Chia seeds have been a weirdly large part of my life lately. First, I wrote this article on the health benefits of chia seeds for Medical News Today. Then when I was thinking about what kind of healthy-ish breakfast food I could come up with for our Corrine Drive Counseling Center staff meeting I still had chia on the brain, so I went searching at FOUR different places around Orlando before I found some (and afterward made these delicious donuts). Then I got contacted by Doctor Radio (Sirius XM channel 81) to do an interview about chia seeds last Friday. These little dudes are taking over!
Before I moved to Orlando, I did some side work as a health educator for corporate biometric screenings. A company would sponsor these screenings where their employees could get their cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, etc., taken. After they got their immediate results, they would come to me and I would explain exactly what their numbers meant to their health and what they can do to improve them. I would say the most common number not within optimal range, even in people who were healthy and whose numbers were otherwise perfect, was a low HDL (the good cholesterol). Think of your HDL cholesterol as the super heroes and the LDL cholesterol as the villains. You’ve got the villain in your arteries constantly trying to block the blood flow to the heart, then you’ve got the HDL, the superheroes, that want to come in and grab the villain and flush him out of your system. If you’ve got too many villains and not enough superheros, you’ve got problems.
I needed to think of quick and easy ways to tell people to boost their HDL and fuel the superheroes in those short 5-minute educations after their screenings. One of the ways to increase HDL that most people were not focusing on was to eat more foods with omega-3 fatty acids (plant-based: chia seeds, flax seeds, flaxseed oil, hemp seeds,hemp seed oil and walnuts. Animal based: salmon, herring, trout, grass fed animal products). I know a lot of people don’t like fish, some don’t like nuts and others don’t eat meat, but what could be easier than putting a heaping spoonful of chia seeds in your morning smoothie or on your cereal?
The donuts were a hit at the staff meeting, and I was competing with Krispy Kreme! Plus, I got to use fresh oranges from my Aunt and Uncles tree in their yard. Can’t get much more local than that!