My recent discoveries. Chia seeds and flaxseeds

Hi everyone. I hope you’re well. I’m really enjoying learning more about nutrition and broadening my knowledge on food. 

A PT recommended that I try flaxseed and a gym friend recommended chia seeds. Having never tired both I did some research, wow, I was blown away by the health benefits!!! Got to be worth a try. I looked them up to see about using them as a healthy extra and you can! Even better!!! 

Chia seeds 30g as a HEB or 25g is 5 syns. 

   
 Flaxseed that I use is 20g as a HEB and 25g is 6 1/2 syns.

   
 So far I’ve used the flaxseed in scrambled eggs with veggies and ZOATS pancakes. 

The chia seeds I made in to a pudding like breakie. I weighed out the seeds then soaked them over night in unsweetened almond milk, a tbs of stevia and a few drops of white chocolate and strawberry flavouring. The seeds swell over night and soak up the milk. Give them a stir then add some fruit, I choose strawberries. It was really nice! I was full from 8.30am until 1.30pm, which is a miracle for me!! I’m going to look in to some other ideas for using this, exciting!!! 

I bought the seeds from sainsburys and my sister got me the flaxseed from holland and barratt. 

If you’d like to learn more about the health benefits read below or give it a google! 

Happy Fopping xxx

Chia seeds :-

Not only are they gluten/grain free naturally, but one tablespoon of Chia Seeds has more calcium than a glass of milk, more Omega-3s than Salmon, and more antioxidants than blueberries. 

They also give you tons of energy but also won’t keep you awake at night and are supposed to be great for weight loss. Because they can absorb many times their size/weight in liquid, they are great for preventing dehydration during exercise or exposure to heat.
Supposedly, the Aztecs, Mayans, and Incans used chia as a staple of their diet and as an energy food. Chia means “strength” in the Mayan language, and they were known as the “Indian Running Food” because runners and warriors would use them for sustenance while running long distances or during battle (source).
According to Mountain Rose Herbs they contain “Essential fatty acids alpha-linolenic and linoleic acid, mucin, strontium, 30% protein, Vitamins A, B, E, and D, and minerals including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, iron, iodine, copper, zinc, sodium, magnesium, manganese, niacin, thiamine, silicon, and anti-oxidants.”
Additionally, “They are currently being used for their nutritional and medicinal properties, endurance for athletes, for suppressing the appetite, weight loss, leveling blood sugar, and for aiding intestinal regularity. Chia seeds readily dissolve into the water, creating a substance that looks like gelatin. This gel-forming action is due to the soluble fiber in the Chia seed. Researchers believe that this same gel-forming phenomenon takes place in the stomach when Chia seed is consumed, thus creating a physical barrier between carbohydrates and digestive enzymes and slowing the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar. Slowing the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar helps with endurance and metabolic rates, which is beneficial for athletes and others”.
“For weight loss, Chia seeds are an appetite suppressant, and Chia gel may be used to replace food within recipes. Bulking up a meal with Chia gel helps lessen the amount of food consumed, since Chia gel is primarily made up of water. Chia gel may also be used in place of fats within recipes, even within baked goods. Chia seed has hydrophilic properties, and can absorb more than 12 times its weigh in water. Because of this, Chia seeds can prolong hydration, helping retain moisture and regulate more efficiently the body’s absorption of nutrients and body fluids, including electrolyte balance.” (source)
Flaxseed:- 

The seeds of most plants are rich in nutrients and can provide us with health benefits. Yet flaxseeds are also nutritionally unique and offer us health benefits not found across the board within the seeds food group. The nutritional uniqueness of flaxseeds features three nutrient aspects, and all three play a key role in the outstanding health benefits of this food.

