Chia seeds have been popularised by the bestselling book “Born to Run” by Chris McDougall, which advocates the health benefits of Chia for athletes. Claims are now being made for Chia’s “superfood” potential – and recent scientific research is beginning to uncover some of the health benefits of including it in your diet.
Chia seeds were originally native to Central America and have been grown as a staple food and for medicinal purposes by the Native Americans since pre-Columbian times. The desert Chia or “golden Chia” has been used in a similar way by tribes in California and the surrounding states. The seeds are rich in essential fatty acids, protein, fiber and minerals – mainly phosphorus, calcium and manganese. 
One of the most interesting things about chia seeds is that they are hydrophilic – meaning that they absorb water – so much so that they create a mucilaginous gel around them and hold 9-12 times their weight in water. This means that they add bulk to a diet without adding calories, filling you up. They are also shelf-stable for up to 4-5 years. Ok, here are the list of benefits:
1. Blood Sugar Balancing – There are preliminary reports of lowered insulin levels from eating Chia seeds – more research is needed for this to be 100% conclusive – but the high levels of fiber are known to give a protective effect against diabetes and many other chronic diseases. 
2. Beneficial In Pregnancy – Chia seeds are rich in calcium, phosphorus and manganese so they can provide pregnant women with these essential minerals for their baby’s growth. 
3. Heart Health – Low levels of sodium and cholesterol and high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids will be beneficial to anyone who is at risk of heart disease. 
4. Stroke Prevention / Treatment – Omega-3 fatty acids, which form over half of the fat content of the seeds and 18% of their total weight, have been found to help to thin the blood and could result in a lower risk of strokes as well as encouraging tissue repair and recovery of brain function after a stroke! 
5. Colon Health (High Fiber) – One ounce of seeds contains 42% of the recommended daily intake of fiber!  Adequate dietary fiber is essential for the colon to function well, for improving elimination of food waste from the body and helping to prevent colon cancer. 
6. IBS (Gentle On Bowels) – Fiber added to the diet in the form of concentrated bran can be too coarse for the digestion, especially in a person used to a diet low in fiber – natural forms of fiber are more gentle and the mucilage (the gel-like substance that forms when Chia absorbs water) could ease a sensitive bowel in the same way as flax seed. Chia makes a good alternative to flax seed because it has a long shelf life and once it is milled it will not go rancid for much longer than flax (rancid oils can be harmful to the liver) – Chia can even be digested more fully when eaten whole!
7. Stomach Health – Gastric inflammation due to stomach ulcers can be reduced by increasing the amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the diet – Chia seeds have plenty of these! 
8. Weight Loss (Curbs Appetite) – Chia could be a valuable addition to a weight loss regime – the seeds absorb water and swell up in the stomach, curbing the appetite – it has been used in Mexico to suppress hunger in times of poverty. Don’t forget to drink extra fluid to compensate and prevent dehydration! They have been called a “dream food” for dieters. The seeds can also be ground and used to replace high-calorie eggs or fat in some recipes. 
9. Healthy Teeth And Bones – Calcium and phosphorus are both needed for bone and tooth enamel growth – they combine to form the main component of each. Phosphorus is also essential for all living cells, forming the structure of DNA and RNA. 
10. Super Energy Booster – Some people report that eating chia seeds gives them more endurance and enhanced athletic performance. Chia has been called ‘Indian Running Food’ and is noted for providing a “sustained” energy boost. It is reported to have 2x the amount of protein as any other seed or grain. 
11. Gluten Free – Chia is free from gluten so can be nutritionally valuable to anyone on a gluten free diet to supply protein, healthy fats and essential minerals.
Please note reported chia seeds side effects and contraindications:
– Increased flatulence from consumption in large quantities (due to the high fiber content).
– It has been written that there is a possible allergic reaction, most likely for those that suffer from an allergy to mustard seeds but the European Food Safety Authority has announced that there are no allergy issues – great news for people with a nut allergy too!
– Anyone taking aspirins or other blood thinning drugs; haemophiliacs; or those preparing for surgical procedures should avoid taking chia seeds or at least consult their physician first due to the blood thinning property of omega-3.
For best results please of course use organic chia seeds.
Further reading (includes the history and traditional uses of Chia!):
40 Ways to use Chia Seeds
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The #1 Muscle That Eliminates Joint And Back Pain, Anxiety And Looking Fat
By Mike Westerdal CPT
Can you guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat?
This is especially important if you spend a significant amount of time sitting every day (I do, and this really affects me in a big way!)
Working this “hidden survival muscle” that most people are simply not training because no-one ever taught them how will boost your body shape, energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
If this “hidden” most powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.
d) Hip Flexors
Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!
P.S. Make sure you check out this page to get to know the 10 simple moves that will bring vitality back into your life:
==> Click here to discover which “hidden survival muscle” will help you boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance permanently!
