Food as Medicine: Pecan (Carya illinoinensis, Juglandaceae)

Pecan (Carya illinoinensis) is a member of the Juglandaceae family, which also includes other economically important North American trees, such as hickory (Carya spp.) and walnut (Juglans spp.).1,2 Fossil records show that the pecan tree can live up to a thousand years, and its existence predates human settlements in North America.3 Pecan can grow to a height of 150 feet with a seven-foot diameter.2-4 The deciduous, lanceolate leaves are alternate and odd-pinnately compound and are typically made up of 9-17 leaflets.4In the spring, the tree produces both male and female inconspicuous flowers that are often wind-pollinated.5,6 During the summer, the “fruit” of the tree grows in clusters of 3-6 one-inch oblong brown-shelled nuts, called endocarps, that contain two seeds that are referred to and sold in the market as pecans.4,5

The pecan tree initially requires well-drained soil with an adequate water supply; however, once established, it is drought-tolerant.7 Pecan trees are native to North America, and typically grow in the southern and midwestern regions of the United States and in the northern regions of Mexico.2,8Eighty percent of the world’s supply of pecans is grown and produced in the United States,2 but other countries, such as Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Israel, China, South Africa, and Australia also produce pecans on a large commercial scale.4,7 In the United States, pecans are grown and harvested commercially in 14 states. More than 75% of US pecans come from Georgia, New Mexico, and Texas, which produced 76 million, 67 million, and 61 million pounds, respectively, in 2014.9,10

Among tree nut consumption in the United States, pecans rank third behind almonds (Prunus dulcis, Rosaceae) and English walnuts (Juglans regia, Juglandaceae), respectively.10 In 2014, the global pecan crop totaled 264.2 million pounds or 132,075 US tons and was valued at $517 million, a 12% increase from 2013. In terms of pecan exports, Hong Kong and Vietnam remain the primary markets for in-shell pecans from the United States. Canada and the Netherlands are the primary markets for shelled pecans from the United States.

Phytochemicals and Constituents

Pecans contain essential fatty acids, 17 different vitamins and minerals, and phenols and phytosterols.4They are calorie-dense and have a high-fat content.7 Of all culinary nuts (though the pecan nutmeat is botanically considered a drupe), pecans have the second-highest fat content after macadamia (Macadamiaspp., Proteaceae).11 Pecans are low in saturated fats but are a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), primarily oleic acid, and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), predominantly linoleic acid (omega-6).4 Diets with higher intakes of MUFAs and PUFAs and lower intakes of saturated and trans fats correlate with a lower risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Compared to other nuts, pecans have an especially high antioxidant content.12 Specifically, pecans contain bioactive compounds such as phenols, condensed tannins (e.g., proanthocyanidins, or PACs), hydrolyzable tannins (e.g., derivatives of gallic and ellagic acids), and tocopherol isomers that contribute to their antioxidant activity.12,13

Phenolic acids, such as gallic acid, may inhibit the growth of a variety of bacteria.14 PACs exhibit antimutagenic properties and antioxidant effects,1 specifically by inhibiting lipid oxidation in both foods and in human cells.15 A study that analyzed phenolic compounds from 18 different pecan cultivars in the United States found that the most abundant antioxidants present were PACs, as well as gallic and ellagic acids and their derivatives.12

Pecan shells have also been tested for bioactive compounds and reportedly contain higher amounts of phenolic compounds than the actual pecan nutmeat.13 Current research is exploring the use of teas prepared with pecan nut shells to treat liver damage in rat models, which may expand the role of pecans in the human diet.16 However, no human research has been conducted regarding the therapeutic use of pecan shells, so additional research is warranted to ensure safety.

