(Health Secrets) Omega 3 is one of the essential fatty acids we need in our diets on a daily basis. Essential means we have to obtain that nutrient from outside sources because our bodies don’t manufacture enough. But most Western diets are nutritionally deficient in omega 3 fatty acids. So the question becomes how to get enough omega 3 without breaking the bank.
Omega 3 from chia seeds contains alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a fatty acid that is important for brain and nerve tissue, and critical for good heart health. Omega 3 ALA deficiency is associated with degenerative diseases including cancer, and immune dysfunction.
Other essential fatty acids are omega 6 and omega 9. Most of us get plenty of those, because they are abundant in the Western diet. Omega 6 is found in most nut and plant oils. Most of us take in too much of those oils in their unhealthy processed forms.
In addition to increasing omega 3 intake, we should limit omega 6 oil consumption to create a proper balance. Many health experts consider that our omega 6 to omega 3 ratio should be 3 to 1 or less. The American Heart Association recommends consuming 500 mgs of omega 3 daily. A recent Global Summit for Omega 3 stated the daily amount should be 1000 mgs.
Cold water fish are excellent sources of omega 3, but they are expensive and plenty of people don’t like to eat fish. Organic flax seeds are a good inexpensive source of omega 3, but high quality cold pressed organic flax oils are pricey and can go rancid at the drop of a hat.
Chia seed benefits
Chia seeds are relatively inexpensive and certainly convenient. They don’t have to be ground, and are even higher in omega 3 than flax seeds.
Chia seeds come from the Salvia Hispaica plant that grows abundantly in Southern Mexican deserts. Chia seeds were used by Aztec warriors for endurance. Native Americans also used chia seeds medicinally. A small amount with water provided them with necessary nutrients while helping them stay hydrated.
Because they absorb water, chia seeds help you feel full longer with less food. Unlike flax seeds, chia seeds are easily chewed as is. And unlike ground flax seeds, chia seeds don’t deteriorate rapidly. They can be mixed in water or juice without any weird taste. A chia seed gel can be formed with chia seeds and water, which is then refrigerated and eaten like a gelatin desert.
Just eating chia seeds or drinking them with a beverage will form a gel in the stomach, and that gel is up to 90% fiber, which is useful as an overall digestive and elimination aid. And it minimizes blood sugar spikes by slowing carbohydrate conversions to glucose. So it’s okay and even helpful for diabetics.
Get the nutritional boost of chia seeds
The nutritional content of chia goes beyond omega 3 fatty acids. Chia is very high in calcium, which is transferred to bones with the help of chia’s abundant amounts of the trace mineral boron.
This boron factor is important. Calcium in the blood stream can calcify and harden arteries, or reach soft tissues of organs and calcify or harden them if it isn’t absorbed by bone matter. Boron along with magnesium balances calcium and eliminates this problem.
Chia seeds also contain twice as much protein as almost any other seed or grain. And yes, good omega 6 is available in chia seeds as well. So there one can begin the omega 6 and omega 3 balancing act. There are many other antioxidants and nutrients in chia seeds, including phosphorous and manganese
Phosphorus strengthens bone structure, provides energy, and helps maintain proper nervous system impulses, such as the ones that control your heartbeat. Deficiency leads to low energy and depression or irritability.
Though not much is required, most of us are deficient in manganese, another nutrient found in abundance in chia seeds. Manganese helps maintain normal brain and nervous system function. And it helps determine proper bone formation as well as helping to form connective tissue. It supports blood clotting factors and sex hormones. It also boosts fat and carbohydrate metabolism while stabilizing blood sugar levels.
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