Published On: Thu, Nov 1st, 2012

A Gift From the Ancient Aztecs

A Gift From the Ancient Aztecs

by Dr. Sherrill Sellman

In a world plagued by ever-increasing chronic health issues, it may be time to look to the past for answers and follow the wisdom of ancient healers. “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine your food” summed up one of the key principles espoused more than 2500 years ago by Hippocrates, the father of medicine. His golden rule highlighted the importance of good nutrition as the foundation for optimal wellbeing. Instead of the pharmacy shelves, could the elixir of good health actually be found in bioavailable nutrition of nutrient-dense foods?

Unfortunately, such wholesome foods are difficult to find these days. Modern agricultural practices have essentially destroyed the nutritional status of most of our commercially grown foods. Senate Document 264 stated that ” Laboratory tests prove that the fruits, the vegetables, the grains, the eggs and even the milk and meats of today are not what they were a few generations ago…. and the foods no longer contain certain amounts of minerals and are starving us, no matter how much we eat.” (This was published in 1936!)

It’s national tragedy to discover just how nutrient deficient our soils, and thus, our foods have become. When the processing of foods as well as chemical ingredients are added to the mix, real nutrition has all but disappeared from the American diet. Our plates may be full, but our bodies are literally starving for nutrition.

Our modern world is truly in desperate need of a nutrient dense, super-hero food!

The Return of the Super Seed

The peoples of the ancient Aztec civilization were renown for their extraordinary health, amazing stamina, and impressive strength. Ancient manuscripts have revealed that as early as 3500 B.C., a tiny super-seed was the nutritional foundation of these people. The seed was known as Salvia Hispanica L, a member of the mint family.

The Aztecs believed it bestowed mystical, almost supernatural energy and power. It was so highly valued in fact, that the seeds were received as tribute from conquered nations and were given as offerings during religious ceremonies.

The Aztecs consumed these seeds in a variety of ways. They were eaten alone, mixed with other seed crops, made into beverage, ground into flour, included in medicines, and pressed for oil.

All knowledge of this amazing seed became lost in the mists of time after the conquistadors destroyed its cultivation. For more than 500 years, knowledge of this nutritional powerhouse was all but forgotten.

Fortunately, in 1991, two Argentinian brothers rediscovered this lost seed. Through meticulous plant breeding to maximize its nutritional benefits, they developed an extraordinary variety of Salvia Hispancia L., called Salba.

A World of Nutrition in a Tiny Seed

Modern science has now discovered what the Aztecs always knew; this humble grayish-white seed contains a treasure trove of phenomenal nutrition. Recent research into Salba’s exceptional nutritional value has hailed it as nature’s most nutrient-dense super-seed.

The true miracle of Salba’s exceptional nutritional profile was discovered from research conducted by Vladimir Vuksan, Ph.D., Associate Director of Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Centre Associate Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto. Dr. Vuksan found that as a functional food, Salba achieved two world records.

It’s first claim to fame was that it had the highest known whole food source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids found anywhere in nature.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids are crucial for good health; regulating heart rate, blood pressure, blood clotting, fertility, immune support, and reduction of inflammation. Both the National Institute of Health and the World Health Organization agree that most people are severely deficient in Omega 3’s and need to increase their daily intake.

This is where Salba comes to the rescue. Just two tablespoons (15 grams) offers more than 3 grams of Omega 3 Fatty Acids (in an optimal Omega-3 to Omega- 6 ratio), which supplies more than 100% of the recommended daily intake.

If that was not enough to make a super star out of Salba, Dr. Vuksan also discovered that Salba has the highest fiber content of any food, providing 5 grams in just 2 tablespoons (30% of your daily requirement). The soluble and insoluble fiber contained in Salba, not only increases bulk and transit time, and alleviates constipation, but also helps to maintain both healthy blood glucose and blood cholesterol levels.

With such high fiber content, Salba provides a great winning food in the battle of the bulge! Salba has the ability to absorb 14 times its weight in water. When added to meals it becomes a bulking agent, ensuring slower digestion and a slower rise in blood sugar. Salba’s fiber content, thus, stabilizes blood sugar levels, along with creating a sense of fullness.

Dr. Jack Bukowski, Assistant Professor of Medicine from Harvard Medical School has Salba to thank for his weight loss. “ I have found that Salba, when eaten with breakfast, stops the huge rise in blood sugar one hour after breakfast. Salba at breakfast smooths out the sugar peeks and valleys that make us uncontrollably hungry. I have found that 2 tablespoons of Salba at breakfast is effective at controlling hunger all day on a 1500 calorie/day diet.”

When made into a gel by soaking the seeds in water, Salba was also able to increase cellular hydration and electrolyte balance.

Dr. Vuksan had even more good news on the nutritional front. When measuring nutrients gram for gram, Salba has six times more calcium than whole milk, three times more iron than spinach, the potassium content of 1 1/2 bananas, as much vitamin C as seven oranges, fifteen times more magnesium than broccoli, and three times the antioxidant capacity of blueberries. Adding to this long list, Salba contains naturally occurring folate, B vitamins, zinc, selenium, and vitamin A. Salba also has more bioavailable protein than soy.

What’s amazing is that such a high-powered food has less that 1/2 gm. net carbohydrate per serving.

To add one further health bonus; Salba is gluten-free. This makes it an ideal food for those with wheat and/or gluten sensitivities.

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