Chia seeds – Discover 10 Health Benefits of this Superfood

Chia seeds are loaded with extensive value. They require no cooking, are high in calories, omega 3, dietary fiber, phosphorous, and calcium.

So what are the 10 Health Benefits we can get from using these tiny seeds in our diet?

1. Supports Heart Health

The seeds contain one of the highest known plant sources of Essential Fatty Acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6). As EFAs cannot be synthesized by our bodies it is very important that we get enough from our diet to support our immune, cardiovascular, nervous and reproductive systems. EFA deficiency is quite common in the developed world.

2. Stabilizes Energy Levels

Chia seeds slow down the rate at which complex carbohydrates are digested and then assimilated into the body. The soluble fibre helps to stabilize blood glucose levels resulting in steady, sustained energy.

3. Energizing

The word “Chia” comes from the Mayan language and means strength. Chia seeds are a natural balanced blend of protein, carbohydrates, fats and fibre. Ancient Mayan folklaw said that 1 mouthful of Chia could sustain a warrior for 24 hours. Athletes, including the famous barefoot marathon runners of Mexico, have reported that Chia seeds help them perform at optimal levels for much longer periods of time.

4. Supports Circulation

Reports that Chia seeds may help with the general circulation of the body may be attributed to the high concentration of Omega-3 and Omega-6 in a ratio which is beneficial for the circulatory and musculoskeletal systems.

5. Weight Maintenance

The Essential Fatty Acids contained in Chia seeds help to boost metabolism and promote lean muscle mass. The seeds are sometimes added to food to provide bulk nutrients while adding very few calories. For these reasons, many people have found Chia quite useful in weight maintenance.

6. Detoxification and Elimination

Similar to psyllium, the swelling action of Chia in the body helps to cleanse and soothe the colon and absorb toxins while lubricating and strengthening peristaltic action.

7. High Quality Protein

Chia seeds contain about 20% protein, a higher percentage than found in many other grains such as wheat and rice. Chia seeds contain strontium which helps to assimilate protein and produce high energy.

8. Antioxidants

Chia seeds are an excellent source of antioxidants, containing even more antioxidants than fresh blueberries. The high amounts of antioxidants in Chia seeds also keeps the Omega-3 oils from going rancid – contributing to a long shelf life (up to 36 months following harvest if kept dry at room temperature).

9. Provides Fibre and Other Nutrients

Besides EFAs, Chia seeds also provide fibre, iron, calcium, niacin, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus. 2 tablespoons of Chia = 7 grams of fibre, 2 grams of protein, 205 milligrams of calcium, 5 grams Omega-3. Recommended daily serving: 1-2 Tablespoons.

10. Brain Power

EFAs are known to make cell membranes more flexible and efficient, making nutrients more readily available and nerve transmission more efficient. This helps to improve brain function – including memory and concentration.

Chia has a mild flavor so you can add it to various dishes without altering the taste. Sprinkle seeds on breakfast cereals or mix them into shakes, puddings, sauces, etc.

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Which top 7 Supermarket Foods you should Avoid!

In a recent article, seven experts in the fields of both food and the environment (scientists, doctors and farmers) were asked just one simple question: “What foods do you avoid?” Their responses had nothing to do with calories or nutrient-density, but all to do with their insider knowledge on how certain seemingly “healthy” foods that they closely work with are produced and packaged. The findings are scary.

If the farmer who grows the food won’t eat it himself, then I won’t touch it either.

Here’s a summary of the findings. You can add these seven to your ‘Foods to Avoid‘ list:

1. Canned Tomatoes

An endocrinologist and expert on the topic of the synthetic oestrogen bisphenol-A (BCA), linked to heart disease and infertility, won’t go near canned tomatoes. Tin cans are lined with a resin containing BCA which is especially a problem with canning tomatoes, as the acid in tomato breaks this down in dangerous amounts. This is a serious health concern for everyone who loves a Spag Bol, especially children. My advice: if you still want the convenience of stored, ready-to-cook tomatoes, opt for sauces and pasta’s in glass bottles.

2. Conventional Beef

For fat cows (and fat people) feed them grain, corn and soy. This is what farmers do to increase profits. The end product is meat that is nutritionally inferior. Cows were meant to eat grass. Studies show that grass-fed beef (compared to corn-fed) is higher in important vitamins, minerals and the heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory fats. Then there’s also the issue of all the antibiotics used on those inappropriately-fed, sick cows… My advice: Look for “grass-fed” or “pasture-fed” organic beef from strong healthy beasts.

3. Microwave Popcorn

Another poisonous packaging issue: Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) lines the bags of those popcorn bags, and the heat in the microwave leaches this straight onto your movie munchies. The UCLA links this compound to infertility. My advice: Corn kernels + butter or coconut oil + sea salt + plus a big pot (with a lid!) Simple.

