Chia Seeds May Improve Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels

English: Chia (Salvia columbariae) seeds Franç...

English: Chia (Salvia columbariae) seeds Français : Akènes de Chia (Salvia columbariae) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chia seeds are actually a part of the mint family. They originated in Central America and were a common element in the Aztec diet. Researchers have been examining the health value of incorporating chia seeds into our diets because they contain a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, calcium, zinc and iron.

Since the study of chia seeds is really just beginning, there isn’t a lot of scientific literature available to substantiate the ability of  these seeds to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels and decrease blood pressure. Most of what does exist is either studies on animals or human studies with a small base of participants.

One such study published in February of this year evaluated the ability of the fatty acid α-linolenic acid contained in chia seeds to lessen the effects of a high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet, or what the researchers called an H diet, in rats . All the animals participating in the study were placed on the H diet for eight weeks. After this cycle, a group of rats were randomly selected to be given 5 percent chia seeds for eight weeks in addition to the foods they were eating on the H diet.

The researchers found that the rats eating chia seeds had:

  • better insulin sensitivity
  • less belly fat
  • lower incidence of fatty liver
  • decreased cardiac and liver inflammation and scarring without any change in the level of fat in the plasma or blood pressure
  • redistributed the way fats circulated through the body in a way that protected the heart and liver

The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends the following ways to eat chia seeds:

“Chia seeds can be eaten raw or prepared in a number of dishes. Sprinkle ground or whole chia seeds on cereal, rice, yogurt or vegetables. In Mexico, a dish called chia fresco is made by soaking chia seeds in fruit juice or water. Chia seeds are very absorbent and develop a gelatinous texture when soaked in water making it easy to mix them into cooked cereal or other dishes.

The seeds are not the only important part of the chia plant; the sprouts are also edible. Try adding them to salads, sandwiches and other dishes.”

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~ by chasm63 on October 24, 2012.

2 Responses to “Chia Seeds May Improve Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels”

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