5 Healthy & Fun Facts About Chia Seeds

Chia seeds maybe one of the hidden nutrition gems in the health and wellness industry. For those unfamiliar, chia is an edible, whole-grain seed that originates from  Salvia hispanica, a historical Mexican plant that dates back to the 16th century. They are rich in protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and tons of fiber!

Here are a few fun facts about chia seeds and why you need to include them in your diet if you’re not already doing so:

1. Fiber: Chia seeds are very rich in fiber, packing a whopping 11 grams per ounce, which is about one-third of the daily recommended intake. Fiber, as we all know, aids in maintenance of the digestive system, elimination of toxic waste from the body and avoiding curbing food cravings because of their ability to keep you full faster. Basically they prevent you from overeating.

2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: By now many of us know the role healthy fats play in keeping our organs functioning at a high level. Omega-3 fatty acids is one of such healthy fats and they can be found in chia seeds as well. About 5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids can be found in an ounce of chia seeds, more than the amount in a single salmon. Remember our bodies can’t manufacture omega-3 fatty acids so we must obtain them from outside sources.

3. Protein: One ounce of chia seeds is also packed with nearly 5 grams of protein, making it another great source of protein for exercisers and fitness enthusiasts. Protein, as we all know, is an essential macronutrient for the development of lean tissue and maintenance of muscle and bone.

4. Calcium & Joint Pain: Consumption of chia seeds has been linked to reduction of osteoporosis and arthritic conditions in some people. This is due to its moderately-high calcium content of about 20 percent of the daily recommended intake. Those who are lactose-intolerant or those looking for a dairy-free calcium source can look to chia seeds as an alternative.

5. The Best Type: You can pick up chia seeds in most supermarkets or via www.nuts.com, a great site for all types of healthy nuts and seeds. However I prefer Nature’s Intent Organic Chia Seeds. It is certified organic by the USDA and also gluten-free, making a staple for those with gluten sensitivity. Whole Foods and Costco have organic versions of chia seeds.

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Chia seeds can be mixed with and sprinkled over cereals, oatmeal, beans, protein shakes and other beverages, cottage cheese, yogurt and pudding. They can also be used as an additive in baking snacks and foods or can simply be eaten raw.

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5 interesting facts about caffeine

Walk into any coffee shop during the morning work commute rush and you’re bound to see long lines of people eagerly waiting to ingest some caffeine into their systems. As an avid coffee drinker myself, the lines at these coffee shops amusingly make us look like a bunch of wild, thirsty zombies looking to devour on fresh blood. Maybe its addiction but coffee consumption has become an essential part of the American way of living, thanks in large part of its superb boosting effects on the body. Caffeinated drinks like RedBull and coffee have been linked to exercise performance enhancement. People are often seen in gyms sipping on these beverages during their workouts. The truth is caffeine is here to stay and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Here are 5 interesting facts about caffeine:

1). Caffeine Reigns Supreme: Research shows that approximately 90 percent of Americans consume caffeine in one form or another everyday and over 50 percent of American adults consume over 300 milligrams of caffeine each day. So many of us rely on coffee to help jumpstart our day and can feel withdrawn and cranky without it sometimes. Annual coffee revenue alone in America is about $30 billion with another $70 million coming from soft beverages and drinks. Caffeine is by far America’s most popular drug.

2). Easy Access: Caffeine is the most readily available drug choice of Americans and the numbers back it up. About 75 percent of the caffeine consumption of the average American comes from coffee. Coffee shops and sales continue to skyrocket across the nation. This chart breaks down the numbers over the last decade and projects a bright future. More than 15,000 coffee shops were established between 2002 and 2014 and the numbers are only going to get better. However easy access sometimes means too much caffeine consumption which has been linked to nausea, insomnia, upset stomach and fast heartbeat.

3). Performance Enhancement: Up until the 90’s, caffeine was thought to have no impact on exercise and athletic performance. However several studies since then have proven otherwise and today many people consume coffee prior to their workouts. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) concluded in a research that caffeine consumption enhances performance in long, endurance exercises (running, group exercise class, etc) and short, intense activities (1RM test, 3 sets of barbell squat, etc). Studies on the impact of coffee on moderately-intense workouts (full body, split routine, etc) lasting more than 30 minutes remain inconclusive. Though many of the preworkout supplements used by weightlifters contain caffeine, it is the other powerful ingredients like arginine and nitric oxide that make them highly effective.

4). Diuretic & Dehydration: Too much consumption of caffeinated beverages will not cause dehydration, like many studies show. Lack of sufficient water is the main cause for dehydration. However ingestion of coffee and other beverages does act as a diuretic on the body. Though water is also a diuretic, drinking too much coffee and not enough water could lead to dehydration and potentially affect exercise performance. Some bodybuilders and bikini athletes rely on the natural diuretic benefits of coffee in shedding excess water weight from their bodies rather than take diuretic supplements. Whatever fluid you consume via caffeinated beverages is generally offset with fluid that  is lost via urination.

5). Darker Isn’t Necessarily Stronger: Contrary to what many coffee drinkers think, dark roast coffee does not contain more caffeine than light roast coffee. In fact, it is the other way around. During preparation of the dark roast coffee, the beans are left to roast under the fire for a very long time thus stripping away majority of the caffeine content. The dark in dark roast is usually a result of the burn accumulated. In light roast coffee, the beans only cook for a short amount of time in order to preserve a vast majority of the coffee. Keep in mind that the amount of creamer and sugar you put in your coffee can impact the effectiveness of the caffeine.