Omega-3 & 6 Supplement Lifts Reading Scores Amongst Children By 64 Percent

Omega-3 & 6 Supplement Lifts Reading Scores Amongst Children By 64 Percent
Omega-3 & 6 Supplement Lifts Reading Scores Amongst Children By 64 Percent

Children given an Omega-3 & 6 supplement show significant improvement in reading ability in just three months.

A randomised control clinical trial (RCT) by scientists at the University of Gothenberg in Sweden is the first to confirm that Omega-3/6 supplementation benefits children in mainstream school, not just those with behavioural or learning difficulties

Children given Equazen demonstrated a five times improvement in decoding nonsense words and 8% better visual analysis in comparison to a placebo group receiving a dummy pill

The clinical study is being showcased just before the Education Show at NEC Birmingham along with new UK research that shows 84% of children sometimes struggle with homework, with 54% of parents saying children today are under more pressure to perform academically

Encouraging more children to supplement their diet with omega-3/6 could be the key to boosting reading ability, according to new RCT study by scientists at the University of Gothenberg in Sweden. The clinical study is the first to confirm that omega-3/6 supplementation with Equazen will benefit all children, and not just those with behavioural or learning difficulties.

 

As part of the research study, the reading ability of 154 children who were split into two equally matched groups were assessed with half receiving Equazen and the other half receiving a placebo (dummy pill). Those receiving the supplement showed 64 per cent greater improvement in reading than the placebo group. The time they took to decode nonsense words showed five times the improvement of the control group and their visual analysis was 8 per cent ahead.

The results revealed a significant learning gap between the children taking the supplement and those receiving the dummy pill, with those who had taken the Omega-3/6 supplement (Equazen) experiencing major improvements in reading in just three months. In particular, children with attention issues showed treatment benefits.

The clinical study holds substantial value in the UK where a new survey finds that four out of five (84 per cent) children sometimes struggle with their homework putting families under intense pressure.

With over half of parents admitting their children are under more pressure to perform academically and are being tested more frequently than they ever were, Omega-3 supplementation has a significant potential to help relieve both parents and children of some of the homework stress.

Additionally, the survey has found that fewer than half (44%) of the children in this latest research survey read a book before bedtime and when they do read, attention spans are short.

On average, children concentrate on a book for just 30 minutes and one in eight (13%) can manage no more than 10 minutes. Only 13% are happy to read for an hour or more. This is in stark contrast to the time they can spend at a screen. On average, they can concentrate on their favourite computer game for 53 minutes — almost twice the time they will happily spend with a book. Similarly, just over a quarter (27%) can concentrate on a computer game for an hour or more, compared to a mere 13% who will focus on a book for that time.

So why is that the case? Dr. Hilary Jones joins us to discuss.

Patient Talk:- Can you tell us about the fatty supplements and why they are needed in our diets?

Dr Hilary Jones:- Essential fatty acids are essential for human health and we can’t make them in our bodies so we have to get them from our diet and they’re particularly important in terms of brain function and heart health. For example a growing baby, in the last trimester of pregnancy and until the first year of life, the brain is growing by 260%. 60% of the brain is fat, a high proportion of that is DHA, one of the Omega 3 fatty acids. So it’s essential the babies in the womb and mothers are provided with sufficient quantities of essential fatty acids in their diet and we know from a growing body of evidence that its importance, not just in cognitive function in childhood and as we grow older, it is important in protecting the heart against a number of disorders.

Patient Talk:- How the research conducted and what was were the main results from it?

