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Whole Grain Benefits

Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits



Chia seeds are the small black seeds of the chia plant (Salvia hispanica).

Hailing from Mexico and Guatemala, they were a staple food for the ancient Aztecs and Mayans. In fact, “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength” (1).

Chia seeds contain large amounts of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, lots of high quality protein, and several essential minerals and antioxidants.

They can improve digestive health, blood levels of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.

Chia seeds are small, flat, and oval in shape with a glossy and smooth texture. Their color ranges from white to brown or black (2).

These seeds are very versatile. They can be soaked and added to porridge, made into pudding, used in baked goods, or simply sprinkled over salads or yogurt.

Due to their ability to absorb liquid and form a gel, they can also be used to thicken sauces or as an egg substitute (3, 4).

This article is all you need to know about chia seeds in this article.

Chia seeds contain 138 calories per ounce (28 grams).

By weight, they consist of 6% water, 46% carbohydrates (of which 83% fiber), 34% fat and 19% protein.

The nutrients in 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of chia seeds are (5):

  • Calories: 486
  • Water: 6%
  • Protein: 16.5 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 42.1 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams
  • Fiber: 34.4 grams
  • Fat: 30.7 grams
    • Saturated: 3.33 grams
    • Monounsaturated: 2.31 grams
    • polyunsaturated: 23.67 grams
    • Omega 3: 17.83 grams
    • Omega-6: 5.84 grams
    • Translate: 0.14 grams

In addition, chia seeds are gluten-free.

Carbohydrates and fiber

More than 80% of the carbohydrate content of chia seeds is in the form of fiber.

A single ounce (28 grams) of chia seeds contains 11 grams of fiber, which is a significant fraction of the daily reference intake (RDI) for women and men – 25 and 38 grams per day, respectively (6).

The fiber in chia seeds is mainly soluble fiber and mucilage, which is responsible for the sticky texture of the moistened chia seeds (7).

Chia fiber can also be fermented in your gut, which promotes the formation of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and improves gut health (6, 8).


One of the unique properties of chia seeds is their high content of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

About 75% of the fats in chia seeds are made up of omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), while about 20% are made up of omega-6 fatty acids (9, 10, 11).

In fact, chia seeds are the most famous plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids – even better than flax seeds (12, 13).

Some scientists believe that a high intake of omega-3 fatty acids compared to omega-6 fatty acids reduces inflammation in your body (14).

Because they’re a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds encourage lower omega-6 to omega-3 ratios.

A low ratio is associated with a lower risk of various chronic conditions – such as heart disease, cancer, and inflammatory diseases – and a lower risk of premature death (15, 16).

Gram for gram, however, the omega-3 fatty acids in chia seeds are not nearly as strong as those in fish or fish oil (EPA and DHA).

The ALA in chia needs to be converted to its active forms (EPA and DHA) before your body can use it, and this process is often inefficient (17, 18, 19, 20, 21).


Chia seeds contain 19% protein – a similar amount to other seeds but more than most grains and grains (1, 10, 22, 23).

High protein intake is associated with increased satiety after meals and reduced food intake (24, 25).

Notably, these seeds provide all nine essential amino acids, making them a high quality vegetable protein. However, they are not recommended as the sole source of protein for children (26, 27).


Chia seeds are high in fiber and are among the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids that have numerous health benefits. They’re also loaded with high quality protein.

Chia seeds are high in minerals but are a poor source of vitamins.

The most common minerals are:

  • Manganese. Whole grains and seeds are high in manganese, which is essential for metabolism, growth, and development (28).
  • Phosphorus. Phosphorus, which is normally found in high-protein foods, contributes to bone health and tissue maintenance (29).
  • Copper. Copper, a mineral that is often lacking in modern diets, is important for heart health (30).
  • Selenium. Selenium, an important antioxidant, is involved in many processes in your body (31).
  • Iron. As part of the hemoglobin in red blood cells, iron is involved in transporting oxygen through your body. Due to its phytic acid content, it is difficult to absorb from chia seeds.
  • Magnesium. Magnesium is often lacking in the Western diet and plays an important role in many physical processes (32).
  • Calcium. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in your body and is essential for bones, muscles, and nerves (33).

