My breakfast during the summer varies quite a bit. However, when September arrives my mood as well as the food I eat change.
The weather cools down and I start craving warmer foods. On the other hand, my work becomes more stressful and I start looking for something to support and protect my gut.
Oatmeal is my breakfast of choice and it is also my favorite way of delivering all the medicinal goodness into my body.
I often don't mind more complex combination of ingredients so my typical oatmeal has a variety of spices.
In additional to spices, I often add nuts and seeds. For the past few years I have been experimenting with 3 different types of seeds - chia seeds, flax seeds and hemp seeds.
Today I'd like to tell you a bit more about chia seeds, their nutritional benefits and medicinal reasons to include into your diet.
Chia seeds are everywhere today. Whether you are trying to make oatmeal or mousse you can easily find recipes recommending to incorporate this seed.
The first facts I've learned about Chia seeds included:
As the name of the plant suggests, Salvia hispanica initially comes Mexico and Guatemala, and was quite an important crop for Aztecs. The plant is a member of Mint family.
It was pretty much unknown here in the US until about 30 years ago when the Northwestern Argentina Regional Project popularized the seeds.
There are typically three varieties you can find today - black, dark brown or white.
Most of the times black or white are sold in the supermarkets. You can eat the seeds whole or milled.
In my explorations I confirmed that these super seeds have quite a bit of nutrition in them - antioxidants, fatty acids, protein and more.
The following are three most common medicinal uses of these super seeds.
1. Blood sugar control and diabetes
Chia seeds help to maintain good blood sugar control in healthy individuals and also in overweight and obese patients with type 2 diabetes.
Chia seeds when compared with other fiber (for example, flax seeds) seems to do better in terms of blood sugar maintenance after meals.
2. Weight loss
Patients who used chia seeds and other types of soluble fiber did better in terms of satiety and weight loss.
Patients that consumed chia seeds for 12 weeks had greater reduction in weight and waist circumference.
3. Improvement in lipid profile
It's possible that chia seeds benefits in controlling blood sugar are the explanation to improvement in blood pressure, coagulation and inflammatory state in patients.
Recent research suggests that chia seed oil applied topically can help with rashes in patients with End-Stage Renal Disease.
Compounds from Chia seeds seem to enhance the work of cytotoxic agents used for treating breast cancer.
I'm a college professor, drug information pharmacist and herbalist. I teach young professionals and students how to be less stressed and more focused with the right herbs and food.