Health & Fitness

By Amy O'Connor

Chia seeds pack a mighty punch in a small package. ¼ the size of a grain of rice, pound for
pound, Chia has more Omega-3 fatty acids than salmon, more fiber than oatmeal, more protein
than tofu, more calcium than milk, and more magnesium than broccoli. The seeds can absorb more than nine times their weight in liquid, take on a gelatinous coating when added to a favorite drink or add crunch and texture when mixed into yogurt or cooked dishes. Chia is grown primarily in Mexico and Bolivia, and it’s easy to incorporate into your diet — especially now that you can find it in cereals, drinks and bars at your local grocery and health food store.

Why not start your day with a bowl of chia-infused cereal? Enjoy Life makes Perky’s Crunchy Flax with Chia, a pellet-shaped vegan cereal made with whole sorghum flour, golden flax flour and chia flour which means you get the benefits of whole grains, flax and chia and what’s so nice is that the cereal is crunchy but the pellets are smooth making for a nice mouth feel. Perky’s Crunch Flax with Chia is also gluten-free and made without the 8 most common allergens such as wheat and dairy.

Available online at http://www.vitacost.com and at Associated Supermarkets – see http://www.associatedsupermarkets.com for locations.

Health Warrior Chia Bars are a delicious and convenient way to get your chia fix. Two former NCAA Division 1 athletes created Health Warrior Chia Bars after reading about how the Tarahumara Indians ran up to one hundred miles barefoot on little more than a diet of chia seeds. Choose between Acai Berry, Coconut or Chocolate Peanut Butter, for just 100-110 calories these 100% natural, vegan bars are full of nutrients: 1000 mg Omega -3, 4 grams of fiber, and 3-4 grams of protein. Health Warrior Chia Bars are perfect for anyone as they’re gluten, dairy and soy free.

Available online at http://www.abesmarket.com and at Whole Foods – see http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com for locations

Drink Chia! was created by a mother of two who was training for a marathon and couldn’t find a good alternative to sugary, artificial sports drinks. Drink Chia! combines chia seeds which promote hydration and refreshing fruit flavors including Honeysuckle Pear, Mango Tangerine, Strawberry Citrus and “B Meyer” Lemon. Each 8 oz. bottle (recycled PET plastic) contains 880mg of omega-3, 290mg omega-6, and 100mg omega-9 as well as B-complex vitamins, zinc, selenium and niacin, tastes great and is only 40 calories. A perfect way to quench your thirst and get a chia boost on the go!

Available online at http://www.vitacost.com and at Reebok Sports Club 160 Columbus Ave 212-362-6800

Dr. Bob Arnot, bestselling author of books on nutrition and health topics has developed a three phase regimen described in his new book, The Aztec Diet that harnesses the superfood powers of chia for weight loss and increased energy. Dr. Arnot explains that chia which nourished the ancient Aztecs is anti-inflammatory, has a low carbohydrate load, is high in micronutrients and breaks down slowly in the stomach resulting in controlled blood sugar levels and an end to energy crashes and hunger cravings. Phase I of the plan lasts for two weeks and involves three chia shakes a day plus snacks such as low fat cheese or ½ a cup of quinoa and can lead to about ten pounds of weight loss. Phase II calls for two chia smoothies a day plus a healthy meal for lunch and lasts for six weeks. Phase III is a return to three healthy meals a day, and the book provides a variety of recipes and the inspiring stories of men and women who successfully followed The Aztec Diet and lost significant amounts of weight while improving their overall health.

Available online at http://www.amazon.com and at Barnes and Noble – see http://www.barnesandnoble.com

Originally published March 2013
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