Posts Tagged ‘chia’

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!

Could You, Would You On A Train?

Monday, August 16th, 2010

It’s the 50th anniversary of Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham and that’s a special anniversary for this book considering that Dr. Seuss only used 50 words to write the book! Believe it or not, but the book actually came into being when Bennett Cerf, Dr. Seuss’s publisher, wagered $50 that Seuss could not write a book using only fifty different words. The book became the fourth best selling english children’s book of all time. It’s also an especially fitting book for us, being based the idea of trying something new: like yaconquinoa and chia!

Here’s ABC News on Green Eggs and Ham turning 50:

Dr. Seuss’ ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ Turns 50

We’d also like to give a shout out to our friend Jim who pointed us to this story!

I do so like
green eggs and ham!
Thank you!
Thank you,
Sam-I-am

Delicious Smoothies

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Smoothie Ingredients

Supposedly the making of pureed fruit beverages, or smoothies, in North America goes back to the 1930′s and were originally based on recipes from Brazil. A smoothie is a blended, often chilled, beverage made from fresh fruit. Sometimes they contain crushed ice, frozen fruit, yogurt or sweeteners. Some smoothies are just fruit! One thing smoothies shouldn’t contain is milk (otherwise it’s a milkshake!).

Here’s how we make our morning smoothies at Ingredient Hotline. Put the following in a blender:

  • 1 fresh banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup orange juice (or to taste)
  • 1/2 cup plain unsweetened yogurt (or to taste)
  • tablespoon chia seeds

This result is nicely chilled because of the frozen berries. Besides pumping up the nutritional value, the chia also acts as a thickener. It’s quick, easy and delicious! Kids love it, and we didn’t need to add sugar.

Do you have a special smoothie recipe of your own? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Chia Seeds Improve Hair Growth?

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Chia Head

I suppose we all want to look good. Thick, healthy, beautiful hair is a big part of having an attractive appearance. This is probably one reason why hair care products have the highest sales volume of all non-food items in the United States. It’s estimated that the hair care market in the United States is worth over $6 billion!

Now I’m not so sure chia is the natural Rogaine, however, equestrians have been using chia seeds for some time to naturally provide horses with a healthier skin and coat, and to promote strong hoof growth. So does it have the same effect with human hair? According to a recent article by Alexsis Grovenor:

If you want to ensure you always have healthy hair you should follow a routine. In much the same way you have a skin care regime you should have a hair care regime. In order to have lovely hair you need to use a hair loss product or hair growth product to treat the hair. However, you should go one step further by taking a daily supplement. Chia seeds contain all the goodness your body needs to produce healthy hair.

We’re going to leave this one alone! However, as we’ve noted before, chia is pretty amazing. It’s gaining a lot of attention as a nutritional powerhouse. We think it’s a great candidate for use in food applications, providing a boost in nutritional content. And who knows, maybe it’ll help with that bald spot!

Chia Seeds for Natural Hair Growth

Creative Commons License photo credit: andydr

Could Chia Seeds Help Ease Depression?

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

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A significant portion of our population suffer from major depression at some point in their lives. A recent study conducted at the University of Montreal, McGill University in Montreal, Laval University in Quebec City and Queen’s University in Kingston has shown that omega-3 supplements help patients with major depression (excluding those with anxiety disorders). The double blind study had half of the participants taking three capsules a day of an omega-3 supplement containing fish oil over an eight week period and the other half taking a placebo. According to the CBC:

The study found that the supplement helped about half of the sample of patients — those who had depression without anxiety disorders…The researchers could not say if food with omega-3, such as fish, would have the same effect, because their test involved only the supplement form.

The consumption of omega-3 is already a growing trend amongst those in search of a diet that may help improve cardiovascular health, strengthen the nervous system and stop cell aging. Chia seeds are the superior vegetarian source of omega-3 since it contains 18 grams of α-linolenic acid for every 100 grams of seeds. It is also felt that vegetarian sources provide other benefits over fish as a source of this essential fatty acid. Others go further in linking the relief of depression to chia:

The omega-3 fatty acids found in chia seeds has shown some success in the relief of depression symptoms. Research has shown that deficiencies in omega-3 fatty acids are contributing factors in many mood disorders, depression among them. Supplements rich in omega-3 fatty acids have shown promising results in many who suffer such disorders, decreasing symptoms substantially in some cases.