The absorption of some minerals, such as iron and zinc, may be decreased due to the phytic acid content of chia seeds.


Chia seeds are an excellent source of many essential minerals, but a poor source of vitamins. They are rich in manganese, phosphorus, copper, selenium, iron, magnesium and calcium.

Chia seeds contain a number of beneficial plant compounds, including (9, 11, 34):

  • Chlorogenic acid. This antioxidant can lower blood pressure (35, 36).
  • Caffeic acid. This substance is abundant in many plant foods and can help fight inflammation in your body (37).
  • Quercetin. This powerful antioxidant can reduce your risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer (38, 39, 40).
  • Kaempferol. This antioxidant has been linked to a reduced risk of cancer and other chronic diseases (41, 42).

Clean, dry chia seeds have a longer shelf life because their antioxidants protect their fats from damage (1, 43).


Chia seeds contain many powerful antioxidants that can reduce your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.

Chia seeds have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their high nutritional value and purported health benefits.

Their main health benefits are listed below.

Increased blood levels of omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acids are incredibly important to the body and brain, and chia seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 ALA.

However, ALA needs to be converted to active forms like EPA before your body can use it.

Human and animal studies have shown that chia seeds can increase blood levels of ALA by up to 138% and EPA by up to 39% (21, 44, 45, 46, 47).

Improved blood sugar control

Healthy blood sugar levels are critical to optimal health.

Animal studies show that chia seeds reduce insulin resistance and improve blood sugar control, which are important risk factors for metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease (48, 49, 50, 51).

Human studies show that bread with chia seeds causes a reduced blood sugar response compared to more traditional breads (52, 53).

Low blood pressure

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for chronic diseases such as heart disease.

Chia seeds and chia meal have been found to lower blood pressure in people who already have elevated levels (54, 55).

Increased fiber intake

Most people don’t consume enough fiber (56).

High fiber intake is linked to improved gut health and a lower risk of numerous diseases (57, 58).

A single ounce (28 grams) of chia seeds provides 9.75 grams of fiber, which is 25% and 39% of the RDI for men and women, respectively (5).

Because of their exceptional water absorption capacity, chia seeds increase the volume of food in your digestive tract, resulting in more fullness and decreased food intake.


Chia seeds have numerous benefits, including lower blood pressure, improved blood sugar control, and higher levels of fiber and omega-3.

Chia seeds are generally considered safe to eat, and few to no side effects have been reported when they are consumed (59).

However, to avoid possible digestive side effects, drink plenty of water when you eat them – especially if they haven’t been soaked.

Phytic acid content

Like all seeds, chia seeds contain phytic acid.

Phytic acid is a plant substance that binds minerals such as iron and zinc and inhibits their absorption from food (60).

Blood thinning effect

Large doses of omega-3 fats, for example from fish oils, can have a blood-thinning effect (61).

If you are taking blood-thinning medications, consult your doctor before including large amounts of chia seeds in your diet. Omega-3 fatty acids can affect the way your medication works (62, 63).


Chia seeds generally do not cause any side effects. However, they can have a blood thinning effect in large doses and contain a plant compound that can reduce mineral absorption.

Chia seeds are very rich in fiber, antioxidants, minerals and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

They have been linked to improvements in risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, as well as digestive and gut health benefits.

Chia seeds are very easy to incorporate into a healthy diet.

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Whole Grain Benefits

For the 55-and-over crowd, March 27-April 3, 2022 | Local News



For information about services available to older adults, contact Pam Jacobsen, director of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and Helen Mary Stevick Senior Citizens Center, 2102 Windsor Place, C, at 217-359-6500.

RSVP and the Stevick Center are administered by Family Service of Champaign County.