Dr Hilary Jones:- Well this particular research was conducted on Ecquazen, a supplement with Omega 3 and 6 a particular ratio by weight, so a 9:3:1 ratio. The research on this supplement showed that in a randomised controlled clinical trial by the University of Gothemburg in Sweden, that they were able to increase reading comprehension scores by 64%, in just three months of taking the supplements. What they did was they divided the children into two groups; one group who took the supplements for three months and the other group who just took a placebo. The doctors were double blinded, they didn’t know what the children were taking and they got these significant results. Furthermore, they then swapped the groups around so the children taking the placebo group, took the supplement and they too, showed a significant improvement in reading comprehension, so it was a very well designed study and it’s been peer reviewed and published and its very convincing evidence, after a long line of other research suggesting that it’s not just children with diagnosed learning difficulties but mainstream children with no identifiable problems that can benefit in terms of reading and cognitive skills.

Patient Talk:- What are the best sources of Omega 3 and 6 that occur naturally?

Dr Hilary Jones:- Well, by far the best source is oily fish. Fish like herring, salmon, tuna, mackerel, pilchards, sardines and unfortunately it is difficult to get children to enjoy those foods and even amongst adults, particularly the UK, the US and other developed countries in the world, we know that many, many people, probably more than 95% are deficient in adequate levels of Omega 3.

Patient Talk:- Now are dietary supplements a good or bad idea for children, compared to a diet?

Dr Hilary Jones:- In an ideal world, you would get everything you need from a healthy, well balanced diet, but we don’t live in that ideal world. It is difficult to get affordable, plentiful oily fish, even if you can get children to eat it, so sometimes it is worth looking at supplements, provided they’re from a good sustainable source and they’re researched, they come from a reputable company and what you get on the tin, is exactly what it says it contains and you know it’s safe, then I think something you take (unclear wording) is very well worthwhile, particularly when we know from a survey carried out by Equazen, so many parents are worried about whether their children are getting the stimulation they need to maximise their education and maximise their concentration and reading skills. Even with good tuition, one in ten people in parts of the UK are paying for private tuition on top of their school education so clearly there is a worry that we are not doing what we can currently to maximise our children’s potential.

Patient Talk:- Now are there any risks associated with too much omega 3 and 6 in a diet?

Dr Hilary Jones:- No, you’d have to take very huge quantities, to even remotely come anywhere near causing side effects and I certainly have never met a patient that developed side effects as a result of taking too many Omega 3’s.

Ground-breaking new study finds clear nutritional differences between organic and non-organic milk and meat

Tim Field of Daylesford
Tim Field of Daylesford

A new study published today in the British Journal of Nutrition shows organic milk and meat contain around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than non-organic.  In addition to organic milk and meat, the nutritional differences also apply to organic dairy like butter, cream, cheese and yoghurt. The study is the largest systematic reviews of its kind and led by Newcastle University and an international team of experts.
Key findings:

  • Both organic milk (dairy) and meat contain around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than conventionally produced products
  • Organic meat had slightly lower concentrations of two saturated fats linked to heart disease
  • Organic milk and dairy contains 40% more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) – CLA has been linked to a range of health benefits including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and obesity, but evidence is mainly from animal studies
  • Organic milk and dairy contains slightly higher concentrations of iron, Vitamin E and some carotenoids
  • Organic milk contains less iodine than non-organic milk

Joining us to explain why the research and its findings are so significant is Environmental Scientist, Tim Field from Daylesford (an Organic Farm in Gloucestershire).

Patient Talk – So what does Organic actually mean and how would it apply to live

stock and dairy?

Field – Organic is a way of farming, is a way producing food and eating, Organic is actually set in European regulations so that there is a law that determines what is actually organic and what is not and in essence the philosophy of organic is that you are farming or producing food within nature rather than artificially pushing the limits within the environment with lots of artificial inputs, so its farming with nature and as a result you have got a more natural product coming out of the other end. The way it applies to live stock and dairy is one of the same thing, dairy cattle, beef cattle, sheep and so on they are ruminants and they turn grass and forage into milk and or muscle very effectively, they are used to grazing the plains of wherever they might of come from and turning that into energy and so an organic system utilises that rumen of the ruminant and turns that grass and the clover into milk and meat, whereas in an non organic system there is the capacity that for lots of high energy and high protein feeds like maize or soya so be feeding the cattle or the sheep or live stock to produce that milk and protein and that is less natural than to the way it would of evolved originally.


