Chia seeds

chia seedsWhat’s Good About Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds (Salvia hispanica) are rich in Omega-3 ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one ounce of these amazing seeds contains about 5 grams of Omega-3 ALA, which has numerous health benefits.

Chia seeds are packed with fiber and protein and they are also gluten-free. Their ability to absorb water makes them useful as a thickener in stews, soups and casseroles. They come in three colors –  black, white and red.

According to the SIGHI list of “Histamine Potential of Foods and Additives”, which is one of the authorities on which our own food list is based, chia seeds are compatible with a low histamine diet.

How to Make “Chia Eggs”

You can use chia seeds as a vegan egg replacement in cooking. To prepare a chia egg, begin by grinding some chia seeds in a food processor such as a coffee grinder. It’s best to freshly grind your own seeds rather than to buy pre-ground seeds from a store.

To make the equivalent of one hen’s egg, whisk 1 tablespoon of ground chia seed into 3 tablespoons of water in a small bowl.

Thoroughly combine the water and ground chia seeds, then place them in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to set.  When that time has elapsed, the seeds should look like a sticky, eggy mass. Use them as you would use eggs, in baking.

Never eat dry chia seeds, because they naturally absorb water. Eating them dry is dangerous – that may absorb water in the esophagus and swell, causing an obstruction.

How to Make “Chia Pudding”

 Soak chia seeds overnight in your favorite low-histamine milk or brewed rooibos tea.  (Keep the mixture refrigerated). In the morning the seeds will have absorbed some of the liquid and swelled to become a delicious, creamy dessert. Add chopped mangoes, figs, a sprinkle of sugar, a dash of allspice or any other tasty low-histamine ingredients of your choice and voila, you have a delicious, nutritious pudding!

 

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Hemp seed

hemp seedHemp seed: a nutritious, high protein food

Hemp seed has been given the green light for inclusion in a low histamine diet by the Swiss Interest Group Histamine Intolerance (SIGHI).

According to the official SIGHI list of “Histamine Potential of Foods and Additives”, hemp seed is “Compatible [with a low histamine diet]. No symptoms [have been observed] after consumption of an[sic] usual quantity.”

The book “Is Food Making You Sick?” lists hemp seed as being fine for histamine intolerance sufferers to eat when they wish to lower their histamine levels.

However, as with all foods, there may be some people who have an adverse reaction to hemp seed. This is uncommon, but if you believe you’ve reacted badly to any food, it’s wise to avoid it altogether for a week or more, then gradually re-introduce small quantities into your diet to see whether you can tolerate it. Every body is different!

In some cases it might not be the food itself that’s causing problems, but the way it has been processed. Choose to eat whole foods, which are either unprocessed or lightly processed, with as few additives as possible.

Hemp seeds are highly nutritious. They are rich in healthful fats, protein and  minerals. They also taste delicious, with a pleasant, nutty flavor.

Nutritional Benefits of Hemp Seed

These seeds are a source of the essential fatty acids, linoleic acid (omega-6),  alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) and gamma-linolenic acid, all of which benefit human health.

They are also a good source of high quality protein. In fact, they are considered to contain “complete protein”, which means that they provide all the essential amino acids needed as the body’s building blocks.

Hemp seeds also contain vitamin E and they are rich in minerals such as  sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron and zinc.

Whole hemp seeds are rich in both soluble (20%) and insoluble (80%) fiber. This does not hold true, however, for “de-hulled” or “shelled” hemp seeds (also known as hemp hearts), from which the fiber-rich outer casing has been removed.

Edible hemp seeds belong to the cannabis (marijuana) plant family. Marijuana and THC are far from being benign substances; habitual use of this drug can lead to permanent brain damage and psychosis. Hemp, on the other hand, is a useful plant. The seeds contain only trace amounts of THC, the compound that causes the psychoactive effects of marijuana.

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Pastured eggs are better for you

Pastured eggs contain more nutrients

Hens allowed to roam free in grassy pastures filled with weeds and wildflowers have access to an extensive range of nutrients. Numerous insects, worms and beetles thrive in green meadows. Thus, in addition to the valuable plant materials available to the hens, they can also feed on mini-beasts which are naturally rich sources of protein, vitamins, enzymes and minerals.

Pastured eggs are lower in stress hormones

Caged hens are constantly under stress. Some become so distraught and anxious due to their imprisonment that they pluck out their own feathers. The ‘stress hormone’ cortisol has been linked with obesity, decreased immune function and osteoporosis. The low levels of stress in free-roaming, contented hens means fewer stress hormones – such as cortisol – pass into the eggs and thence into our bodies.

Pastured eggs are better for you

A study looking at the Vitamins A, E and fatty acid composition of the eggs of caged hens and pastured hens found that:
‘Compared to eggs of the caged hens, pastured hens’ eggs had twice as much vitamin E and long-chain omega-3 fats, 2.5-fold more total omega-3 fatty acids, and less than half the ratio of omega-6:omega-3 fatty acids (P<0.0001). Vitamin A concentration was 38% higher (P<0.05) in the pastured hens’ eggs than in the caged hens’ eggs…’

This is why pastured eggs are better for you!

H.D. Karsten, P.H. Patterson, R. Stout and G. Crews,
Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems / Volume 25 / Special Issue 01 / March 2010, pp 45-54
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1742170509990214,
Published online: 12 January 2010

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