Chia seeds can easily be added to a variety of food applications such as salads, yogurt, soups, cereal, and even drinks, without altering the original flavor.

By the way, we are not medical professionals. This is simply an interesting study result that we’d like to pass on – yet another potential benefit of chia. People with major depression should discuss the use of omega-3 with their physicians before supplementing their diets with the unsaturated fatty acid.

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Omega-3 eases depression: study

Chia Seeds Featured on CNBC

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Chia seeds have been featured this week on CNBC, where they wonder whether chia is the next big superfood. Chia isn’t mainstream yet, but has a growing following amongst the nutritionist and health community. Thanks to Christopher McDougall’s book Born to Run, which describes the use of chia in a drink called iskiate, long distance runners and other athletes are beginning to extol the virtues of this amazing seed. According to CNBC:

The next superfood though is a name you might know: Chia seeds. Yep, the very same seeds that you spread over your kitchen pet are now valued as a superfood…its filled with fiber, potassium and antioxidants, and it’s good for athletes of endurance sports because it holds water well.

Here’s the video segment:

Mentions of chia in the mainstream press should bump demand. It’s a versatile seed that food manufacturers might consider using in some of their products to leverage this growing awareness amongst consumers. If you’re a manufacturer looking into chia, we can help you with your application and supply both standard, and certified organic chia. Contact us to arrange for a sample. Consumers can purchase chia both online and in a growing number of traditional retail outlets.

Chia: a Remedy for Acid Reflux

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Day 141- H's Sick Day
Acid reflux, the main cause of heartburn and acid indigestion, is the abnormal backward flow of stomach acid to the esophagus. The typical symptom is a burning sensation in the chest, just behind the breastbone. The blog Diabetes War claims that chia is an effective remedy against acid reflux.

As we’ve noted before, chia seeds have some rather amazing qualities, among them being high in omega-3, antioxidants, protein and calcium. Chia seeds can absorb about 12 times their weight in liquid. By adding water to chia seeds, a gel is formed around the seeds and it becomes a nutritious, filling drink, which helps decrease appetite. Iskiate is a beverage that leverages this effect, and is well known by long distance runners. According to Diabetes War:

Drinking a third cup of chia gel at the onset of acid reflux can eliminate it for many people. Try drinking that much three times a day. It might prevent acid reflux from occurring at all. I know of people who swallow a teaspoon of raw seeds if they experience acid reflux. The seeds absorb the acid just as they do water…it is rich in mucilloid soluble fiber, thus allowing it to quell the burning pain of acid reflux in the esophagus and stomach.

Have you ever tried using chia as a remedy for heartburn? How else have you used chia in your diet? Let us know in the comments!

Creative Commons License photo credit: Jinx!

Iskiate

Friday, November 13th, 2009

In his bestselling book Born To Run – A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, Christopher McDougall describes iskiate as the “Red Bull” beverage for the Tarahumara tribe of Mexico. The Tarahumara are reknown for their long distance running ability. McDougall describes iskiate:

It’s brewed up by dissolving chia seeds in water with a little sugar and a squirt of lime. In terms of nutritional content, a tablespoon of chia is like a smoothie made from salmon, spinach, and human growth hormone. As tiny as those seeds are, they’re superpacked with omega-3s, omega-6s, protein, calcium, iron, zinc, fiber, and antioxidents…you couldn’t do much better than chia, at least if you were interested in building muscle, lowering cholesterol, and reducing your risk of heart disease…

Source: Born To Run.

Iskiate is refreshing and said to be a great source of replenishment after any kind of exertion. Thanks in large part to the book, long distance runners and other athletes are now using iskiate to rejuvenate after a workout. I recommend reading Born To Run, and I also recommend trying out iskiate! It’s quite easy to prepare at home. Check out how simple it is in the video below:

Chia seeds can be purchased retail at many places, including Whole Foods in the United States and the Bulk Barn in Canada. For larger quantities of Chia, contact Ingredient Hotline and we’d be happy to help you with your wholesale needs.

For more on Born To Run, you can check out the official fan site. You may also like to read more about chia and iskiate: