BENEFITS OF SUPER SEEDS: FLAX, HEMP, and CHIA

Let’s talk about seeds… why seeds you may ask? Why are they so important? Seeds are something we all should examine to take away their many nutritional benefits. I have heard somewhere that only 20% of Americans are aware of the health benefits of eating seeds (and actually eat them), and funny as it sounds, 20% of Americans are not obese. There are several ways I add them to my meals: in my shakes, on salads, in smoothies, on yogurt with fruit, on oatmeal, etc. Seeds are incredible!

So what is the big deal about seeds?  What impact do they offer to our bodies? Let’s explore that!

Flax Seeds

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Flax seed is a good source of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Flax seed can be eaten whole or ground up, but it’s easier to absorb the abundance of healthy nutrients in flax seed when it has been ground.

I did some research just to see what additional benefits that flax seed has to offer and found this:

Lower Cholesterol
Twenty grams of ground flax seed taken daily for 60 days caused a decrease in cholesterol that was about the same as the decrease caused by cholesterol-lowering statin drugs in a 2005 study published in a Romanian medical journal. The flax seed participants consumed lowered both overall cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels.

Cancer Prevention
Flax seed has also been shown to help protect people from prostate and breast cancer. In a study of 120 men in the “Journal of Clinical Oncology,” published as a supplement to the 2007 ASCO Annual Meeting Proceedings, those who added ground flax seed to their diet were better protected against prostate cancer than those who didn’t. Flax seed also has a beneficial effect on estrogen levels, which lowers the risk of breast cancer.
Boost Metabolism
The fatty acids in flax seed are also believed to help boost metabolism. Flax seed increases the body’s metabolic rate by upping the activity of brown fat cells, which are cells containing high levels of mitochondria that burn calories to produce body heat. Flax seed makes these brown fat cells utilize calories from other types of fat, according to Dr. William Sears, M.D., at the Ask Dr. Sears website.

Brain Building
According to Dr. Sears, the omega-3 fatty acids in flax seed are passed along from mother to child during pregnancy and breast-feeding and can help with the baby’s brain development during these essential periods of growth.

Women’s Health
Flax seed has been shown to be beneficial to women’s health. Hot flashes, common during menopause, decreased by 50 percent in women taking flax seed in a summer 2007 study in the “Journal of the Society for Integrative Oncology.” Preliminary research also indicates that flax seed may protect post-menopausal women from heart disease.

Lower Blood Pressure
A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids lowers blood pressure, according to data from a study by the International Study of Macro- and Micro-nutrients and Blood Pressure (INTERMAP) in 2007. The omega-3 in the diets of study participants came from a variety of sources, and the study authors indicated that omega-3s from vegetable sources, including flax seed, had the same effect as those from fish. Flax seed has 3.41g of omega-3 fatty acids in each 2-tbsp. serving, which is 146 percent of the recommended daily value

 

Hemp Seeds

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Vitamin E Effects
Hemp seeds are a source of vitamin E, which can help to boost immune function and alleviate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, according to the University of Michigan. Vitamin E also has a role in red blood cell formation in your body, and helps your body utilize vitamin K, which helps your blood stick together, or coagulate, according to the National Institutes of Health.

EFA Benefits
Hemp seeds are rich in essential fatty acids. The oil in the seeds is a source of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, ALA, as well as omega-6 fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid, or GLA, advises the University of Michigan. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation in your body. They also may lower risk for cancer, heart disease and arthritis, advise the experts at the University of Maryland Medical Center. These fatty acids also are important for your brain performance and memory. GLA also may be an inflammation fighter, according to UMMC. In fact, GLA might reduce your nerve pain symptoms if you are diabetic.

Other Benefits
Hemp seeds can help you if you are constipated because they act as a bulk-forming laxative, according to the University of Michigan. Bulk-forming laxatives can improve the frequency and consistency of stools, according to M. Borgia, lead author for a study published in the Journal of International Medical Research. Hemp seeds also traditionally are used to treat atherosclerosis, eczema and attention deficient-hyperactive disorder, according to the University of Michigan. However, scientific evidence to back these uses lags, the school advises.

Chia Seeds

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According to numerous health books and websites, chia seeds are apparently REALLY healthy for you. Chia seeds are low in calories, very filling, and they have a tapioca texture when soaked in water. They are a diet’s best friend.

“Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family that grows abundantly in southern Mexico. You may have seen chia sprouts growing on the novelty planters called Chia Pets, but historically, the seeds have been the most important part of the plant. In pre-Columbian times they were a main component of the Aztec and Mayan diets and were the basic survival ration of Aztec warriors. I’ve read that one tablespoon was believed to sustain an individual for 24 hours. The Aztecs also used chia medicinally to stimulate saliva flow and to relieve joint pain and sore skin.” – Quoted from Dr.Weil.

Accprding to Health Warrior, chia seeds are high in Omega 3 fatty acids, proteins, antioxidants, fiber, potassium and magnesium. Chia seeds aid in digestive function, prevents constipation, helps to control the appetite, and are known to give energy to those who eat them. They are also used to help with weight reduction and may even help lower risks of heart disease, arthritis and cancer.

Resources for research:
Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/167905-what-are-the-benefits-of-hemp-seeds/#ixzz2eLLwyeMF
Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/90990-benefits-ground-flax-seed/#ixzz2eLLDoflQ


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