Beyond Buzz Words: “It Foods”. Extra, Extra. Don’t Read All About It, Just Do It?
As I mentioned, my food journey began the day I started to really pay attention to the INGREDIENTS… in the foods I have always bought, in the foods I “should” buy and the foods I “shouldn’t buy”. Wow, very eye opening.
I put the foods I “should” and “shouldn’t” buy in quotation marks, because it dawned on me to wonder, where are those recommendations coming from? Why is one food better than the other and how do most people quantify that?
Most surprisingly, is just how easily the general masses are to latch onto the latest food trend of the moment, without really questioning it.
We probably are all guilty of this to some degree.
I’ll give you an example:
Ok, what do you know about them beyond “they are good for you”?
What are they? WHY are they good? Are there any reasons why we all shouldn’t be eating them?
These seemingly appear to be questions that everyone should ask, but oddly, not many do. How is it with food, people are so easily convinced, without knowing much information? It is the food industry? Is it the media?
I have done pharmaceutical sales, I have done medical device sales. The products I sold all had to be PROVEN safe and effective. Promotion of OTC (over the counter) products is completely different. Especially nutritional products. I get it that when it is not a controlled substance or a surgical procedure, the risks decrease, but it amazes me every day how little to no thought goes into what most people choose to put into their bodies, via their mouths, because it is considered “just food” and it is “all fine”. Or if it was unsafe, the FDA wouldn’t allow it to be in our food. What has been very surprising to me is how my previous belief that current policy protects “the people” and puts public interest above corporations, has altered and isn’t as black and white as most of us think it is. But, that perhaps in an entirely different topic.
Ironically, food typically is not regarded as nutrition.
Back to flax seeds. Did you know that Flax seeds must be ground, otherwise your body will NOT absorb it? How many people do you think buy the Flax seed because they were told it was good for them, but didn’t grind the seed and just ate it whole? Ok, so a counter argument would be- chewing does grind the seed somewhat… sure, yes. But, to get the full benefits of flax, it needs to be ground. Although, you don’t want the seeds to oxidize, so avoid buying ground Flax. One helpful tip I read was to use your coffee grinder as needed.
Flax: (also known as common flax or linseed) (binomial name: Linum usitatissimum) is a member of the genus Linum in the family Linaceae. It is a food and fibre crop that is grown in cooler regions of the world. It is an annual plant.
Basically, flax seeds are known for being high in Omega 3’s, fiber, manganese, magnesium, folate and antioxidants. All important nutrients. Here’s a link to learn more about flax.
Another new “super food” is the Chia seed.
Great. That all sounds like a pretty good thing to eat.
This story makes me laugh, only because it is why, or rather how I came up for the name of this blog. Oh, hey. Look headlines are saying- Chia is the “it food of 2013”. Interestingly enough, NO where in the article mentions the MOST important thing to know about Chia seeds:
If you eat whole, raw chia seeds then you also need to drink plenty of water. Chia seeds can absorb around 9-12 times their own weight in water. This is a good thing if you have enough water, as the gel that forms around each seed will carry water through your digestive system. However, if you don’t drink enough water there is a risk of becoming dehydrated.
Here is more on Chia seeds. I have added them to my diet, but in moderation because on some days, I don’t always drink enough water and they do hurt my stomach when that happens. Of course, I make sure to drink more water and it is alleviated, but definitely a good thing to know, BEFORE you start incorporating them into your diet.
Some are saying- abandon, Flax, switch to Chia. Apparently, most “It Foods” headlines read more like: Extra, extra. Don’t read all about it, just do it…
Well, it appears to me that both have advantages, but I can see how many want to move away from products that have estrogenic properties. I also shudder to think how some pregnant women may have been consuming Flax seeds, without knowing the warning about premature labor. Yes, it was only 1 study cited, but something all pregnant women should know, right?
So, here is a great comparison of Flax seed to Chia: http://www.realfoodallergyfree.com/2011/05/which-is-better-chia-or-flax/
Now, before I go, I must mention that although both Omega 3 and Omega 6 are definitely necessary in your diet, it is important to know that the ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 needs to be consumed in balance.
I don’t know about you, but this concept isn’t something that I have been told before, nor something you hear on the news. But, based on some of the data, it seems pretty important. Most people take Omegas for brain and heart health, but if you have too much or too little, you are potentially causing more damage…
Meaning that we need to consume 1 gram of pure omega 3 for every 5 grams of omega 6 that we consume.
This is a great summary of the different types of Omegas, and list food sources to get them from: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/benefits-of-omega-3-6-9-fatty-acids/
Here is some more info on this topic, if you so choose to read more:
for those who like to see clinical references: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12442909