Most of us don't get enough fiber, minerals or Omega 3 fats in our daily diet. The solution may lie in some super food seeds. Nancy Naeve Brown went to the Avera Heart Hospital to get the lowdown on the showdown between chia and flax.
Food and Nutrition Services Director Joanne Shearer at the Avera Heart Hospital is encouraging all of us to add chia seeds to our health arsenal. Although they are the latest health craze, these little black seeds that look like pepper, have been around a really long time.
Joanne says, "Chia seed is an ancient grain and it's a super food that grows abundantly in South Mexico and it was very popular in the diets of Aztecs and Mayan Indians because it provided that super energy for warriors and so it was one of those food prized by cultures."
Both chia and flax seeds are good for your blood vessels and preventing heart disease.
Joanne says, "Both chia and flax have similar nutritional benefits they are high in Omega 3 fats, high in fiber, it's also high in minerals but when you break it all down the chia is taking the lead."
As Joanne said, chia is high in dietary soluble fiber. You can mix it with water and drink it, or sprinkle it on salads (any kinds of green salads), incorporate in your baking, add it to your yogurt parfaits or mix it with granola.
Joanne says, "That kind of fiber, sticky gummy fiber forms a gel in your stomach and slows down the emptying of the stomach. It also slows down how quickly your carbohydrates convert into glucose or sugar and that's a good thing."
Sugar not burned off turns to fat.
I gave it a swig and I have to tell you it doesn't taste like anything which is good because that means if you add it to your food it won't change the taste, but it you drink the chia gel feels like liquid Jell-O in your mouth.
Joanne says, "Chia seeds are fairly mild and flavorless I think. It doesn't alter the taste of the food and it doesn't need to be ground like flax. Flax is more nutty tasting so it takes longer to get used to."
A down side to the tiny sized super seed; chia costs 3 times as much as flax. If you can stomach the cost, it's probably the best choice; dietitians just want to plant the seed for you to incorporate these seeds for the sake of your heart.
You should get one to two tablespoons of chia or flax a day. Both can be found at the Pomegranate market at 57th and Louise or the HyVee's in Sioux Falls.