Pecans are an excellent source of tocopherols, which are forms of lipid-soluble vitamin E, and exist as four different isomers: alpha, beta, gamma, and delta.4 Foods that are sources of vitamin E typically contain alpha-tocopherol and gamma-tocopherol. Pecans have unusually high gamma-tocopherol content: around 25 mg of gamma-tocopherol per 100 grams. Gamma-tocopherol has been observed to act as a stronger antioxidant in vivo than alpha-tocopherol.17 In addition, it has been suggested that gamma-tocopherol may also detoxify reactive nitrogen oxide species, and thus reduce inflammation in the body.

In addition, pecans contain phytosterols, also known as plant sterols, primarily in the forms of beta-sitosterol and stigmasterol, which may help lower cholesterol levels.12,18 In the small intestine, phytosterols compete with cholesterol for absorption and thus inhibit the body’s uptake and reuptake of cholesterol in the bloodstream. This can improve serum cholesterol levels and may reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol by up to 10-14%.4 Different cultivars and the degree of ripening in pecans yield varying quantities of phytosterols, but all varieties provide these plant sterols.19

Historical and Commercial Uses

The word “pecan” likely comes from an Algonquian language. French traders recorded the word as pacanesor pecanes, which later evolved into its current common name.8 Native Americans consumed and stored pecans, but also traded them for furs and other goods.2 The low-water and high-calorie contents of pecans help them survive long storage.20 A historical record from the mid-1500s by the Spanish explorer Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca revealed that Native Americans in south Texas would gather pecans in autumn and then grind them and soak them in water to make a milky beverage to sustain them throughout the winter.4This liquid also formed the base of a fermented beverage called powcohicora. Native Americans also used ground pecan meal to thicken stews and roasted the pecans for sustenance on long journeys.3

In addition to using the pecan nuts as a food source, the Kiowa tribe of the Great Plains area of the United States used decoctions of the tree bark to treat tuberculosis.21 The Comanche Nation used a poultice of pulverized pecan tree leaves as a topical treatment for ringworm-infected skin.

Although it can be used as a source of wood,3 the pecan tree is primarily grown and commercialized for its nuts. In order to reduce waste, different uses for pecan shells are being researched more extensively. Pecan shell mulch is available in areas that produce pecans commercially; however, its high tannin content may inhibit the growth of certain plant species. In addition, pecan shells can be used like wood chips to smoke and barbeque meats.

Due to its wide distribution throughout the state and long history of cultivation, the pecan tree became the official state tree of Texas in 1919.3 Texas also officially recognized pecan as its state health nut in 2001, and named pecan pie as the state pie in 2013.22

Modern Research

Currently, most research conducted on pecan consists of epidemiological or population-based studies that analyze correlations between nut consumption and lowered risk of CVD.23 However, there have been some in vitro and clinical research studies that have investigated the effects of pecan consumption in regards to antioxidant capacity.

Cardiovascular Health

Nut consumption has been linked to lowered risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks.4,23Epidemiological studies suggest a 37% decreased risk for coronary heart disease when nuts are consumed at least four times a week compared to infrequent or no nut consumption.24 A systematic review and meta-analysis of 61 trials confirmed that increased intake of tree nuts was associated with lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, apolipoprotein B (Apo B, the main protein constituent of LDL cholesterol), and triglyceride levels.25 The review also found that nut consumption correlated with markedly lower Apo B levels in patients with diabetes versus patients without diabetes. Because people with diabetes are at an increased risk for CVD, this finding is significant and should be explored further.

In a crossover study, participants were randomly assigned to consume either a pecan-enriched diet or the National Cholesterol Education Program Step 1 diet for four weeks. The participants switched diets for the following four weeks. When consuming the pecan-rich diet, participants demonstrated a decrease in concentrations of Apo B and an increase in Apo A1, which stimulates an uptake of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, beyond the values observed in the Step 1 diet.26 Decreased LDL and increased HDL cholesterol levels were also observed in participants while consuming the pecan diet. In addition, the pecan-enriched diet resulted in decreased plasma triglycerides.