4. Conventional Potatoes

More than any other vegetable, non-organic potatoes are heavily sprayed with herbicides, pesticides and fungicides throughout every stage of their growth, harvesting and storage. So much so that potato growers never eat the potatoes they sell and grow their own separate plots without all the chemicals. My advice: Organic or Bio-dynamic potatoes only.

5. Farmed Salmon

This is particularly scary considering that in Australia, the only fresh Salmon they have access to is farmed; all farmed, this includes “Atlantic” Salmon. These fish are crammed in pens and fed all manner of junk from soy and hydrolyzed chicken feathers and pellets. A scientific study on fish contamination showed high levels of DDT and PCB’s (carcinogens). So serious were the findings that the director for the Institute for Health warns that any more than one salmon meal every 5 months increases your cancer risk. Not to mention that fact that the levels of Omega 3 and Vitamin D are devoid in these poor factory-versions that their wild, up-stream-swimming ancestors contain. My advice: For fresh fish, choose small & wild varieties wherever available. For salmon in Australia, your only wild option is out of a tin. Look for brands like Paramount Wild Alaskan Salmon, or other brands form Norway and Canada are often wild too. Even still, eat these only occasionally.

6. Conventional Milk

Dairy cows today are fed growth hormones to maximize milk production. Not only does this make for a potentially breast/prostate/colon cancer milk shake, but it also leads to increased incidence of udder infection for the poor cow, leading to pus in the milk. My advice: if you do drink cows’ milk, make sure it states clearly on the label that it is produced without artificial hormones, and ideally choose organic whole milk from pasture-fed cows.

7. Conventional Apples

There’s no coincidence that farm workers have higher rates of many cancers. Of all common fruits, apples are the most heavily and frequently doused with pesticides. Pesticide reside on conventional fruits is also linked to Parkinson’s. To limit exposure, be wary of apples especially. My advice: Organic. Or at the very least, wash and peel.


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Winter is coming!

Here in New Zealand winter is just around the corner. In fact today I am listening to the wind whooshing round outside and you would think it was already here. Thankfully I am snuggled inside with the fire going……mmmmm cosy.

Beat the bugs this Autumn and boost your immune system for winter

So before winter has us in her icy grip it’s a good time to think about boosting your immune system. If you watch any mainstream media you will notice that they  are suggesting you get your flu vaccine now!! I bet you are wondering what you should do, especially since we now have swine flu to contend with as well.

Lets just take a look at some facts:

(1) If you have a healthy immune system you are unlikely to come down with a serious case of the flu and if you do get the flu you will be able to fight it off.

(2) Any vaccination that you receive this year will be made up of viruses that went around last year. The flu virus mutates from one season to the next and so no vaccination will keep you completely free from the flu.

So how do you boost your immune system? Firstly you need to be aware that 80% of your immune system is in your gut. If you don’t have a healthy digestive system then you won’t have a good immune system either. We are back to the same old thing; you’ve got to eat your veggies. Nope we are still not eating anywhere near enough fruit and veges every day. Try adding a salad to your lunch and add some extra fruit to your breakfast. Have an apple or banana for afternoon tea instead of a muffin. I just made a smoothie for breakfast with fruit and Spirulina.. its a great way to start the day! Another tip to improve your digestive health is to take a course of probiotics which also boosts your immunity so you get more bang for your buck!!

You can’t go past the humble vitamin c for all round health either. In fact we have our own “Back from the dead” story here in NZ with the Waikato farmer who was on death’s door with swine flu until his family insisted the hospital give him intravenous vitamin c. Not all vitamin C is created equal however, try an avoid calcium ascorbate and go for a natural vitamin c such as Acerola berry. ( Guess what? Eating fruit and veges boost your vitamin c intake too. Woohoo!) Most us mistakenly think we get plenty of vitamin c but we are wrong and scurvy.. YES scurvy has been making a comeback in Australia  and New Zealand. Now if that doesn’t scare you into eating an apple right now nothing will!

Right….. so we are eating our fruit and veges, taking our vitamin c supplements and we have done a course of probiotic’s, what else can we do? Well there are some amazing immune boosting supplements on the market now. My all time favourite is Natures Way Systemwell. Why? Because it is packed with 33 different immune enhancing herbs and vitamins including olive leaf, Siberian Ginseng, zinc and selenium (those last two minerals are hugely deficient in NZ soils). It also works on all levels of your immune system: Epidermal, Respiratory, Digestive, Systemic, Circulatory, Cellular, and your Lymphatic system. Plus it works!!! It has never let me down, if I feel like I have the start of a bug coming on; feeling achy, scratchy throat, headache, I reach for the Systemwell and take three tablets. Generally that will knock it on the head  but occasionally I may need to take another three on the same day. then back to the maintenance dose of one a day.