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What Are Parabens?: In the beauty community, there is a word that has become feared over the past several years – Parabens. These chemical compounds are used primarily for their bactericidal and fungicidal properties. They can be found in many shampoos, moisturizers, shaving gels, personal lubricants, topical pharmaceuticals, spray tanning solutions, makeup and toothpaste  – and are typically added to prolong shelf life. They work very similarly to food preservatives which help prevent food from spoiling too soon; parabens help prevent the growth of bacteria and mold on your cosmetic products. There are many products that contain parabens but skincare, roll-on antiperspirants and makeup are the most common objects that increase our paraben exposure. 
Parabens And Breast Cancer: There have been different studies on the effect of paraben exposure to the body — and some of the results are very worrying. A 2013 study published by Charles and Darbre focused on the estrogenic effect of parabens and their effect on human breast cancer cells. The study found that parabens in any form or concentration caused stimulation of breast cells, leading to cancerous growths. Darbre published another study in 2014 and found that parabens increased energy metabolism in breast tissue, which can account for the sudden growth and spread of the cancerous cells. Khanna, et. al. in 2014 found that exposure to parabens increased the metastatic ability of breast cancer cells, or the ability to spread and invade healthy tissues. 
Controversy: Despite these studies, the ACS and FDA have stated that parabens are not dangerous at the levels found in typical consumer products. Astonishingly, the ACS has turned a 100% blind eye to the studies mentioned and stated that the concern over parabens is the result of an “email rumor”!  Can it really be that they are unaware of these studies? Are they selectively ignoring them? Or is there some other reason why they consider the research unworthy of consideration? They have stated plainly that there is “very little scientific evidence” – to which we can only answer that we have presented 3 published scientific studies here and you can check the links for yourself.
How Are We Exposed To Parabens? The most common route we are exposed to parabens (and which is regarded by some as the route that causes increased breast cancer risk) is increased is through deodorants or antiperspirants. Whenever you swipe a deo stick on your armpit, you are willingly introducing parabens (as well as numerous other chemicals, some of which have also been implicated) to your body and – according to the studies referenced, increasing your risk for cancer. However parabens are in all manner of products. According to the Breast Cancer Fund, parabens can be found in “nearly all urine samples” taken from adults residing in the US, regardless of their background and socioeconomic status. It has been proposed that parabens’ “estrogenic effect” is the reason why it can cause cancer. By mimicking the effects of the hormone estrogen, paraben causes the sudden growth of cells in the breast, which may become uncontrolled and cancerous. 
What You Can Do: The first thing to realize is that you are not required to use these consumer products. You do have a choice – though it will take some self-discipline and diligence. The next time you head to the supermarket, think twice before you reach for deodorant or antiperspirant. Instead of wasting money on something that can potentially give you cancer, seek the natural route instead. First you can look for products with “paraben free” labeling. The next step is to check the ingredients. Look for methylparaben (E number E218), ethylparaben (E214), propylparaben (E216),butylparaben and heptylparaben (E209). Less common parabens include isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben and benzylparaben. 
Alternatively – you can make your own! See our post How to Make Your Own Natural Deodorants Without Toxic Chemical Ingredients for instructions and ingredient lists.
 US Food and Drug Administration. Parabens in Cosmetics. http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductsIngredients/Ingredients/ucm128042.htm
 Charles, A. & Darbre, P. (2013). Combinations of parabens at concentrations measured in human breast tissue can increase proliferation of MCF-7 human breast cancer cells. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23364952
 Darbre, P. & Harvey, P. (2014). Parabens can enable hallmarks and characteristics of cancer in human breast epithelial cells: a review of the literature with reference to new exposure data and regulatory status. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25047802
 Khanna, S., Dash, P. & Darbre, P. (2014). Exposure to parabens at the concentration of maximal proliferative response increases migratory and invasive activity of human breast cancer cells in vitro. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24652746
 “Parabens In Cosmetics” – FDA. http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductsIngredients/Ingredients/ucm128042.htm
 “Antiperspirants and Breast Cancer Risk” – American Cancer Society: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/athome/antiperspirants-and-breast-cancer-risk?sitearea=MED
 Breast Cancer Fund. Parabens. http://www.breastcancerfund.org/clear-science/radiation-chemicals-and-breast-cancer/parabens.html
These Are 5 Of The Best Antiviral Herbs To Support Your Immune System
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Going the natural way to manage a variety of health-related problems is growing in popularity as modern day medicine starts to catch up with herbal folk remedies. There are plenty of studies that focus on the benefits of natural methods of treatment, compared to the notorious side effects of taking prescription drugs. However, there is an underlying truth that science has taken long to realize – that viruses are inherently part of the Earth – they have been around for billions of years, maybe even predating the arrival of humans. They have mutated over time, changing forms, yet modern medicine has come up against a stumbling block, with viruses rapidly developing immunity to new drugs and medical treatment. It’s clear that a completely new strategy is required…. or could it be an old strategy revisited? Plants could be the answer medicine has been waiting for. This is the focus of Stephen Buhner’s recent book – Herbal Antivirals: Natural Remedies for Emerging & Resistant Viral Infections. 1]
There is one word that strikes fear into the heart of many a medical professional, and that word is “drug resistant”. Infections that are resistant to multiple drugs are very hard to treat and often end in mortality. The CDC defines antiviral resistance as the way a virus has changed so that “antiviral drugs are less effective or not effective at all”. You would think that by this time modern medicine would have been able to make a drug against the common cold, but that is far, far off.