  • Active Senior Republicans in Champaign County’s monthly meeting will be held at 9:30 am on April 4 in the Robeson Pavilion Room A & B at the Champaign Public Library. This month’s speakers will be Jesse Reising, Regan Deering and Matt Hausman, Republican primary candidates for the newly redrawn 13th Congressional District.
  • Parkland Theater House needs four ushers each night for “The SpongeBob Musical,” opening April 14. There will be nine shows in total — April 14-16, April 22-24 and April 29-May 1. For details, call or email Michael Atherton, Parkland Theater House Manager, or 217-373-3874.
  • Parkland College also needs four volunteers for commencement. The commencement ceremony will be in person at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at 8 pm May 12. Volunteers needed from 6:30 to 8 pm For details, contact Tracy Kleparski, Director of Student Life, at or 217- 351-2206.
  • The Milford High School National Honor Society and Student Council is hosting a Senior Citizens Banquet at 6 pm April 22. The event will be held in the MAPS #124 Gymnasium (park at south doors at Milford High School. To RSVP, call Sandy Potter at 815-471-4213.


Knit or crochet for those in need:

Meditative Movement with Yoga:

  • 9 to 10:15 am Tuesdays and Thursdays.


  • 11 am to noon, second and fourth Tuesdays. Call 217-359-6500.


  • Noon to 3 pm Thursdays.


Card game 13:

  • To sign up to play, call 217-359-6500 and ask for Debbie.

Men’s group:

  • 9 am Monday-Friday. Join us for a cup of coffee and great conversation.


The Peace Meal Nutrition Program provides daily hot lunches at 11:30 am for a small donation and a one-day advance reservation at sites in Champaign, Urbana, Rantoul, Sidney (home delivery only), Mahomet (home delivery only) and Homer.

For reservations, call 800-543-1770. Reservations for Monday need to be made by noon Friday.

NOTE: There is no change for home deliveries, but at congregate sites, you can get a carry-out meal.


  • BBQ pork sandwich, mini potato bakers, corn, creamy cole slaw, bun.


  • Turkey pot roast with carrots and celery, Italian green beans, pineapple, whole grain roll.


  • Savory sausage stew, broccoli, chunky apple sauce, biscuit, surprise dessert.


  • Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and brown gravy, tomatoes and zucchini, apricots, whole-grain roll.


  • Chef’s choice — regional favorites will be served.


If you are 55 and older and want to volunteer in your community, RSVP (funded by AmeriCorps Seniors and the Illinois Department on Aging) provides a unique link to local nonprofits needing help. We offer support, benefits and a safe connection to partner sites.

Contact Pam Jacobsen at or 217-359-6500.


Senior Volunteers.

  • RSVP of Champaign, Douglas and Piatt counties/AmeriCorps Senior Volunteers is your link to over 100 nonprofit organizations. Please contact Pam Jacobsen at or call 217-359-6500 for volunteer information.

Food for seniors. Handlers needed to unload boxes of food for repackaging at 7 am on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. We are looking for backup delivery drivers to deliver food to seniors. Contact Robbie Edwards at 217-359-6500 for info.

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Whole Grain Benefits

The future of nutrition advice



By Lisa Drayer, CNN

(CNN) — Most of us know we should eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

So why would the National Institutes of Health spend $150 million to answer questions such as “What and when should we eat?” and “How can we improve the use of food as medicine?”

The answer may be precision nutrition, which aims to understand the health effects of the complex interplay among genetics, our microbiome (the bacteria living in our gut), our diet and level of physical activity, and other social and behavioral characteristics.

That means that everyone could have their own unique set of nutritional requirements.

How is that possible? I asked three experts who conduct precision nutrition research: Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology and chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and Martha Field and Angela Poole, both assistant professors in the division of nutritional sciences at Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology.

Below is an edited version of our conversation.

CNN: How is precision nutrition different from current nutrition advice?

dr Frank Hu: The idea of ​​precision nutrition is to have the right food, at the right amount, for the right person. Instead of providing general dietary recommendations for everyone, this precision approach tailors nutrition recommendations to individual characteristics, including one’s genetic background, microbiome, social and environmental factors, and more. This can help achieve better health outcomes.

CNN: Why is there no one-size-fits-all prescription when it comes to what we should be eating?

