans, has the nutritional properties of both flax and quinoa, plus calcium.
Take all the folks that crave an hour of downward dog a day, have a routine that includes flax and yogurt and only wear organic cotton and now tell them flax ain’t got nothing on chia. What would they say? Probably that it’s next on their list of super foods to try at the local health food store.
The first introduction the West had to chia was through the Chia Pet, but this is about nutrition. Chia, a seed found in Mexico, was reportedly part of the Aztec and Mayan diet and according to Dr. Andrew Weil, it has more omega-3 than flax. Chia is also a great source of fiber and is said to have innate minerals and vitamins.
A study performed at St. Michael’s Hospital Torontoevaluated the impact of chia seeds on the regulation of glucose in patients with Type 2 Diabetes. The results showed that the grain, sometimes referred to as “salba” because of the plant’s name, Salvia hispanica, could help reduce the risk of heart disease in type 2 diabetes patients. In a press release from the hospital, the study’s main investigator said, “Salba seems to possess important cardio-protective properties in Type 2 diabetes by reducing conventional and emerging heart disease risk factors that are associated with diabetes” said Dr. Vladimir Vuksan, a research scientist at the Keenan Research Centre of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital and a professor in the faculty of medicine at the University of Toronto. “It is an exceptionally rich source of vegetable protein, calcium, magnesium and iron, with antioxidant levels higher than in some berries.”
So what do you do with it? Sprinkle it in cereal, yogurt or a smoothie, as you would flax, or add it when you are baking. If that sounds like too much work, try ready-to-eat products with chia, such as the cereal from Ruth’s Hemp Foods, a brand that is always ahead of the curve. Ruth’s cereal, Chia Goodness, has chia and hemp, for serious protein, fiber and omega action. The Salba brand from Core Naturals sells the seeds, capsules and oils.
Believe it or not, there is something Whole Foods doesn’t carry. Check out the store locator on the Core Naturals Salba website for information on retailers, or just buy online. Buy Ruth’s products directly through the site, or view the store locator. The other option is a long time seller of chia seed, oil, capsules and even a cookbook, Chia For Health .