By E Mike Lewis
The ancient chia or as it is known by its scientific name salvia hispanica was one of four traditional crops grown by the Mayans and Aztecs of Mexico. Amongst the cocoa, corn, and cotton they grew chia is the only crop that met all daily nutritional needs. It is amazingly rich in macronutrients with one ounce serving containing less than 2 net carbohydrate grams, 8.72 grams of dietary fat, and 4.43 grams of muscle building protein. While chia seed is known to be an amazing source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids it also delivers the important nutrients of calcium, phosphorus, and manganese.
A single ounce provides 18% of the USDA’s minimum suggested amount of calcium. The traditional source of calcium in the diet for most Americans is milk. We all know that milk is an excellent source of calcium and that calcium is necessary to prevent osteoporosis, especially as the body ages. However recent studies have linked calcium consumption with the body’s ability to burn fat. Turns out the proper amount of calcium in the body promotes the use of body fat for energy, not storage.
A single ounce of chia seed provides 27% of the USDA’s minimum suggested amount of phosphorus. Phosphorus and calcium work to help build and repair bones. That is right calcium alone will not prevent osteoporosis the body also needs phosphorus. Phosphorus is also a necessary ingredient for the body to metabolize nutrients into energy. Without it, the body cannot produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate) a critical energy source for muscles.
A single ounce of chia seed provides 30% of the USDA’s minimum suggested amount of manganese. Much like calcium depends on phosphorus for preventing osteoporosis it also depends on manganese. Manganese helps to build bone cells, which repair the skeleton. Manganese is necessary for the production of collagen which is vitally important for the body to heal wounds like cuts and abrasions. Manganese has a direct effect on the pituitary gland making it a necessary nutrient to prevent and combat Parkinson’s disease.
Without calcium, phosphorus, and manganese, the body cannot effectively prevent osteoporosis, produce energy, combat body fat, nor repair itself. The Mayans knew that the chia seed was vital to human well being. That is way it was a valuable crop. Simply adding chia seed to the daily diet will help ensure the body receives these valuable nutrients.
Chia seed provides a wonderful low carbohydrate food source to ones diet while delivering a tremendous volume of essential nutrients. When following a low carbohydrate diet it can be difficult to get sufficient calcium, manganese, and phosphorous. The chia seed is dense with these nutrients in addition to providing exceptional density per ounce in fat, protein, and fiber carbohydrates. You can find lots of ideas for cooking with chia seeds at http://www.chiaseedrecipesblog.com.
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