Patient Talk – Ok and what are the nutritional differences between organic and non-organic produce?

Field – Well the outstanding nutritional difference that we see form this landmark report is the 47% omega 3  fatty acids in the meat and dairy and 40% more Conjugated acid in the dairy so that is significant difference between organic and non-organic and that is head line stuff and that is actually proving what we at Daylesford . We believe there is a difference, there is a difference in taste and that transpires into nutritional value as well.

Patient Talk – And how would a scientist account for the difference?

Field – So the difference here is that organic regulations is that you have to produce dairy and livestock with a lot of pasture , with a lot of grass and clover in their diet and it is actually the clover that they believe is accountable for this increased omega 3 fatty acid so this sort of free range to graze, a natural diet is where the benefits are seen.

Patient Talk – And could you tell us a bit about the research, how is was conducted, what were the results and are there other studies which various out the results?

Field  – So the research was conducted by a team up in Newcastle University and a broad range of international scientists headed up by Professor Carlo Leifert and what they did was they took all the research that had been done, analysing the difference between organic and non-organic, all that different research and different reports from across the world and they have done some very cleaver statistics to work out what the overall difference is in a nut shell between organic and non-organic and they have come out with all sorts of different nutritional findings and the overall way to explain is more of the good stuff and less of the bad, so as I mentioned the key headline figure is 47% more omega 3 fatty acids and more linolenic acid as well.

Patient Talk – And what medical conditions might benefit from organic produce?

Field – Well there is increasing evidence to suggest that more of the omega 3 fatty acids and potentially less of the omega 6 fatty acids, so if you get a better ratio rather than dominant omega 6 in the diet, if there is a better balance of that there is beneficial implications on cardiovascular disease prevention, some cancers and dementia. There is still a lot of   work being done in that area but that is the main benefits and increasingly in western diets we have been pushing up the amount of omega 6 fatty acid and reducing our intake of oily fish like sardines, mackerel and salmon and they are a great source of omega 3 fatty acid. So if you can get more omega 3 in your milk, beef, chicken, lamb and pork that is a good way of compensating to some degree the lack of oily fish that we are getting in our diets.

Patient Talk –  Do they fit into the paleo diet and how does the paleo diet work?

Field  – That is a very good question and I am not an advisor on nutrition parse but ,my understanding of a paleo diet is that  it is a lot less processed food, there is less meat in it, fish comes before meat in that pecking order and there is a lot of fruit and vegetables and less cereals as well. Paleo is as it suggests ‘ancient, this is what our ancestors the caveman would of run around eating ‘so how this fits into the paleo diet, it fits in like a glove its very interesting so if you look at game, venison, wild game and pigeon they have a much higher omega 3 fatty acid level and that is because they are roaming, they are grazing and brazing all these different herbs and grasses and seeds and so on , and that’s how it fits in with this more natural way of rearing beef, lamb and dairy and so on. So it fits in very nicely but what’s interesting is that I heard Carlo say earlier was that this is about getting the same amount of calories, you’re eating the same amount of calories but you are getting a much bigger bang for your buck in your calories so you are getting more nutritional benefit from the same calorie intake which for my mind in the diet that works pretty well.

Patient Talk – Why is organic more expensive?