A study assessed postprandial (post-meal) plasma antioxidant capacity in human subjects after pecan consumption, and found that participants who consumed 90 grams (about three servings) of whole pecans or pecans blended with water had significantly higher hydrophilic and lipophilic plasma oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC; which measures antioxidant capability in blood), decreased LDL oxidation, and increased plasma catechin concentrations, compared to the control meal that matched the pecans in caloric, fluid, and macronutrient contents.27 This demonstrates the bioavailability and potential antioxidant action in humans after consuming pecans.

Similarly, a randomized controlled, crossover trial assessed the impact of the addition of pecans to the diet on cholesterol levels and antioxidant capacity. Twenty-four healthy participants were assigned to either a control diet with no pecans or a pecan-enriched diet for four weeks, and then switched diets for another four weeks.15 The results showed that during the consumption of the pecan-enriched diet, participants significantly increased serum gamma-tocopherol (normalized to total cholesterol) while decreasing plasma LDL levels and inhibiting lipid peroxidation and degradation. Total antioxidant activity was not significantly different between groups.

Type 2 Diabetes

Though the mechanism of action is not fully understood, an inverse relationship has been observed between nut consumption and risk for developing type 2 diabetes.28 The Nurse’s Health Study suggested that a higher intake of MUFAs and PUFAs may contribute to improved insulin sensitivity.

For individuals with type 2 diabetes, it appears that nut consumption has a neutral impact on blood glucose and insulin levels.28 This makes nuts a healthy option for people with diabetes looking to lower their risk of CVD while having minimal impact on their blood glucose levels. Though the caloric intake associated with adding nuts to the diet is a concern, especially for those with, or at risk for, type 2 diabetes, the evidence that increased nut intake is associated with weight gain is inconclusive. Some studies show slight weight gain and others show weight maintenance or even loss with the addition of nuts to a calorie-controlled diet.28,29

Consumer Considerations

Like many other nuts, pecans contain phytic acid, which can block or reduce absorption of important minerals, including calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc.4 The process of soaking or drying the pecans prior to consumption can reduce the phytic acid content. Pecans are also high in oxalates, so individuals with a history of calcium oxalate kidney stones should consider limiting intake of pecans to prevent complications.

Pecans are in the class of tree nuts, which are fairly common food allergens. It is estimated that about 1% of the population (about three million people) in the United States suffers from tree nut and/or peanut (Arachis hypogaea, Fabaceae) allergies.4 These allergies can cause severe reactions, such as life-threatening anaphylaxis. Individuals with tree nut allergies should, therefore, avoid consumption of or exposure to pecans, and always read food ingredient labels to determine if there is any possible contamination from the processing facility.

Although more common in peanuts and Brazil nuts (Bertholletia excelsa, Lecythidaceae), nuts like pecans are susceptible to contamination with a mold called Aspergillus flavus, which produces aflatoxins, which are among the most carcinogenic substances known, and also have the potential to lead to mental impairment in children.4 To avoid this mold, it is important to purchase high-quality nuts from reputable grocery stores that keep them in a dry, cool environment. Because of their high-fat content, shelled pecans have a shorter shelf life than pecans in the shell and become rancid easily, so it is best to consume them soon after shelling or properly store them in the refrigerator or freezer.4,11 Purchasing them in the shell and roasting them at home can also safeguard against this fungal growth.11

Nutrient Profile30

Macronutrient Profile: (Per 1 ounce [approx. 28.4 grams])

196 calories
2.6 g protein
3.9 g carbohydrate
20.4 g fat

Secondary Metabolites: (Per 1 ounce [approx. 28.4 grams])

Excellent source of:

Manganese: 1.3 mg (65% DV)
Vitamin E: 7.6 mg (36.7% DV)

Very good source of:

Thiamin: 0.2 mg (13.3% DV)
Dietary Fiber: 2.7 g (10.8% DV)

Good source of:

Magnesium: 34 mg (8.5% DV)
Phosphorus: 79 mg (7.9% DV)