Huh: Not everyone responds to the same diet in the same way. For example, given the same weight-loss diet, some people can lose a lot of weight; other people may gain weight. A recent study in JAMA randomized a few hundred overweight individuals to a healthy low-carb or low-fat diet. After a year, there was almost an identical amount of weight loss for the two groups, but there was a huge variation between individuals within each group — some lost 20 pounds. Others gained 10 pounds.

Martha Field: Individuals have unique responses to diet, and the “fine adjust” of precision nutrition is understanding those responses. This means understanding interactions among genetics, individual differences in metabolism, and responses to exercise.

CNN: How do we eat based on precision nutrition principles now?

Huh: There are some examples of personalized diets for disease management, like a gluten-free diet for the management of celiac disease, or a lactose-free diet if you are lactose intolerant. For individuals with a condition known as PKU (phenylketonuria), they should consume (a) phenylalanine-free diet. It’s a rare condition but a classic example of how your genes can influence what type of diets you should consume.

Angela Poole: If I had a family history of high cholesterol, diabetes or colon cancer, I would increase my dietary fiber intake, eating a lot of different sources, including a variety of vegetables.

fields: If you have high blood pressure, you should be more conscious of sodium intake. Anyone with a malabsorption issue might have a need for higher levels of micronutrients such as B vitamins and some minerals.

CNN: There is research showing that people metabolize coffee differently. What are the implications here?

Huh: Some people carry fast caffeine-metabolizing genes; others carry slow genes. If you carry fast (metabolizing) genotypes, you can drink a lot of caffeinated coffee because caffeine is broken down quickly. If you are a slow metabolizer, you get jittery and may not be able to sleep if you drink coffee in the afternoon. If that’s the case, you can drink decaf coffee and still get the benefits of coffee’s polyphenols, which are associated with decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes without the effects of caffeine.

CNN: How much of a role do our individual genes play in our risk of disease? And can our behavior mitigate our disease risk?

Huh: Our health is affected by both genes and diets, which constantly interact with each other because certain dietary factors can turn on or off some disease-related genes. We published research showing that reducing consumption of sugary beverages can offset the negative effects of obesity genes. That’s really good news. Our genes are not our destiny.

Another area of ​​precision nutrition is to measure blood or urine metabolites, small molecules produced during the breakdown and ingestion of food. For example, having a higher concentration of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) strongly predicts one’s future risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The blood levels of BCAAs depend on individuals’ diet, genes and gut microbiome. We found that eating a healthy (Mediterranean-style) diet can mitigate harmful effects of BCAAs on cardiovascular disease. So measuring BCAAs in your blood may help to evaluate your risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease and encourage dietary changes that can lower the risk of chronic diseases down the road.

fields: The environmental effects can sometimes be on the same magnitude as the genetic effects with respect to risk for disease.

CNN: Our individual microbiomes may be able to dictate what type of diet we should be consuming. Can you tell us about this emerging research? And what do you think of microbiome tests?

Poole: Research has shown that in some people, their blood sugar will spike higher from eating bananas than from eating cookies, and this has been associated with microbiome composition. Scientists have used microbiome data to build algorithms that can predict an individual’s glucose response, and this is a major advance. But that’s not an excuse for me to shovel down cookies instead of bananas. Likewise, if the algorithm suggests eating white bread instead of whole-wheat bread due to blood glucose responses, I wouldn’t just eat white bread all the time.

At the moment, I’m not ready to spend a lot of money to see what’s in my gut microbiome… and the microbiome changes over time.

Huh: Microbiome tests are not cheap, and the promise that this test can help develop a personalized meal plan that can improve blood sugar and blood cholesterol … at this point, the data are not conclusive.

CNN: How will nutrition advice be different 10 years from now?

Poole: I think you will receive a custom-tailored grocery list on an app — foods that you want to buy and foods that you want to avoid, based on your blood sugar responses to foods, your level of physical activity and more.

Huh: We will have more and better biomarkers and more affordable and accurate nutrigenomics and microbiome tests as well as better computer algorithms that predict your response to food intakes.

But these technologies cannot substitute general nutrition principles such as limiting sodium and added sugar and eating more healthy plant foods. In a few years, you may be able to get a more useful response from Alexa if you ask her what you should eat — but like other answers from Alexa, you’ll have to take it with a grain of salt.

