Do you remember the once famous Chia pet? To create a Chia pet, moistened chia seeds were spread over the surface of a terra cotta figurine in the shape of an animal. After watering the seeds, the figurine would grow “hair” in the form of chia sprouts to resemble animal fur. This phenomenon delighted many a child during the 1980s. It now appears that the chia is making a resurgence and gaining new fame; this time for its reported health benefits. The same seeds that grew hair on the Chia pet appear to have some noteworthy health properties. After continuously replanting the best seed from the chia, a nutritionally superior form of white chia seed was created which is now being marketed under the trademarked name of Salba. What are the health benefits of Salba that make it so remarkable?
Health Benefits of Salba: It’s rich in omega-3’s
Salba is claimed to be one of the richest sources of omega-3’s found in nature, containing up to eight times as many omega-3’s as salmon. Omega-3’s have been recognized for their ability to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as potentially reduce the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. With the exception of flaxseed, there are few good vegetarian sources of omega-3’s. Salba fills in this gap by providing a vegetarian source of these important polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Health Benefits of Salba: It may help diabetes
A study published in the journal Diabetes Care showed that regular intake of Salba seeds by a group of Type 2 diabetics reduced blood pressure, blood clotting factors, as well as inflammatory markers, potentially reducing their risk of developing heart disease. The diabetics in this study consumed about a third of a cup of Salva seeds each day.
Health Benefits of Salba: It’s rich in fiber
Salba has twenty-five percent more fiber than flaxseed, another fiber rich source that’s high in omega-3’s. Just two tablespoons of Salba provides almost a-third of the daily fiber requirement.
Health Benefits of Salba: It’s rich in important minerals
Salba is rich in calcium and magnesium, two minerals that play an important role in preserving bone health and maintaining a healthy blood pressure. It’s also an excellent source of iron. Salba has up to six times the amount of calcium found in a single glass of milk.
Health Benefits of Salba: It’s high in protein
Salba contains protein that’s easily absorbed and utilized by the body; plus it has all of the essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source.
Other Health Benefits of Salba
Salba also a good source of vitamin C and is rich in heart-healthy antioxidants. It’s more expensive than standard chia seeds, but may be worth the price because of its higher protein and omega-3 content. A less expensive option would be to buy generic chia seeds which are readily available at most health food stores and natural food markets. The seeds can be sprinkled on salads or added to soups and smoothies. Although rather bland in taste, the seeds have a nutty flavor when lightly baked. Adding a tablespoon or two to cereal in the morning may be a quick and easy way to boost health.