Also provides:

Iron: 0.7 mg (3.9% DV)
Potassium: 116 mg (3.3% DV)
Vitamin B6: 0.06 mg (3% DV)
Riboflavin: 0.04 mg (2.4% DV)
Calcium: 20 mg (2% DV)
Niacin: 0.3 mg (1.5% DV)
Folate: 6 mcg (1.5% DV)
Vitamin K: 1 mcg (1.3% DV)

Trace amounts:

Vitamin C: 0.3 mg (0.5% DV)
Vitamin A: 16 IU (0.3% DV)

DV = Daily Value as established by the US Food and Drug Administration, based on a 2,000-calorie diet.

Recipe: Pecan Pie Energy Bites

Courtesy of Gluten Free Vegan Pantry31

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Process dates in a food processor on high for about 45 seconds, or until a date ball begins to form.

  2. Add pecans and process for another 1-2 minutes.

  3. Add remaining ingredients, scraping down the sides of the processor bowl if necessary, and process for another 1-2 minutes.

  4. Using a small ice cream scoop or 1-tablespoon measure, portion

    out

    the mixture and roll into balls. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and place in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.

  5. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

References

  1. Villarreal-Lozoya JE, Lombardini L, Cisneros-Zevallos L. Phytochemical constituents and antioxidant capacity of different pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] cultivars. Food Chemistry. 2007;102:1241-1249.
  2. National Geographic Society. Edible: An Illustrated Guide to the World’s Food Plants. Lane Cove, Australia: Global Book Publishing; 2008.
  3. Pecan Tree: Texas State Tree. State Symbols USA website. Available at: www.statesymbolsusa.org/symbol-official-item/texas/state-tree/pecan-tree. Accessed October 16, 2017.
  4. Murray M. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York, NY: Atria Books; 2005.
  5. Plants Profile for Carya illinoinensis (pecan). United States Department of Agriculture website. Available at: http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=cail2. Accessed October 16, 2017.
  6. Cheatham S, Johnston MC, Marshall L. The Useful Wild Plants of Texas, the Southeastern United States, the Southern Plains, and Northern Mexico. Volume 3. Austin, TX: Useful Wild Plants, Inc; 2009.
  7. Van Wyk B-E. Food Plants of the World. Portland, OR: Timber Press; 2006.
  8. Hall GD. Pecan food potential in prehistoric North America. Economic Botany. 2000;54(1):103-112.
  9. Lillywhite J, Simonsen J, Heerema R. US consumer purchases and nutritional knowledge of pecans. Horttechnology. 2014;24(2):222-230.
  10. Pecans. Agricultural Marketing Resource Center website. August 2015. Available at: www.agmrc.org/commodities-products/nuts/pecans/. Accessed October 16, 2017.
  11. Wood R. The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia. New York, NY: Penguin Books; 1999.
  12. Robbins K, Gong Y, Wells M, et al. Investigation of the antioxidant capacity and phenolic constituents of US pecans. Journal of Functional Foods. 2015;15:11-22.
  13. de la Rosa L, Vazquez-Flores A, Pedraza-Chaverri J, et al. Content of major classes of polyphenolic compounds, antioxidant, antiproliferative, and cell protective activity of pecan crude extracts and their fractions. Journal of Functional Foods. 2014;7:219-228.
  14. Prado A, Aragao A, Fett R, et al. Phenolic compounds and antioxidant activity of pecan (Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch) kernel cake extracts. Grasas Y Aceites (España). 2009;(5):458.
  15. Haddad E, Jambazian P, Karunia M, et al. A pecan-enriched diet increases γ-tocopherol/cholesterol and decreases thiobarbituric acid reactive substances in plasma of adults. Nutrition Research. 2006;26:397-402.
  16. Müller L, Pase C, Burger M, et al. Hepatoprotective effects of pecan nut shells on ethanol-induced liver damage. Experimental and Toxicologic Pathology: Official Journal of the Gesellschaft Für Toxikologische Pathologie. 2013;65(1-2):165-171.