Washing your hands with plain soap and water is vitally important to keep you immunity up too. Why? because we don’t know how clean that money is we just touched ( hint: Not very!) or that door knob and lets not get into public toilets! Hand sanitizer is not required unless you cannot access water and soap. Antibacterial soap isn’t necessary either but that’s a whole blog in itself!

Author : Caitlin Grace is a Wellbeing Coach, Journey Therapist, Reiki practitioner, EFT and meditation coach.

Read more about Caitlin and her other blogs 

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Tips for reducing those sugar cravings!

Are you someone who can’t stop eating sugar?

Sweet satisfaction or sweet destruction?

Got to have a little something sweet every day?

If you lack satisfaction in your life, you may be attracted to quick sugar fixes like chocolate or chocolate cake. The quicker and higher your sugar levels rise after you have had a sweet treat, the faster and lower it will drop afterwards. And once again, you will be left feeling agitated and dissatisfied.

Many women crave sugar pre-menstrually, yet sugar in excess can be a significant contributor to Menstrual disturbances, Chronic Fatigue, Cancer, and Diabetes to name a few.

Getting off the sugar roller coaster is not as easy as said, but the benefits for your waistline and moods will be worth the effort. Without the stress of a sugar hit which is always accompanied by fatigue, you will experience greater inner peace and stability; also there will be a big boost to your immune system. But how do you ditch those powerful cravings?

Often our bodies will exhibit cravings for sweets when we are lacking certain nutrients in our body. A sugar addiction can be quite detrimental to our wellness and many of us are very so addicted to the sweet stuff.

Here are a few tips to break your sugar addiction

• Firstly as soon as the craving arises, drink a glass of water with a squeeze of lemon juice. Water is essential for reducing the cravings.

• Ditch the artificial sweeteners because they actually cause intense cravings for sugar – many people gain weight because of artificial sweeteners. Use the natural sweetener stevia, or agave syrup as a replacement.

Perfect all-natural alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners

• Eat breakfast that is NOT sweet, don’t have the cornflakes or sweetened muesli’s. Always choose a source of protein for breakfast. For example poached or scrambled eggs, brown rice, or lean protein, avocado or blanched vegetable, salad and a couple of Brazil nuts. Have a whey protein smoothie if you are short on time, and include some ground nuts and seeds in there as well. The biggest reason for sugar cravings is a lack of protein. Eat enough so that you feel satisfied, and regularly enough so that you feel stable, and you won’t crave so much junk. Snack on protein throughout the day too.

• Take the mineral Chromium on a daily basis whilst giving up sugar – Chromium will help curb the sugar cravings, help maximize energy, and support fat management.

Supports balanced blood sugar levels and helps manage cravings

Spirulina is a great source of protein and other nutrients to help keep your blood sugar levels stable. Include Spirulina in your smoothies or just mix in water and drinks between meals to get the protein intake up. Coconut oil should also be used every day as this helps to curb sugar cravings. Use it for cooking or in your smoothies, or just eat it of the spoon.

• Read labels. You might be surprised to learn how much sugar there is in a lot of the foods that you eat. Being aware of sugar content can help you avoid high-sugar foods and kick the addiction. Stay away from the packaged foods and stick to the basics of whole grains, protein fruit and vegetables and good fats like coconut oil.

• Really try and eliminate caffeine – caffeine can stimulate your brain to crave sugar

• Exercise away the craving. Substitute an exercise high for a sugar high. Exercise makes you feel more empowered to deal with your cravings.

• Drink green tea. Not only is it an anti-inflammatory to help you deal with the stress response, but its bitter taste kills the desire for sugar. Soon it will serve as a relaxation cue

• Treat yourself to a massage – The first week of sugar abstinence is hard, when the cravings are at their most powerful. Be kind to yourself: this is not the time to tackle a large project, to implement lots of changes, or to work overtime. Introduce some form of relaxation into your week.

• And if you really need a little nourishment without the guilt then try a little raw organic 70% dark chocolate sweetened with the low GI Sweetener agave syrup, we love the raw organic brand called Loving Earth.

Organic Raw Dark chocolate - 72% Raw Cacao

Most people do not realise that sugar suppresses the immune system and upsets the mineral balance in the body, depleting copper and chromium and interferes with the absorption of calcium and magnesium. Refined Sugar can exacerbate arthritis and asthma and has a marked contribution to the formation of kidney and gallstones.

So do yourself a favour now and kick that addiction in the butt.

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