THE BEST MEDICINEf-
There are always two ways
to look at everything, I
guess. My wife and I were
sitting at a table at my
high school reunion last
October, and I kept staring
at a drunken lady swigging
her drink as she
sat alone at a nearby
table. My wife noticed me
staring and asked me, "Do
you know her?".
I sighed, "She's my old
girlfriend. I understand she
took to drinking right after
we split up those
many years ago, and I
hear she hasn't been sober
since." "My God!" says my
wife, "Who would
think a person could go on
celebrating that long?"
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|THE BEST MEDICINE-
Last night, my friend and I
were sitting in the living
I said to her, "I never want
to live in a vegetative
state, dependent on
some machine and fluids
from a bottle. If that ever
happens, just pull the
She got up, unplugged the
TV, and threw out my wine
DIET AND FITNESS:
Salba--Ancient Grain Fights Diabetes and
Quinoa -The 5000 Year Old "New" Superfood
Spirulina-Astronaut's Food Lowers Cholesterol
Amaranth-Ancient Grain Lowers Cholesterol
Chimichurri-Top 8 Health Benefits
Healing Foods -Gluten Free
Red Yeast Rice Lowers Cholesterol-New Study
January 3, 2010
By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist
Ever heard of salba seeds? Maybe you know them by their
more famous name -- chia seeds. Chia seeds are familiar to
most Americans as those funny seeds that you spread on
clay to grow on various animal shapes, called "Chia Pets".
But besides their use to create somewhat tacky gifts, the
little seeds actually can benefit your health.
Chia seeds, also known as "salba" or "salva hispanica" are
native to Mexico and South America and were a basic staple
of the Aztec warrior's diet. Now endorsed by health
luminaries no less than Dr. Mehmet Oz of Harvard and Dr.
Andrew Weil, chia seeds can be a powerful ally in your fight
against diabetes and constipation.
Americans are increasingly turning to ancient grains like
salba, quinoa and amaranth to meet health needs. According
to Datamonitor, there were 515 new products launched in
2007 that contained ancient grains and salba is one grain
that’s growing in popularity as a ‘functional’ ingredient.
But just what is salba and how exactly can it help you?
Several new studies point to salba’s power to control
diabetes, reduce the risk of heart disease and cut
constipation. How effective is salba? Are there any side
effects associated with salba? And how should you use salba
in your meals?
What is Salba?
Salvia hispanica is a type of flowering plant native to central
and south Mexico and Guatemala - part of the mint family.
Salvia hispanica is an ancient grain and legend has it was
used as a tribute to rulers in Aztec times. Today, salba is the
brand name associated with the salvia hispanica grain. The
grain is also known as chia.
Salba’s health boasts stem from the fact it contains high
amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, including alpha-linolenic
acid. Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to lower cholesterol
and triglycerides, reduce inflammation and the risk of heart
disease and certain cancers. There are few vegetarian
sources of omega-3s – salba is one. Salba is also a low-
calorie food, and low in saturated fat so it’s potentially good
for your waistline.
Salba is a powerhouse grain in other ways, too. Chia seeds,
according to the United States Department of Agriculture
National Nutrient Database, contain 16 grams of protein per
100g – a one ounce serving contains 9 percent of the Daily
Value for protein, gram-for-gram more than kidney beans.
But salba’s greatest claim to fame is fiber – 37g of dietary
fiber per 100g, higher than other beans and pulses and full
of 25 percent more fiber than flaxseed. Salba or chia
contains high levels of minerals like phosphorus, manganese
and potassium (twice as much as bananas, according to
Is Salba Safe?
Because it’s such a little-known ingredient, how can you be
sure salba is safe? The chia grain has a “novel foods” status
in the European Union for use in bread products, is
considered safe by the UK Food Standards Agency, and is
approved in the United States by the Food and Drug
Administration. Salba may not be good for people with
sesame or mustard seed allergies but there are no side
effects recorded for anyone else (apart from its unfortunate
tendency to get stuck in the teeth).