  17. Christen S, Woodall AA, Shigenaga MK, et al. γ-tocopherol traps mutagenic electrophiles such as NOx and complements α-tocopherol: Physiological implications. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.1997;94:3217–3222.
  18. Alasalvar C, Bolling BW. Review of nut phytochemicals, fat-soluble bioactives, antioxidant components and health effects. British Journal of Nutrition. 2015;113 Suppl 2:S68-S78.
  19. Bouali I, Trabelsi H, Berdeaux O, et al. Analysis of pecan nut (Carya illinoinensis) unsaponifiable fraction. Effect of ripening stage on phytosterols and phytostanols composition. Food Chemistry. 2014;164:309-316.
  20. Pecan. Texas Texas Beyond History website. Available at: www.texasbeyondhistory.net/st-plains/nature/images/pecan.html. Accessed October 16, 2017.
  21. Moerman D. Native American Ethnobotany. Portland, OR: Timber Press; 1998.
  22. Texas State Symbols. Texas State Library and Archives Commission website. August 30, 2017. Available at: www.tsl.texas.gov/ref/abouttx/symbols.html. Accessed November 9, 2017.
  23. O’Neil C, Keast D, Fulgon V, Nicklas T. Tree nut consumption improves nutrient intake and diet quality in US adults: an analysis of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2004. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2010;19(2):142-150.
  24. Kelly J, Sabaté J. Nuts and coronary heart disease: an epidemiological perspective. British Journal of Nutrition. 2006;96 Suppl 2:S61-S67.
  25. Del Gobbo L, Falk M, Feldman R, et al. Effects of tree nuts on blood lipids, apolipoproteins, and blood pressure: systematic review, meta-analysis, and dose-response of 61 controlled intervention trials. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2015;102(6):1347-1356.
  26. Rajaram S, Burke K, Connell B, et al. A monounsaturated fatty acid-rich pecan-enriched diet favorably alters the serum lipid profile of healthy men and women. Journal of Nutrition. 2001;131(9):2275-2279.
  27. Hudthagosol C, Haddad E, McCarthy K, et al. Pecans acutely increase plasma postprandial antioxidant capacity and catechins and decrease LDL oxidation in humans. Journal of Nutrition. 2011;141(1):56-62.
  28. Lovejoy J. The impact of nuts on diabetes and diabetes risk. Current Diabetes Reports. 2005;5(5):379-384.
  29. Morgan W, Clayshulte B. Pecans lower low density lipoprotein cholesterol in people with normal lipid levels. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2000;100:312-318.
  30. Basic Report: 12142, Nuts, pecans. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Available at: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3681. Accessed October 16, 2017.
  31. Pecan pie energy bites – vegan + gluten free. Gluten Free Vegan Pantry website. April 24, 2015. Available at: www.glutenfreeveganpantry.com/pecan-pie-energy-bites-vegan-gluten-free/. Accessed October 19, 2017.

 

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The Health Benefits of Celeriac

Celeriac, also known as celery root, is an unusual and nutritious vegetable with a wide variety of uses. It is from the same family as celery but is a very different plant.

Celeriac that has been washed and peeled can be eaten raw or cooked using different methods.

This article explores the nutritional content of celeriac, its possible health benefits, and how to use it in recipes.

What is celeriac?

celeriac

Celeriac contains many nutrients and is similar in taste to celery and parsley.

Celeriac has green leaves and stalks that grow above ground, and a root covered in rough, brown skin that grows underground.

The edible part of the celeriac plant is the root. Inside it is pale in color, similar to that of a potato or turnip. Its flavor is similar to celery and parsley.