Field  – Well that is a very interesting question and I would argue that actually organic is cheaper when you factor in the broad spectrum of benefits and adverse implications of the food system so on the shelf there are plenty of examples out there where organic is a bit more expensive, there are actually examples of where organic is cheaper if you are buying direct form a producer, I know that the dale organic strawberries or bagged salads, they are all sort of examples where we are very competitive with some of the supermarket conventional brands and so yes there’s a little bit of disparity in some cases. But actually when you start looking at the way organic farming is done, it’s a sort of self-sufficient model, you’re trying to use the natural energy, the sunlight, and so on, your soils, and your natural ecology on your farm to produce the food, and so you don’t waste anything and you’re not bringing lots of inputs in. that in itself is quite a good model because you’re not paying lots of money out to buy in things. But also you’re not wasting through pollution, through degradation of the soils, through excessive nitrogen into the crops and pesticides and so on. You’re not bringing in all those inputs you’ve got to pay only to watch them wash away into the rivers an cause flooding, cause the water companies to have to treat their water even more. So conventional practices don’t always factor in the knock on cost to the consumer, whether that’s insurance premiums, whether it’s the NHS bill, or whether it’s the risk to antibiotics from over using antibiotics in livestock systems were not factoring those costs. So I would argue that actually if you factored all the costs in, that organic to that average citizen is less expensive.

Patient Talk –  And Tim, do you think it will really take off?

Field  – I really strongly believe that it does and it will and it is taking off. This is high street stuff now, this is no longer left to the niche shops and the hippies, this is mainstream. And a lot of people are going for dairy and eggs and chicken for organic because they strongly believe that the welfare is better in the organic system and that is categorically true. And so it really is beginning to take off, but I should say that we shouldn’t be polarizing organic and non-organic because there’s an awful lot lot of very good non organic farmers out there, particularly in the UK where we’ve got very good grass and a very natural environment for producing red meat and good dairy. So there’s a lot of conventional farmers out there that are adopting a lot of organic practices but perhaps haven’t gone that final mile to get certification from the likes of the soil association but as the demand for organic grows, because people recognize the health benefits and so on, I think we’ll see this little rush of farmers, getting that premium for their produce. And actually it’s a much more stable farming economy where you’re reducing your inputs and getting a little bit of a premium from your product.

Patient Talk –  Okay and Tim, do you have anywhere people can go for more information at all, a website?

Field  – Absolutely, there’s some great places to find out more. Daylesford Organic has a very interesting website that’s got a lot about the way that we produce organic food, that’s venison, that’s lamb, that’s chickens, that’s laying hens, organic fruit and vegetables as well and the soil association have some very interesting sound bites from this report that they’ve condensed into a little summary and then the Newcastle University also have the full report on their website for those more academics of us.

Green-lipped Mussel Extract = Could this be a treatment for arthritis?

Given our ageing population, osteoarthritis is the most common arthritic disorder affecting the greatest number of people in the UK with more than eight million people estimated to be affected.

Green Lippled Mussels - a treatment for arthritis?
Green Lippled Mussels – a treatment for arthritis?

A couple of weeks ago I received a press release which, I have to say, bowled me a googly, but which did deserve a bit more investigation. Simply put the press release (which I have pretty much reproduced verbatim below) suggested that green-lipped mussel extract (GLME) can be used as a treatment for arthritis.

They very kindly gave me the opportunity to interview John Croft, a New Zealand marine scientist and one of the world’s leading experts on the life cycle of the green lipped mussel who have written extensively on GLME as a treatment for arthritis.

You can read my interview below as well.

Now I have no idea how well GLME works so if you have used it to treat arthritis then it would be great if you shared your story in the comments section below.

Arthritic disorders are one of the most significant causes of debilitating mobility and pain problems. Thanks very much.

So first up the PR story.

The number of people who have arthritis is thought to have risen four fold over 50 years and by 2030, it is estimated that 67 million adults will have doctor diagnosed arthritis with 37% of those estimated to report arthritis related activity limitations.

20% of adults in the UK consult their GP each year with a musculoskeletal problem accounting for one in six consultations, 8.8 million physiotherapy consultations and over 3.5 million calls per year to emergency services. The demands on the NHS are already considerable with experts predicting an unsustainable weight in years to come.

There are now more people over 60 years of age than there are children under five. Ensuring a quality of life for an ageing population is key. Prevention or cure for joint degeneration is not possible however, in many cases the progression can be slowed down. Knowing what treatments are best to take to maintain a lifestyle is well debated especially with some pain relieving products causing stomach discomfort and other side effects for a number of people that take them.

