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Food for Life - Caribbean -Chia Seeds

.Salvia hispanica, commonly known as Chia, is an erect, branched herb with bright green, ovate, pointed leaves that can grow up to 1.2m x 0.4m. In summer, blue flowers are produced in dense racemes at the end of each stem. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs). Salvia hispanica is adaptable to most well drained soils and prefers a protected, sunny position.

Today Salvia hispanica is grown commercially for its extremely nutritious seeds — it is a high protein, high energy food with enzyme action (aiding in food digestion). Salvia hispanica seed typically contains 20% protein, 34% oil, 25% dietary fibre (mostly soluble with high molecular weight), amino acids and significant levels of antioxidants (chlorogenic and caffeic acids, myricetin, quercetin, and kaempferol flavonols). The oil is very rich in omega-3, 6 and 9 essential fatty acids — the same Omega 3 fats that are found in ocean fish and eggs. The seeds yield 25-30% extractable oil, mostly a-linolenic acid (ALA).

Seeds can be eaten raw (just like sunflower seeds and nuts) Ground Salvia hispanica seed can be made into flour (usually in a mix with other cereal flours)

Salvia hispanica seed is a thirst quencher and survival food. One tablespoon of seed is sufficient to sustain a person doing hard labour for 24 hours.

Salvia hispanica reduces blood glucose levels and helps to regulate blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease in diabetics.

They calculated that 100g of Salvia hispanica seeds contain:

  • The same amount of omega-3 essential fatty acids as 28 ounces of salmon;
  • As much calcium as 3 cups of milk;
  • As much iron as five cups of raw spinach.
  • Salvia hispanica seed is also rich in dietary fibre and it is gluten-free.
  • Just 12 grams of seed provides more than five grams of dietary fibre - about the same as in 1-¼ cups of All-Bran cereal.
  • They found that the seeds contain high levels of magnesium and more antioxidants than many berries.

Dr. Vuksan's study tracked 20 otherwise healthy diabetic patients for 12 weeks. His team ground the seeds into flour and baked it into bread, which was served to the diabetics. They were also given additional amounts to sprinkle on food they ate at home. Their total intake was approximately 37 grams (three to four tablespoons of Salvia hispanica seeds) a day.

The 20 diabetics then had their blood measured for a variety of changes.

  • The researchers noted a slight drop in blood glucose
  • More importantly, the seeds made their blood thinner and less prone to clotting - a risk factor for heart attacks and stroke;
  • Lowered levels of internal inflammation as measured by C-reactive protein, a protein produced by the liver.
  • Reduced blood pressure, lowering systolic blood pressure, on average, by six points mmHg (millimetres of mercury).
Information sourced from http://herbgarden.co.za



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