Monday, September 30, 2013

Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

There's been a lot of hype about chia seeds lately. What are they? What are the health benefits? How the heck do you eat them?!

Let's jump into the research and see what these seeds can do for you!

What are Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds come from the desert plant "Salvia hispanica,"which is grown in Mexico.  They are powerful antioxidants that fight off free radicals in the body.

Fun fact: the word "chia" means strength and these tiny seeds were thought to be great energy boosters.

Health Benefits
Chia seeds are an excellent source of:
 -Omega-3 Fatty Acids (4,915mg per 1oz.); help to improve brain health and decrease inflammation in    the body.
 -Protein (4g per 1oz.); energy source; needed for muscle and blood formation.
 -Fiber (11g per 1oz.); helps improve digestive function; decreases inflammation in the body.
 -Calcium (18% of Daily Value in 1oz.); needed to keep bones healthy and prevent osteoporosis.
 -Phosphorus (27% of Daily Value in 1oz.; ); aids in energy metabolism; also needed for bone health.
 -Zinc (7% of Daily Value in 1oz.); boosts immune function.
 -Manganese (30% of Daily Value in 1oz.); essential mineral needed for bone formation; helps your body use essential B vitamins.

Research has shown chia seeds to help improve blood lipid levels (decreasing LDL and triglyceride levels) and decrease blood sugar spikes by slowing digestion.

How to Eat
There are many ways to eat chia seeds. They can be eaten raw (sprinkled on salads, cereal, sauces, vegetables, yogurt), baked in dishes (breads, muffins, etc), or  mixed with water to form a gel (good as an egg substitute).

To Use As An Egg Substitue
-Mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water. Let sit for 15 minutes.

Granola With Chia Seeds
-Combine: 1 cup oats, 2 tbsp chia seeds, 2 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spread evenly onto a sprayed baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees F for 15 minutes.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Top 5 Foods for Healthy Skin

Looking for a healthy skin boost? Try out these power-packed foods!

#1- Almonds
Almonds are a great source of Vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects your body from UV-induced free radical damage to the skin. Vitamin E has been shown to have anti-inflammatory roles in the skin and helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.  When combined with Vitamin A, Vitamin E has been shown to protect against skin cancer.
**Try out almond butter for a quick snack!

#2- Flaxseed
Flaxseed is a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which help to reduce inflammation in the body and promote healthy-looking skin. Omega-3s have been studied as a wrinkle fighter, due to their ability to attract water to skin cells and plump up the skin.
**Add some flaxseed to your next smoothie! 

#3- Cooked Tomatoes
Cooked tomatoes contain the phytochemical, Lycopene, which helps to eliminate skin-aging free radicals (cause by UV-rays). Lycopene improves skin’s texture by stabilizing the DNA structure in the nucleus of skin cells. Lycopene also inhibits the activity of the enzymes involved in collagen breakdown, thus, strengthening skin.
**Add tomatoes to a stir-fry!

#4- Spinach
Spinach is a great source of Folate (Vitamin B9), which is needed for healthy skin, hair, eyes, and liver function. Folate helps to repair and maintain DNA, which will boost your skin cells’ ability to renew themselves (decreases look of aging). 
**Try a spinach salad for lunch! 

#5- Tuna
Tuna contains the antioxidant, Selenium, which helps to buffer the skin against the sun. Selenium also helps to preserve elastin, a protein that that keeps your skin smooth and wrinkle-free.
**Add tuna to a salad or stir-fry!

Looking for ways to incorporate these skin-boosting foods? Try out the Spinach Salad below!

Spinach Salad
Mix 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp. lemon juice, 1 tsp. flaxseed, 1 clove garlic, salt and pepper in a small saucepan and heat until warm. Drizzle over 6 cups of baby spinach. Top with 1 can of tuna, ½ medium tomato (diced), and sliced almonds.