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What's Old Is New Again - Can You Say "Chia Pet?"

12/20/07

This Week In HealthBeat News:

  • What's Old Is New Again - Can You Say "Chia Pet?"
  • Fiber: Longevity Secret and More
  • More Questions About L-5-HTP and Paxil
  • Laughter is the best medicine: Age and Experience Beats Youth and Enthusiasm...

What's Old Is New Again - Can You Say "Chia Pet?"

By Nurse Mark

There's a new Kid On The Fiber Block... and his name is Salba.

Like you, our email has been bombarded with ads and claims and articles and come-on's for what is being touted as being a miracle food.

Well, I decided to do a little research - because we don't carry this "New Miracle Food" and I wanted to be sure that we were not missing out on something that would benefit our patients and customers.

You see, we had looked at Salba previously, and found that in our opinion it didn't have any clear advantages over tried-and-true flax seed. Yet now, with ad after ad and with pseudo-scientific 'come-on's" breathlessly trumpeting the wonders of this new offering, I just had to be sure.

I looked up Salba - it turns out that "Salba" is a made-up name; a trade name for Salvia hispanica
which is also known more traditionally (and popularly) as Chia Seed. Yep, the same stuff that your Chia Pet grows from... You won't find Salba listed in the USDA Nutritional Database, but you will find Chia seed. I then looked up Flax seed in the USDA Nutritional Database - I really wanted to be sure I was making a true comparison, with data from a respected source, so that I could be sure I was comparing apples and apples - not apples and oranges.

Various of these ads glowingly proclaim that "Salba's nutritional content leaves flaxseed in the dust. Gram for gram, it's got more Omega 3, more fiber and way more calcium and magnesium." That really got my attention.

Is that fact I wondered? Well, let's look at the advertising hype, and at the facts, according to the USDA:

More Omega 3? Nope - according to the USDA figures, Flax beats Salba for Omega 3's by a pretty good margin.

More Fiber? Yes, Salba does have a little more fiber per 100 grams - but at what cost? Salba's 37.7 grams of fiber comes at the price of 43.85 grams of carbohydrates - while flax, with 27.3 grams of fiber will cost you only 28.88 grams of carbs - much closer to the ideal 1:1 ratio of fiber to carbs. This might not make a difference if your weight is ideal, but it sure could make a big difference if you are on a low-carb diet...

Calcium? Yes, Salba has more. 'Way more. But should you rely on this for your daily calcium intake? Not hardly! We recommend at least 1000 mg of calcium daily, more for post-menopausal women. Our Maxi Multi contains 1000 mg of calcium and everybody should be taking Maxi Multi (or an equivalent multiple vitamin) every day.

Magnesium? Well, the USDA for some reason has not listed magnesium for chia (Salba) but looking at a Salba industry website (you knew that there would be a Salba growing industry didn't you... complete with growers "organizations" and lobby groups and advertising campaigns...) it looks like, according to their figures Salba has 383 mg of magnesium per 100 grams. The USDA does list this important mineral for flax seed - at 392 mg per 100 grams. Hmmm... sounds like somebody's math is off just a little bit... but again, neither food should be relied upon for one's daily intake of this mineral.

Better taste? That's an opinion call, but we haven't heard any complaints about the mild, buttery taste of flax.

Salba keeps for up to 5 years. So does Flax. But why would you keep something around that long without using it?

So what else is there to compare? Well, most of these ads tout the protein content of Salba - proclaiming "more protein than soy!" Well, so does flax. In fact, flax has over 3 grams more protein per 100 grams that Salba!

As for other nutrients, Salba claims to provide a whole bunch of goodness in the form of antioxidants and other valuable micronutrients - but then so does flax. Flax even provides a surprising 651 mcg of eye-healthy Lutein + zeaxanthin per 100 grams - something that Salba does not claim.

So what does Salba do that flax doesn't? It costs more!

One popular and respected internet source is selling Salba seed in 444gm (just less than 1 lb) bottles for $29.95. Yikes!

Flax seed can be found on our website at $6.49 per pound.

Let's see: Salba = $29.95 per pound, flax = 6.49 per pound.

So, is Salba bad or worthless? Of course not! It is a fine and valuable food, both nutrient and fiber rich. But then so is flax.

Is it worth over four-and-a-half times the cost of flax? Not in our opinion!

We are also "Endorsing Birdseed" - in the form of flax seed. We'll leave the chia seed in the Chia Pets where it belongs.

The chia seeds do have one benefit though - when they sprout on your Chia Pet they can be picked and eaten - they make a tasty addition to a fresh salad...