One such alternative which has been extensively researched is green-lipped mussel extract (GLME) which is the basis for a new book by renowned marine scientist, John Croft. John’s review, ‘Arthritis and Aging, Solutions from the Sea’ explores more than 40 years of international research into the use of marine based compounds in human and animal health. The findings within John’s review have particular relevance for sufferers of chronic rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and age-related degenerative disease.

John’s published review has indicated that the specific nature of GLME – known as Seatone in the UK – may help inhibit age related joint degeneration and may help reduce inflammation, pain and joint immobility caused by arthritic disorders.

Osteoarthritis isn’t just an age-related condition however and can also affect people with physically demanding lifestyles.

Joining Croft for the interview was Dr Chris Steele from ITV’s This Morning.

PATIENT TALK: Dr Chris first, what exactly is arthritis and what are the symptoms?

Steele – Arthritis is basically in an inflammation of a joint, and most of us will know somebody with arthritis – normally osteoarthritis – which is the most common form of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a condition of wear and tear and inflammation in the joint that comes on over time and is more common in people over 55.

PATIENT TALK – What is the difference between as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and other forms such as gout?

Steele – Well there are many different types of arthritis, and it does get complicated.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a different type of disease process altogether. It’s not the wear and tear of osteoarthritis but a condition known as an autoimmune disease where the body attacks its own tissue – and we are not sure why. It tends to affect the joints of the fingers , wrist and the toes. Interestingly it tends to affect both sides. It is symmetrical and women are more affected than men. It also comes on in a younger age group, so 20 – 50 years of age.

PATIENT TALK – Is fibromyalgia a form of arthritis?

Steele – Myalgia means pain in the muscles, and fibro refers to fibres: tissues, tendons, ligaments etc. So with fibromyalgia you have got the inflammation or tenderness of muscles, tendons and ligaments which can cause acute tender spots, specific spots all over the body. It can cause fatigue, sleep disturbance and is one of those conditions for which there is no test: they can’t test you and say, ‘yes, the test is positive – you’ve got fibromyalgia’. But a lot of people suffer the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

PATIENT TALK – And what are the typical treatments for arthritis at the moment?

Steele – Well, basically if you have “twinges in your hinges”, pain in your knees and joints, and are over 55 years old, you will just try and help yourself – take some painkillers or stronger anti- inflammatory tablets you can get over the counter.

If you are not getting much response then you should probably be going to see your G.P who can give you something stronger or maybe a different type of medication, maybe get some physiotherapy booked for you and then see how it goes. But alongside all of this, a lot of people will look for alternative or complementary therapy even before they get to the G.P by just trying to help themselves.

PATIENT TALK – John, tell us about your research into arthritis and the possible benefits of this substance called ‘Green Lipped Mussel Extract?’

Croft – This dates back to 1972 in New Zealand. It was there that we learned that the green lipped mussel had anti- inflammatory properties and so we began the research with the University of Auckland and the department of medicine there.

They were able to make a powder from the extract which actually did work and helped both human and animal subjects. It has been in clinical trials in several countries. My contribution has also been on the laboratory side, finding out precisely how it works , what it does to help alleviate the symptoms of arthritic disorder, and now also with age-related joint degeneration.

PATIENT TALK – Can you tell us a little bit more about how you think it works?

Croft – What we now know is that has range of anti-inflammatory properties, the main one is due to carbohydrate component in the muscles which inhibits the immune cells, the white cells, in the blood stream from escaping, being over-excited, out of balance and attacking our own tissues, attacking good cells instead of just antigens.

The green mussel extract also contains omega 3 fatty acids naturally, which inhibit the components that actually cause the degeneration of cartilage in the joint.

PATIENT TALK – How long do you have to take it for before it starts to work?

Croft – For most people it takes 4 – 6 weeks for it to start working, slowly and progressively. The maximum time would be 12 weeks. If it hasn’t worked for someone in 12 weeks-time, well then it’s probably not suitable for that person.

