Archive for September, 2010

Inflammation Smackdown: Chia vs. Ibuprofen

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

The Lab

Inflammation is a biological response of the body to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens and other irritants. Inflammation represents an attempt to remove the negative stimuli and to begin the healing process. Without inflammation, wounds and infections wouldn’t heal. Unchecked, chronic inflammation can also lead to a host of diseases and for this reason inflammation is closely regulated by the body.

For athletes and those involved in an exercise program, inflammation is a common by-product of training. Inflammation can slow progress, cause loss of muscle mass, and increase body fat. Ironically, what we hope will help us become stronger, faster and healthier can also bring about results opposite to those we wish to achieve. All exercise and sports activities produce some level of inflammation.

How do we overcome inflammation due of strenuous exercise? One popular approach is the use of Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID’s) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxin, etc. Unfortunately, NSAID’s are not without side effects, such as reducing the flow of blood to the kidneys and therefore impairing their function.  They may also be linked to liver failure and intestinal hemorrhage.

Dr. David C. Nieman, the director of the Human Performance Lab at the Appalachian State University, is looking into methods other than ibuprofen for decreasing inflammation in runners. According to the Independent Tribune, Dr. Nieman believes that NSAID’s hurt the body (with the exception of aspirin):

We have shown that it actually causes bacteria to leave the colon and enter the blood stream, and that causes systemic inflammation and kidney dysfunction…Ibuprofen and heavy exercise do not mix.

Dr. Nieman has started looking into the effects of chia seeds on  overweight, post-menopausal women; women who tend to suffer some inflammation. Chia seeds are high in antioxidants, minerals, fiber and omega 3 fatty acids. In October he will perform the same study on cyclists. Participants will take 25 grams of chia seeds a day for 30 days. Cycling test sessions will be conducted at the beginning and end of the of the trial where various fitness tests will take place. Half the group will be taking the chia seeds and the other half will take a placebo. According to Dr. Nieman:

We will be able to better determine if there is an anti-inflammatory effect in these studies…So what we really are doing is taking this Chia seed research to an all new level that’s never been done before. This study will determine once and for all if the omega 3 fat in the Chia seed has benefits for obese people and athletes.

Needless to say, we’ll be keeping our eyes on this study and look forward to the results.

Athletes test for impact of Chia seed on inflammation

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Creative Commons License photo credit: lmpicard

Chia Seeds: The Best Source for Food Manufacturers

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

It’s been a busy month of September here at Ingredient Hotline. One development of note on the business side of things is our ability, starting this Spetember, to provide chia seeds to food manufacturers from warehouses within North America.

Chia seeds are one of the hottest trends in food right now. These tiny seeds are absolutely packed with nutritional value and have definitely hit the mainstream. Chia seeds are being extolled on television and in popular literature. Consumer demand for chia is growing. Given it’s properties and characteristics, it can be the perfect component for food applications wishing to leverage the growing desire for natural, healthy and functional ingredients. Awareness of chia seeds has been trending up at a remarkable pace in the last three years:

chia seed search trend

We are happy to announce that Ingredient Hotline is uniquely positioned to meet the needs of North American food manufacturers sourcing chia seeds. For the quantities and prices required by food producers, chia seeds are typically imported directly from South America. However, Ingredient Hotline can provide chia seeds in bulk at wholesale prices from within North America. Compared with alternative sources, we can:

  • provide shorter delivery and lead times
  • handle smaller quantity orders
  • ensure you avoid the hassles of importing into North America

For more information, contact us today!

How to Shop for Groceries: Lists Trump the Perimeter

Thursday, September 9th, 2010


One common technique for healthy grocery shopping is to shop the perimeter and avoid the center aisles. The reasoning behind this is that the healthiest and freshest foods are found on the perimeter of the grocery store while the processed foods are found in the middle. According to Medical News:

In most grocery stores, the aisles are filled with canned goods, frozen and boxed dinners that are loaded with fat and extra unnecessary calories…The perimeter features fruits, vegetables, lean meats and other healthy fair.

It’s a good rule of thumb, and you can even find guides on how to perimeter shop. But is it really the healthiest method of grocery shopping? Nutrition expert Karen Collins writes at MSN’s Diet & Fitness column:

…it’s not really true that everything in the center of the store is unhealthy. This is the spot for many unprocessed whole grains (whole-grain pasta, brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa), dried beans (either canned or uncooked), nuts, dried fruit, coffee and tea, and herbs and spices. And although it’s hard to go wrong in the produce department, the meat department contains both healthy options…and high-fat and processed meats that should not be standard fare for eating habits that help lower your risk of cancer and heart disease.

Vegan RD goes further, suggesting the whole concept of shopping the perimeter be thrown out the window. She provides great examples of unhealthy food which resides on the periphery such as hot dogs, canned dinner rolls and refrigerated cookie dough, as well as cakes and other sweets from the bakery. She also points out that some of the most healthy foods like whole grains, beans and seeds are to be found in the center aisles. As a vegan, she has a unique take on how this whole shop the perimeter meme took off:

I think the USDA made it up! After all, their job is to promote and protect the interests of animal agriculture, and they’re all placed at the perimeter. Consider this: all of those things need to be refrigerated, and it is most cost-effective for stores to house their refrigeration cases against the walls. How convenient for “experts” to advise folks to shop the refrigerators–meat, dairy, eggs, (and produce).

So what’s the best way to grocery shop if shopping the perimeter is not all it’s cut out to be? With a list. By preparing a shopping list of healthy foods ahead of time, and sticking to that list once in the store, you are pretty much assured that what you bring home from the grocery store will by good for you and avoid unhealthy impulse purchases. As a side benefit, if your list is thorough and organized by department, your trip to the grocery store is going to be a lot quicker!

Read More:
Shopping the Perimeter of the Grocery Store
How to Do Perimeter Shopping at the Grocery Store
“Shop the Perimeter”: My Theory

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Creative Commons License photo credit: krystian_o

Quick Bites for the Week Ending 2010-09-03

Friday, September 3rd, 2010
  • Quick Bites for the Week Ending 2010-08-27: Quinoa For Breakfast: As we’ve discussed before, quinoa has excellent … #

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