 
Nutrient Salba per 100 gm Flax per 100 gm
Energy 490 Kcal 534 Kcal
Carbohydrate 43.85 gm 28.88 gm
Protein 15.62 gm 18.29 gm
Fiber 37.7 gm 27.3 gm
Omega 3 (18:3) 17.550 gm 22.813 gm
Omega 6 (18:2) 5.785 gm 5.903 gm
Omega 9 (18:1) 2.007 gm 7.359 gm
Calcium 631 mg 255 mg
Phosphorus 948 mg 642 mg
Potassium 160 mg 813 mg
Zinc 3.49 mg 4.34 mg

All figures in this table are taken from the USDA National Nutrient Database http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/index.html

Fiber: Longevity Secret and More

By Nurse Mark

Fiber, the indigestible plant cell walls present in whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, is essential to healthy digestion and overall good health. Fiber is the part of plants and vegetables usually lost in processing. Fiber deficiencies are associated with numerous illnesses:

  • obesity
  • atherosclerosis
  • diabetes
  • gallstones
  • varicose veins
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • diverticulosis
  • irritable bowel
  • hemorrhoids
  • colon cancer
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • and MORE!

Long-lived cultures always eat a diet that is high in fiber. A minimum daily intake of fiber is 20 grams, and 40+ grams is felt to be healthier. The S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) contains less than 10 grams of fiber per day. Fiber supplementation is a wise health choice for anyone consuming less than 20 grams of fiber per day.

Dr. Myatt has been buried in the reference books, writing an exhaustive article - a medical "White Paper" - discussing fiber and it's relation to your health in great detail. The sneak preview is that there are going to be some very surprising revelations - things you never knew about the importance of fiber - and some great tips on increasing your fiber intake and improving your health. Her work is almost done - watch for this great article coming real soon!

Meanwhile, please visit our webpage on fiber and consider adding Maxi Fiber and / or flax seed to your diet today!

More Questions About L-5-HTP and Paxil

These questions arrive here with alarming frequency - it seems the first response of conventional medicine to any complaint of anxiety or depression is a prescription for a SSRI drug such as Paxil. This is invariably done without benefit of the information that a Neurotransmitter Profile test would provide.

Roberta Writes:

I am writing to you about an article in the November 30 newsletter regarding L5HTP. I am in my second month of Paxil and had wondered for a while about supplementing serotonin loss due to anxiety/depression. Thank you for the info in the article, I found it very informative. I have been experiencing panic attacks along with slight depressive symptoms for a while now and I didn't want to have any antidepressant prescribed to me. However, I do know that they have helped somewhat. I know you don't give medical advice without a consult and if this falls into that category, I apologize. I want to start taking L5HTP but am wondering if it is safe to do so with the Paxil. Any info you can give regarding this will be greatly appreciated.
Roberta in AZ

Well Roberta, it might be safe - but we cannot be certain without performing that Neurotransmitter Profile that I mentioned. You see, if your seratonin levels are low the Paxil is just making what seratonin you do have work overtime - not correcting the shortage. If on the other hand you are not low in natural seratonin and we add more on top of the already existing seratonin that the Paxil is keeping in circulation longer... well, too much could be a "not good" thing too!

As we mention on our website, on the page where we discuss L-5-HTP, we suggest that supplementation with L-5-HTP should be a part of every anti-aging program - it is that safe and beneficial - but with a drug like Paxil thrown into the mix, well, all bets are off!

Roberta, make an investment in health: perform a Neurotransmitter Profile and then arrange a consultation with Dr. Myatt to discuss the results and formulate a strategy for stopping the Paxil, correcting the neurotransmitter imbalances that have you feeling anxious and depressed, and getting yourself into the very best health you've ever enjoyed!

Hope this helps!
Nurse Mark

Laughter is Good Medicine: The Adventures Of Cuddles The Poodle Teach Us How Age and Experience Beats Youth and Enthusiasm...

A wealthy old lady decided to go on a photo safari in Africa, and took her faithful but aging poodle named Cuddles along for the company.

One day the poodle started chasing butterflies and before long, Cuddles discovered that he was lost. Wandering about, he noticed a leopard heading rapidly in his direction with the intention of having lunch.

The old poodle thought, "Oh, oh! I'm in deep doo-doo now!" Noticing some bones on the ground close by, he immediately settled down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat. Just as the leopard was about to leap the old poodle exclaimed loudly, "Boy, that was one delicious leopard! I wonder if there are any more around here?"

Hearing this, the young leopard halted his attack in mid-strike, a look of terror came over him and he slunk away into the trees. "Whew!", said the leopard, "That was close! That old poodle nearly had me!"

Meanwhile, a monkey who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree, figured he could put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the leopard. So off he went, but the old poodle saw him heading after the leopard with great speed, and figured that something must be up. The monkey soon caught up with the leopard, spilled the beans and struck a deal for himself with the leopard.

The young leopard was furious at being made a fool of and said, "Here, monkey, hop on my back and see what's going to happen to that conniving canine!

Now, the old poodle saw the leopard coming with the monkey on his back and thought "What am I going to do now?" - but instead of running, the dog sat down with his back to his attackers, pretending he hadn't seen them yet, and just when they came close enough to hear, the old poodle said.

"Where's that darned monkey? I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another leopard!"

Moral of this story....

Don't mess with the experience of years...age and treachery will always overcome youth and enthusiasm! Audacity and brilliance develop through age and experience.

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