PATIENT TALK – And have you taken this yourself?

Croft – I have taken it for the last 16 years because of my age, I’ve never had arthritis but I’ve now got age-related joint degeneration simply by growing old and I’m fully fit, I’m fully mobile and pain free, I’m grateful to say.

PATIENT TALK – What are the cost implications? Is this potentially an expensive treatment, or is it something that could be made available on the NHS?

Croft: I have no idea what it costs in the UK. I know what it costs in New Zealand, and it doesn’t seem expensive to me. I do know that you cannot get it on prescription. It is not a prescription item, but doctors can actually ask people or suggest that people try it.

PATIENT TALK – Would it also help with fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis?

Croft: For rheumatoid arthritis, the anti-inflammatory compound in it can help there with chronic rheumatoid, not acute. With fibromyalgia, I can’t really comment as we have never looked at that disorder.

PATIENT TALK – Thank you both very much.

7 Superfoods That Improve Heart Health – a guest post by Meighan Sembrano


Superfoods have been around throughout the history, but it was only recently when scientists
Superfoods
Superfoods
realized their true power and beneficial effects on our health. They have the ability to improve our brain power, prevent cancer, and boost our heart health. In this article, we will discuss heart-healthy superfoods that you should introduce into your everyday menu.

  • Blueberries

Blueberries and berries, in general, belong to the group of the healthiest foods you can eat. Blueberries are both extremely delicious and rich in antioxidants that reduce the buildup of LDL (bad) cholesterol in artery walls. Otherwise, LDL cholesterol would keep building up and cause various cardiovascular diseases. The reason blueberries are included in first place of our list is because, studies that were conducted at the USDA Human Nutrition Center revealed that blueberries rank as #1 in best antioxidant activity when compared to other fresh fruits and vegetables.

Also, the recent study revealed that women who ate more than three servings of blueberries per week had a 32% lower risk of getting the heart attack. It is recommended to eat one cup of blueberries a day.

  • Beans

Beans are one of the most underrated superfoods. However, black, kidney, and pinto beans have a high level of soluble fibers that are beneficial for our heart health. Also, beans aid in lowering high cholesterol levels and they don’t contain saturated fats. After all, high cholesterol is the leading cause of heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, another great benefit of beans for your heart health is the face it acts as an appetite suppressor. When you eat beans you feel full for a longer period, you don’t eat as much and manage to maintain your weight. Gaining weight and even obesity are a great threat to your heart health.

  • Spinach

Spinach and other green leafy vegetables are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that protect your body from cardiovascular diseases. Most people don’t know that spinach is a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids too, which is another reason you should include it into your diet after all Popeye ate all that spinach for nothing. Moreover, Spinach is rich in folate that helps reduce the blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine. High level of this amino acid is an emerging risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease.

  • Salmon

Meighan Sembrano
Meighan Sembrano
When we’re talking about heart health, it is impossible to leave out glorious salmon. This fish is the best source of Omega 3 fatty acids that are essential for our body. Omega 3 fatty acids reduce the risk of developing various cardiovascular diseases by lowering levels of triglycerides (blood fats that are associated with diabetes and heart diseases). Additionally, some researchers showed that Omega 3 fatty acids prevent blood clots by making preventing platelets clump together and stick to artery walls.

American Heart Association recommends eating two 3 to 6 or servings of salmon at least two times a week.

Video: Also Watch: Benefits of omega 3 fatty acids.

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  • Dark chocolate

This is great news for all chocoholics out there. Naturally, this doesn’t mean you should buy a regular chocolate bar you eat every day. Instead, you should opt for a dark alternative. Various studies showed that dark chocolate can, indeed, benefit our heart health due to its flavonoids that reduce inflammation and improve blood circulation. British Medical Journal published findings of the study that showed that consumption of dark chocolate reduces heart attack (and even stroke) for people that are high at risk of getting cardiovascular disease.

