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Ancient Chia Grain Makes a Comeback

Published: June 2, 2010

I am interested in the hopefully beneficial health effects of Salba. I read about the chia product in the Post some months ago. This supplement sounded wonderful, but only a few health stores carry it, and it is expensive. Bottom line: Is it worth the price?

Jerry
Florida

The tiny seed of the Salvia hispanica L. plant, better known as chia and widely available online, is surprisingly nutritious. Sprinkling 2 tablespoons of Salba (a commerical chia seed product studied at the University of Toronto) on a serving of hot cereal, yogurt, and other food adds about 3.6 grams of omega-3s and 6 grams of fiber, along with calcium, iron, magnesium, and other nutrients to one’s diet. Using whole seeds costs about $1 a day. Grinding the seeds at home makes one bottle last longer. So far, clinical evidence for the grain’s health effects is limited, but preliminary data suggest possible benefits for allergies, athletic performance, heart health, and appetite control. A January 2010 study of healthy volunteers published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition concludes that Salba supplementation may protect heart health by blunting the rise in blood sugar levels after eating. The new findings may help explain Salba’s cardioprotective effect that was noted in an earlier trial of type 2 diabetics. Some people must limit their potassium intake. One banana has about 450 mg of potassium; in comparison, 2 tablespoons of Salba contains 123 mg. For more information, visit salba.info or call 888-499-8665.

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