The CNN Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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Whole Grain Benefits

Are Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches Healthy?



In order to assess its nutritional value, first we must discuss the breakdown of this sandwich.

Typically, there are three main ingredients — bread, peanut butter, and jelly — each with different nutritional values.

Nutritional value of bread

Bread can be a part of a balanced diet. The nutritional value of bread depends on the type chosen.

For starters, whole-grain bread is the best option because it provides a higher amount of nutrients. Whole grain kernels have three parts: the bran, endosperm, and germ (1).

Because whole grain bread retains all three parts, it’s higher in protein and fiber compared with other breads. These nutrients slow the absorption of sugar into your blood stream and keep you full longer (2, 3).

Whole grain bread is also richer in key nutrients, like B vitamins, iron, folate, and magnesium. Look for the word “whole” as part of the first ingredient in bread’s nutritional label (2).

Choosing sprouted grain bread, like Ezekiel bread, is also an excellent choice. The sprouting process increases digestibility and bioavailability of nutrients. Studies show sprouted bread has more fiber, vitamin E, and vitamin C, and beta-glucan (4).

Sourdough bread is fine, too. Although it’s not as high in fiber and protein, it has a lower glycemic index than white bread.

Glycemic index measures how quickly food increases blood sugars. In general, foods with a lower glycemic index better support your overall health.

But keep in mind that glycemic index doesn’t tell the whole story. We must look at the meal as a whole — for example, what we add to the bread. Nutrients, like protein and fats, can help lower the overall glycemic load of a meal, and serving sizes also play a role (5).

As a guideline, look for whole grain breads that offer at least 2 grams of fiber per slice. We also suggest using bread that contains 3 grams of protein or more per slice.

If that’s not available, sourdough bread may be your next best option.


Choose breads that are higher in fiber and protein, like whole grain bread or sprouted grain bread. These varieties help slow absorption of sugars and keep you full longer.

Nutritional value of peanut butter

Many people find peanut butter delicious.

Nutritionally, it also delivers. Peanut butter is a good source of protein and healthy fats, important for all stages of life, especially growing children. Plus, it’s a good source of fiber.

Two tablespoons (32 grams) of smooth peanut butter contain 7 grams of protein, 16 grams of fats, and 2 grams of fiber (6).

Importantly, the majority of fats in peanut butter are unsaturated fats. Research consistently indicates that replacing saturated fats found in animal products with more unsaturated fats (like those in peanut butter) may lower cholesterol and improve heart health (7, 8).

For growing kids, healthy fats are vital for healthy development. Plus, fats help absorb the vitamins A, D, E, and K, all of which play a synergistic role in supporting immune and brain health (9, 10).

Contrary to popular belief, conventional peanut butter doesn’t usually have more sugar than 100% natural peanut butter. However, it may have more salt (6).

When shopping, check the nutrition labels to ensure it doesn’t contain additional ingredients other than peanuts.

When enjoying natural peanut butter, the oil will separate from the peanut butter. Not to fret — just give it a good stir! This helps mix the oils with the solids.

Pro tip: You can store peanut butter upside down in the fridge to keep it from separating again!


When available, choose 100% natural peanut butter, as it’s lower in salt. Remember to stir the peanut butter before eating to mix the oils with the solids.

Nutritional value of jelly

The PB&J sandwich isn’t complete without jelly or jam. What’s the difference, anyway?

Well, while jellies and jams have similar nutritional value and taste, there’s a slight difference: Jellies are made with fruit juice, while jam is made with the fruit juice and pulp (7).

Both jellies and jams contain pectin (artificially added to jelly), which has prebiotic effects that may improve gut health (8).

However, both are naturally high in sugar, so enjoy them in moderation. To have more say in the ingredients used, you can try making your jelly at home.

If you’re buying from a store, look for jellies with no added sugar in the ingredients list. Alternative names for added sugars include glucose, sucrose, dextrose, and fructose.


Jellies are high in natural sugars and contain pectins that may have a beneficial effect in promoting good health. Try to choose jellies with no added sugars.

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