Dark chocolate is defined as chocolate that contains at least 60 to 70% of cocoa. It is recommended to eat a square or two a day.

  • Nuts

Walnuts, pecans, cashews and other nuts are good sources of Omega 3 fatty acids. Also, nuts prevent dangerous heart rhythms, reduce the risk of blood clots, lower LDL cholesterol in the blood and prevent various cardiovascular diseases. To improve your heart health and avoid gaining weight in the abdominal area, you should an ounce of nuts a day as a replacement to usual sugary snacks.

  • Oatmeal

A half-cup of oatmeal a day contains about 130 calories while providing our body with 5 grams of heart-healthy fiber that lowers cholesterol and keeps our maintains our healthy body weight. Also, oatmeal makes you feel full which means you won’t be tempted to eat unhealthy foods or snacks. Moreover, oatmeal and whole grains lower the risk of diabetes that is, actually, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It’s important to eat whole grains, instead of refined ones if you want to get all these healthy benefits from the food.

Conclusion

With the introduction of superfoods from this article into your diet, you will lower the risk of getting various cardiovascular diseases. The best thing of all, these foods are just as delicious as they are healthy.

References

 

 

 

 

Author bio:

 

Meighan Sembrano is an author at Consumer Health Digest. She has a keen interest in writing. She has contributed many beauty related articles in many popular websites. She has done her Mass Communication degree. She now lives in Washington DC. She is a social worker who spends her free time searching about life, healthy, beauty and lifestyle fitness related articles. She is fond of travelling and trekking. To know more about her, follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Chia Seeds – Find out more about this amazing Superfood


Chia seeds
Chia seeds

As many of you will know I’m rather partial to what are called superfoods.  While, it seems, there is no formal definition of Superfood the terms is, typically, used to describe foodstuffs which have a high nutrient value.  Therefore offering greater health benefits than the run of the mill stuff we often eat.

In fact superfoods are still a bone of contention in our house.  My wife claims I secretly grated broccoli, which she hates, on her food while she was pregnant with our first child.

For more background on superfoods please have a look at http://patienttalk.org/?p=276 .  It includes links to pro and anti superfoods discussions.

But to return to the point of the blog.  Last week my wife returned home brandishing a copy of a magazine which gave a recipe for a dish which included something called chia seeds.  Which, according to the article, were superfoods?  “What on earth are Chia seeds?” I exclaimed.   To which I received the traditional “search me” look.

So I decided it was my duty, as a healthcare blogger, to find out more about the health benefits of chia seeds.  Indeed in America the chia craze has been going for a few years but it seems that Europe is about to catch up.

Chia is a member of the mint family which grows in Latin America.   Apparently   it was  a staple of Aztec and Mayan cooking. However it is the seeds themselves which are of particular interest.  Chia seeds contain:-

a)      More Omega 3 fatty acids than salmon.

b)      A great source of antioxidants.  You can read up on antioxidants here http://patienttalk.org/?p=252

c)       Very high in dietary fibre

d)      A source of calcium and iron and a number of B vitamins

e)      May lower cholesterol and help prevent heart disease

Chai seeds are often used by athletes and a table spoon of the seeds has been described as the equivalent of a smoothie of salmon and spinach.

So how do you take it?  Well it is a common addition to smoothies and health drinks.  Have a look at http://patienttalk.org/?p=638 for more info.

The downside of chai seeds is the cost.  But if they take off we can only hope it will come down.

In fact today is going to be the first time I’ve tried chai seeds.  I’ll be using this recipe for BLACK BEAN SOUP WITH SUPER CHIA GARNISH for Stylist Magazine which can be found here http://www.stylist.co.uk/life/recipes/black-bean-soup-with-super-chia-garnish.  Once we have tried it I’ll give you an update.  Given that I love black beans I’m sure I’ll be a fan.

If you have used chia seeds it would be great if you can tell us how you found them using the comments box.  If you have any recipes then please share them as well

Many thanks in advance.