Unique Nutrient Features of Flaxseeds
The first unique feature of flax is its high omega-3 fatty acid content. Among all 127 World’s Healthiest Foods, flaxseeds comes out number one as a source of omega-3s! The primary omega-3 fatty acid found in flaxseeds is alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA. The ALA in flaxseed has found to be stable for at least 3 hours of cooking at oven temperatures (approximately 300F/150C), which makes it available after ground flaxseeds have been added to baked goods like muffins or breads.
The second unique feature of flaxseed is its lignans. Lignans are fiber-like compounds, but in addition to their fiber-like benefits, they also provide antioxidant protection due to their structure as polyphenols. The unique structure of lignans gives them a further health-supportive role to play, however, in the form of phytoestrogens. Along with isoflavones, lignans are one of the few naturally occurring compounds in food that function as weak or moderate estrogens when consumed by humans. Among all foods commonly eaten by humans, researchers rank flaxseeds as the number one source of lignans. Sesame seeds come in second, but contain only one-seventh of the total lignans as flaxseeds. To give a few further examples, sunflower seeds contain about 1/350th as many lignans, and cashews nuts contain about 1/475th as many lignans as flaxseeds.
A third unique feature of flaxseeds is their mucilage (gum) content. “Mucilage” refers to water-soluble, gel-forming fiber that can provide special support to the intestinal tract. For example, gums can help prevent the too rapid emptying of the stomach contents into the small intestine, thereby improving absorption of certain nutrients in the small intestine. Arabinoxylans and galactoxylans are included within the mucilage gums found in flaxseeds.
This combination of features—omega-3 fatty acids, high-lignan content, and mucilage gums—is a key factor in the unique health benefits of flaxseeds. The specific areas of health benefit described below all draw in some way from this unique combination of nutrients not found in other commonly eaten nuts or seeds.
Cardiovascular Benefits
The primary omega-3 fatty acid in flaxseeds—alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA—can be helpful to the cardiovascular system in and of itself. As the building block for other messaging molecules that help prevent excessive inflammation, ALA can help protect the blood vessels from inflammatory damage. Numerous studies have shown the ability of dietary flaxseeds to increase our blood levels of ALA, even when those flaxseeds have been ground and incorporated into baked goods like breads or muffins. When flaxseeds are consumed, two other omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to increase in the bloodstream, namely, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA). Increases in EPA and DPA also help provide inflammatory protection.
Protection of our blood vessels from inflammatory damage is also provided by the lignans in flaxseeds. These lignans can inhibit formation of platelet activating factor (PAF), which increases risk of inflammation when produced in excessive amounts. The overall anti-inflammatory benefits of ALA and lignans in flaxseeds has been further corroborated by studies in which flaxseed-enriched baked goods (like muffins) lead to decreases of 10-15% in C-reactive protein (CRP) levels. CRP levels are a commonly used indicator of inflammatory status in the cardiovascular system.
Risk of oxidative stress in the blood vessels can also be lowered by flaxseed intake. In addition to being a very good source of the mineral antioxidant manganese, polyphenols in flaxseed—including flaxseed lignans—provide measurable antioxidant benefits. The antioxidant benefits of one particular flaxseed lignan, secoisolariciresinol, have been especially well-documented. Decreased lipid peroxidation and decreased presence of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the bloodsteam have both been associated with flaxseed intake in amounts of approximately 2 tablespoons per day.
Intake of flaxseeds has also been shown to decrease the ratio of LDL-to-HDL cholesterol in several human studies and to increase the level of apolipoprotein A1, which is the major protein found in HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol). This HDL-related benefit may be partly due to the simple fiber content of flaxseeds, since 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed provide about 4 grams of dietary fiber.
Although direct studies on flaxseed and blood pressure are limited (and mostly confined to flaxseed oil versus ground flaxseed), numerous studies have shown the ability of increased omega-3 fatty acid intake to help regulate blood pressure and to help reduce blood pressure in persons who have been diagnosed with hypertension. With its excellent content of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), flaxseed can definitely help us increase our overall omega-3 intake and, by doing so, decrease our risk of high blood pressure.

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2 responses

  1. Hello Nikki, love your site and your recipes! I’ve been having chia seeds with my breakfast every day on SS and using them as one of my HEB’s but my consultant says they’re HEA’s – I’ve searched on SW online to try and track them down and so far have had no luck so am feeling torn here. Just wondered what your take is on how to work out if they’re an A or a B…Thanks, Lucy

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