Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Power of Chia Seeds

(No, not these chia seeds)

This past summer when I went to the supermarket to look for Chia seeds, I asked an employee if they sold them, and her response was "If we have them, they should be in the gardening section."  I was confused at first, because why would chia seeds be in the gardening section?  Then, I realized that she thought I meant Chia seeds, the ones that grow into Chia pets.

The Chia seeds I was looking for are the edible kind.  They come from the Salvia Hispanica plant, and although they are relatively unknown now, they are one of the best Superfoods that you can possibly eat.  Chia seeds are very small (around the same size as a sesame seed), have a dark color, and an oval shape.  

Chia seeds are full of inflammation fighting antioxidants and heart-healthful omega 3 fats.  They are also high in fiber, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.  In fact, they have about 6X the calcium found in milk!

[Yogurt sprinkled with Chia Seeds]

Another thing about Chia Seeds is that they absorb a lot of water, which causes them to increase in size.  This causes you to feel full, so if you are feeling an afternoon craving for some chips, instead have a yogurt sprinkled with chia seeds.  Because they absorb a lot of water, you might be feeling thirsty afterwards, so it is recommended to drink some water after eating chia seeds.

In addition to eating chia seeds by themselves, they can be sprinkled on yogurt, mixed with oatmeal, and blended with a smoothie.  Overall, chia seeds are one of the most versatile Superfoods available!

Source: Vegetarian Healing Foods cookbook 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Aloe-Ha! The Benefits of Aloe Vera.

Aloe Vera Plant

You may have used aloe before to treat a sunburn.  However, the benefits of this medicinal plant go more than skin deep.  Aloe's healing properties extend to internal ailments as well.  Aloe juice, derived form the fleshy pulp inside aloe vera leaves, may aid people with digestive disorders and type 2 diabetes, and may help boost the immune system.

Aloe contains digestive enzymes such as amylase and lipase,Vitamins C and E, and all eight essential amino acids.

Note: Aloe seems to increase the absorption of what you consume with it, so be careful when taking aloe with medications.

Unsweetened Aloe juice has a sour, slightly unripe flavor.  Adding a small amount of fruit juice can help dilute the taste of the aloe.