Chia Seeds improve cholesterol profile, diabetes and high blood pressure
This entry was posted on March 13, 2012.
According to the Diabetic Society of Singapore, about 9% of the adult population in this country have diabetes, a chronic health condition when the body isn't processing sugar correctly and thus causing the blood sugar level to rise to unhealthy levels Diabetes can affect people of any age or race and is afflicting more than 2% of the population worldwide.
To someone with diabetes, blood sugar level control is very important and hence, making certain dietary changes is necessary. Carbohydrates can make the blood sugar level rise faster than fibers, proteins or fats. Diabetics should cut back on excess carbohydrate intake and include more of proteins and fibers which can help to keep their blood sugar levels in check. Chia seed is 16 percent protein, 31 percent fat, and 44 percent carbohydrate of which 38 percent is fiber. Most of chia's fat is the essential omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) - these fats are actually good for you. The body cannot produce this essential fatty acid and therefore must be consumed in the diet. According to a research by Dr. Luc Djousse of Harvard University, the consumption of Omega 3 fatty acids appeared to protect against diabetes. The doctor had suggested that omega-3s -- and particularly ALA -- might improve body cells' sensitivity to insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar.
Chia seeds are hydrophilic in nature, meaning they can absorb water many times their own weight. So when you consume chia seeds, they form a viscous gel, and this retards the processing of food in the body. This in turn regulates food absorption. It also slows down the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar, an essential factor concerning diabetes. Another added benefit of chia seeds is their ability to control insulin resistance. Insulin is the hormone that transports the sugar (glucose) from the blood into the muscles and the liver where it can be utilized by the body as fuel. With the insulin level in check, the sudden spikes in glucose levels are evened out, stabilizing the metabolism. Since the release of sugar is now controlled, you feel fuller and energetic for a longer period of time, thereby reducing food cravings.
A majority of people who suffer from diabetes suffer from type 2 diabetes, and it is more commonly seen in overweight people. Adding chia seeds to the diet is an excellent way to lose weight. Being rich in dietary fiber and with their tendency to retain water, they fill you up faster and suppress appetite for unhealthy snacks. Unlike other grains, even a small amount of chia seeds provides your body with enough fiber for a day. So including chia seeds is beneficial, especially for diabetics, as just eating a small quantity of fiber-rich food can aid in your weight loss efforts.
A lot of people suffering from diabetes also have high blood pressure and increase in cholesterol levels, a precursor to cardiovascular disease. Eating chia seeds provides your body with a healthy dose of ALA, alpha-linolenic acid, which can improve cardiovascular health. This fatty acid also helps prevent the deposit of cholesterol on the arteries, which can lead to atherosclerosis. Thus chia seeds lead to lesser amounts of fat accumulation in the body by keeping a check on the level of triglycerides and cholesterol.
With so many health benefits to boast of, it's hardly any wonder that these tiny chia seeds are the rage now in many health-conscious communities. But you should be aware that chia seeds alone cannot fight diabetes. Treating diabetes means making a lot of adjustments to your lifestyle and food habits. It is equally important to follow all medication as advised by your doctor and exercise on a regular basis. However the addition of chia seeds in your daily diet will go a long way in dealing with diabetes. You can eat them in a variety of ways, by means of a porridge, add them to your favorite juices and beverages or eating them raw just by sprinkling them over salads, soups, and yogurt. A powerhouse of nutrients, incorporating this superfood in your diet can definitely bring about a positive change in your overall health.
If you are consuming Organic Chia Seeds regularly, let us know how Chia Seeds have helped to boost your health! Just post a comment below.