Similarly, the influenza virus constantly mutates – and as a result there is a yearly change to flu vaccines brought out into the market. Lin, Hsu, and Lin called viral infections a “critical issue” in public health, linking viral infections to chronic conditions like diabetes, liver cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. 
However, there are plenty of antiviral herbs that work well in fighting viral infections – and resistance is not developed by virii – presumably due to the plants’ broad array of active molecular components, as opposed to single-moleculed drugs. It’s been speculated that a single mutation could render a microorganism immune to a molecule – but that it is less likely for such an organism to be able to develop immunity to multiple active components at once.
Here are 5 of the best herbs considered antiviral – and some reference studies that have supported these benefits:
This plant is not only popular because of its fragrant addition to a variety of dishes; it also has potent antiviral properties from a compound called carvacrol. According to Pilau, et. al. in 2011, carvacrol, a major compound found in Oregano essential oil, was able to inhibit viral activity of drug-resistant viruses, from herpes simplex to respiratory syncytial virus in humans. 
Garlic is known for its strong antibacterial properties but how does it fare against viruses? Very well, as it happens. There are older studies published in the 1980s and 1990s that show garlic’s potential influenza-fighting properties. Tsai, et. al. in 1985 studied garlic extract and found that it was able to fight against influenza B. Similar results were seen in Weber’s study in 1992, where fresh garlic extract was virucidal against a variety of viruses, including the herpes simplex virus. Recently, Kang, et. al. in 2001 found that garlic was able to boost the body’s immune system which can help fight against viral infections. 
For centuries, Elderberry or elder has been used to manage the flu as well as treat open wounds. A 2012 study by Kinoshita, et. al. found that elderberry juice was able to boost the body’s immune response to the human influenza virus (a.k.a. the flu virus), able to defend the body against viral infection. 
Echinacea is a Native American plant used for hundreds of years on wounds and infections, dubbed a general “cure-all”. A recent publication by Ross concluded that Echinacea extract was able to reduce cold episodes and their length, reducing the need to take additional prescription drugs. He concluded that Echinacea could be an effective agent in managing and preventing the common cold. 
According to the NIH, the flower of the Calendula (aka. Marigold) is typically used to manage muscle spasms, fever, and pain and swelling. There have been only a few studies that focus on the anti-viral activity of Calendula but a prominent one was published by Kalvatchev, Walder, and Garzaro, concluding that organic extract of Calendula officinalis could potentially have anti-HIV properties. The extract was able to significantly reduce HIV-activity and slow its progress. 
More Antiviral Herbs (Full Study):
For a highly detailed, top quality report on antiviral herbs, see Stephen Buhner’s Herbal Antivirals: Natural Remedies for Emerging & Resistant Viral Infections (Amazon link).
 Buhner, S. (2013). Herbal Antivirals: Natural Remedies for Emerging & Resistant Viral Infections. https://www.amazon.com/Herbal-Antivirals-Remedies-Resistant-Infections/dp/1612121608
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Influenza Antiviral Drug Resistance. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/antiviralresistance.htm
 Lin, L., Hsu, W. & Lin, C. (2014). Antiviral Natural Products and Herbal Medicines. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4032839/
 University of Maryland Medical Center. Elderberry. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/elderberry
 Kinoshita, E., et. al. (2012). Anti-influenza virus effects of elderberry juice and its fractions. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22972323
 University of Maryland Medical Center. Echinacea. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/echinacea
 Ross, S. (2016). Echinacea purpurea: A Proprietary Extract of Echinacea purpurea Is Shown to be Safe and Effective in the Prevention of the Common Cold. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26633727
 US National Library of Medicine. Calendula. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/235.html
 Kalvatchev, Z., Walder, R. & Garzaro, D. (1997). Anti-HIV activity of extracts from Calendula officinalis flowers. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9207986
 Tsai, Y., et. al. (1985). Antiviral Properties of Garlic: In vitro Effects of Influenza B, Herpes Simplex, and Coxsackie Viruses. https://www.thieme-connect.com/DOI/DOI?10.1055/s-2007-969553
 Weber, N., et. al. (1992). In vitro virucidal effects of Allium sativum (garlic) extract and compounds. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1470664
 Kang, N., et. al. (2001). Immunomodulating effect of garlic component, allicin, on murine peritoneal macrophages. http://www.nrjournal.com/article/S0271-5317(01)00269-X/abstract?cc=y=
 Pilau, M., et. al. (2011). Antiviral activity of the Lippia graveolens (Mexican oregano) essential oil and its main compound carvacrol against human and animal viruses. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24031796
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