Salba Fights Diabetes
One of the major health claims attached to ancient grain
salba is its ability to help control diabetes, a valuable promise
considering the prediction that over half of all adults in the
United States will suffer from diabetes or pre-diabetes by
2020. Just how powerful is salba when it comes to
controlling diabetes and cutting diabetics’ risk of developing
heart disease? A 2007 study from St. Michael's Hospital,
Toronto, Canada, published in Diabetes Care, looked at salba’
s ability to improve major and emerging cardiovascular risk
factors in people with type 2 diabetes. Twenty participants
received either a third of a cup of salba or wheat bran over
12 weeks while continuing their diabetes treatment. Salba
reduced systolic blood pressure by 6.3 +/- 4 mmHg, high-
sensitivity C-reactive protein by 40 +/- 1.6 percent, and
vonWillebrand factor by 21 +/- 0.3 percent. Researchers
conclude that salba taken as a long-term supplement reduces
a major cardiovascular risk factor – systolic blood pressure –
as well as emerging risk factors that measure coagulation
and inflammation - C-reactive protein and vonWillebrand
factor – safely, while maintaining good glycemic control.
Another 2009 study on rats from the University of Litoral,
Santa Fe, Argentina found chia seed improved adiposity and
normalized insulin resistance in diabetics. A 2010 study from
St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Canada found that the fact
that salba reduced postprandial glycemia in healthy
participants, and prolonged the feeling of fullness, was a
possible explanation for these cardioprotective effects.
Salba Helps You Lose Weight
Manufacturers of salba supplements promise that elixir of
weight-loss if you consume the seeds – pounds dropped fast
and easy. But how accurate are salba’s weight-loss claims?
Salba is high in dietary fiber and promotes feelings of
‘fullness’ that may help you eat less. But rumors of the
seeds’ weight-loss power may be overblown. One 2009
study from Appalachian State University, Boone found chia
seed does not promote weight loss in overweight adults. In
the study 90 overweight or obese men and women ate chia
seeds or a placebo supplement mixed in water before their
first and last meal for 12 weeks. Eating chia seed had no
influence on body mass or composition after 12 weeks.
Salba Fights Constipation
Because salba is so high in fiber, it has a place in helping
fight constipation and regulating your body’s digestive
process. Fiber is not digested by humans and it helps your
intestines process the waste from your body, cutting down
the risk of constipation or blockages. The most effective way
of increasing fiber in your diet is to increase the amount of
fruit and vegetables you eat. However, if this is difficult to
achieve or you need an extra boost, grains like salba can
help. Scientific evidence on salba’s constipation-busting
power is not available at the moment but anecdotal evidence
points to its effectiveness.
So it seems salba may have a place in managing diabetes and
preventing cardiovascular risk associated with diabetes, as
well as keeping you regular. Whether it helps you lose
weight is another matter and the amount of pounds you
drop while eating salba will probably depend on your total
calorie intake and level of exercise rather than how much of
the grain you chow down on.
How Can I Use Salba?
Salba, in common with other grains, is a little bland in taste
but improves its flavor when lightly toasted or baked. Salba
on its own isn’t likely to replace your favorite meal, but it can
be added to dishes for a health boost. Salba seeds don’t
need to be crushed or ground, you can eat them as they are
and still pick up the same nutrients. A simple way to use
salba is to sprinkle the raw seeds on salads or cereal. Or try
salba seeds in a veggie stir fry or rice salad with olive oil,
ginger and garlic. You can also use ground salba to add to
the flour in recipes for bread, muffins, pie crusts or meatloaf.
Because salba is packed with fiber, when it is mixed with
water it expands dramatically to form a gel-like substance.
Use a third of a cup of salba seeds in two cups of water, mix
well, and leave the gel in the fridge. Add the salba gel to
smoothies or soups to increase the fiber, protein and mineral
content of your snack, or simply to a glass of OJ in the
morning. The versatile salba gel can also be used in place of
egg in cornbreads, custards and desserts or as a thickener in
Learn more healing foods to lower blood sugar, cholesterol
and improve your health. Red Yeast Rice Lowers Cholesterol -
New Study / Spirulina --Astronaut Food That Lowers
Cholestrol / Chimichurri-Top 8 Health Benefits/ Foods That
Shrink Your Waist /
"Natural Insulin Foods That Lower Blood Sugar / Healing
Quinoa --The New Superfood
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, Healthy Life
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