Raw Cacao Nibs
Made from crushed cacao beans, these raw nibs are the original unsweetened chocolate chip. Cocoa nibs are crunchy and very flavorful. Cacao has more antioxidant flavonoids than any food tested so far, including blueberries, red wine, and black and green teas. In fact, it has up to four times the quantity of antioxidants found in green tea!
We start by rough grinding the seeds. Flax, a relatively new term to most health-conscious individuals, has a much longer history than one would expect. Archaeologists date the consumption of flax back to 9,000 BC. In 650 BC, Hippocrates wrote of flax’s value in the treatment of abdominal pains. And in the 8th century, the medieval King Charlemagne was so convinced of flax’s importance to good health that he passed laws requiring his subjects to consume it regularly.
This blue-flowered crop has proven to be quite versatile, and aside from its textile uses, can be used as an ingredient in many healthy recipes. Flax is used to make linen and fine quality papers, as lamp oil and as an ingredient in a variety of food products and supplements. The use of flax in the diet is showing more and more promise in many health conditions like cancer, arthritis, diabetes and menopause. Even more promising is the role of flax in heart disease prevention.
Potential Benefits of Flax in Fighting Heart-Disease
Around 42% of flaxseed’s calories come from total fat. This total fat is comprised of a mix of different fatty acids: 73% polyunsaturated fat, 18% monounsaturated fat and only 9% saturated fat. What makes this so beneficial to heart health is that the majority of the polyunsaturated fat contained in flax is in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is an essential fatty acid (meaning the human body cannot create this fat from others and must get it from foods) and a precursor to the heart-disease fighting long-chain omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Flaxseed is the richest source of ALA in the North American diet and has many potential heart-disease fighting benefits:
- Reduces blood triglyceride values.
- Neutral effect on the good cholesterol, HDL.
- Reduces blood pressure.
- Reduces platelet aggregation (clot formation) within arterial lining.
- Reduces inflammatory response.
- May protect against stroke.
In addition to being the best plant source for the essential fatty acids, flaxseed is also an excellent source of soluble (viscous) and insoluble fibers, lignans (a phytoestrogen found to help protect against certain cancers), high quality protein and potassium. Because of the soluble fiber component in flaxseed, various researchers have also revealed that flax can modestly reduce both total and LDL (bad) cholesterol values.
Chia (Salvia hispanica) – 10 Health Benefits of This Superfood
1. Supports Heart HealthChia seeds can help reduce blood pressure. The seeds contain one of the highest known plant sources of essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6). EFAs cannot be synthesized by our bodies however, it is very important that we get enough to support our immune, cardiovascular, nervous and reproductive systems. EFA deficiency is quite common in North America.
2. Stabilizes Blood SugarChia seeds slow down the rate at which complex carbohydrates are digested and then assimilated into the body. The soluble fiber helps to stabilize blood glucose levels resulting in steady, sustained energy. In one study on diabetic patients, Dr. Vladamir Vuksan of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, found that blood was thinner and less prone to clotting and blood pressure of participants dropped significantly, after three months of taking Chia seeds daily.
3. EnergizingThe word “Chia” comes from the Mayan language and means strength. Chia seeds are a balanced blend of protein, carbohydrates, fats and fiber. It is said that 1 tablespoon of Chia can sustain a person for 24 hours. Athletes have reported that Chia seeds help them perform at optimal levels for much longer periods of time.
4. Anti-Inflammatory Properties A number of arthritis sufferers have reported reduced pain and inflammation after a few weeks of taking Chia seeds. The high concentration of omega-3 helps to lubricate joints and keep them supple. Additionally, Omega-3s are converted into prostaglandins which are known to have both pain relieving and anti-inflammatory effects.
5. Weight LossThe essential fatty acids contained in Chia seeds helps to boost metabolism and promote lean muscle mass. The seeds are sometimes added to food to provide bulk and nutrients while adding very few calories. For these reasons, many people have found Chia quite useful in weight loss and weight maintenance.
6. Detoxification and EliminationSimilar to psyllium, the swelling action of Chia in the body helps to cleanse and soothe the colon, and absorb toxins while lubricating and strengthening peristaltic action.
7. High Quality ProteinChia seeds contain about 20% protein, a higher percentage than found in many other grains such as wheat and rice. Chia seeds contain strontium which helps to assimilate protein and produce high energy.
8. AntioxidantsChia seeds are an excellent source of antioxidants containing even more antioxidants than fresh blueberries. The high amounts of antioxidants in Chia seeds also keeps the oils from going rancid – contributing to a long shelf life.
9. Provides Fiber and Other NutrientsBesides EFAs, Chia seeds also provide fiber, iron, calcium, niacin, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus. 2 tablespoons of Chia = 7 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein, 205 milligrams of calcium, 5 grams omega-3
10. Brain PowerEFAs are known to make cell membranes more flexible and efficient making nutrients more readily available and nerve transmission more efficient. This helps to improve brain function (including memory and concentration).