Celeriac contains multiple nutrients that may offer health benefits, as part of a healthy diet, including:

  • vitamin C
  • vitamin K
  • vitamin B-6
  • potassium
  • phosphorus
  • fiber

Celeriac originated in Mediterranean and north European countries. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Italians used it for medicinal and religious purposes. Scientists first wrote about it as food in the 1600s, and it remains popular throughout Europe.

Celeriac vs. celery

While celery is grown for its edible leaves and stalks, celeriac is grown for its roots. Celeriac is sometimes called celery root, but it is not the root of celery stalks.

Other names for celeriac are knob celery and turnip-rooted celery, and it is the same family as carrots and related to celery, parsley, and parsnips.

Health benefits of celeriac

Bone health

Rich in vitamin C, celeriac could help reduce the risk of high blood pressure.

Vitamin K intake may impact bone health. Celeriac is high in vitamin K with a 1 cup of raw celeriac containing 64 micrograms (mcg).

Researchers reviewed studies that looked at the relationship between vitamin K and bone fractures. They found that people with higher dietary vitamin K intake had a lower risk of fractures.

Specifically, they noted that risk of fracture reduced by 22 percent in people with the highest vitamin K intake compared with those with the lowest.

Diabetes

Diabetes affects millions of people around the world. A healthful diet may lower the risk for type 2 diabetes.

In one large study in Europe, scientists examined the association between fruit and vegetable intake, including root vegetables, and risk for type 2 diabetes.

They found that people who ate the most root vegetables had a 13 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who consumed the least amounts.

Eating the root of the celeriac plant is one way to increase intake of root vegetables.

Heart health

In one study, scientists looked at the association between plasma ascorbic acid, a marker of vitamin C in the blood, and risk for high blood pressure. They found that people with higher blood levels of ascorbic acid had a lower risk of developing high blood pressure.

Consuming foods that are high in vitamin C, such as celeriac, could help lower the risk for high blood pressure by improving ascorbic acid levels.

Nutritional information

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, 1 cup of raw celeriac provides:

  • 66 kilocalories (kcal)
  • 2.34 grams (g) of protein
  • 0.47 g of fat
  • 14.35 g of carbohydrate
  • 2.8 g of fiber

Celeriac is a concentrated source of many nutrients. A 1-cup serving of raw celeriac provides the following daily value (DV) percentages:

  • 11 percent of fiber
  • 13 percent of potassium
  • 13 percent of vitamin B-6
  • 18 percent of phosphorus.

Celeriac is high in vitamins C and K, providing 21 and 80 percent of the DV for those nutrients, respectively.

Recipes

celeriac in salad

Celeriac can be used uncooked, sliced, or grated and added to salads.

Celeriac is a versatile vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked.

Raw celeriac is commonly used in salads. It may be best known for its use in a French dish called celerie remoulade.

Cooked celeriac can be prepared by baking, boiling, frying, or steaming. It can also be mashed and served as a side dish, or chopped and added to soups.

See below for a few celeriac recipes:

Substitutes

If celeriac is not available, celery and parsley root can be switched for a similar flavor in soups. For mashing or roasting, parsnips or potatoes could be used in place of celeriac.

Often, celeriac and potatoes are prepared using similar methods, or they can be substituted for one another in recipes. Celeriac can also be used as an alternative to potatoes for people trying to lower their calorie or carbohydrate intake.

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, one cup of boiled celeriac pieces provides 42 kcal and 9.14 g of carbohydrate. The same amount of boiled potatoes provides 134 kcal and 31.22 g of carbohydrate.

Health Benefits of Carrot Juice

Juicing has become increasingly popular in recent years and is now a multi-million dollar industry.

Fresh fruit and vegetable juices can be purchased at most grocers, farmers’ markets, and shops dedicated to fresh juice. They can also be made at home with juicing equipment.

Carrots are a common ingredient in many juices, as they provide a flavor that pairs well with many other fruits and vegetables.

Aside from taste, carrot juice may also provide numerous health benefits. Read on to learn more about the potential health benefits and possible risks of drinking carrot juice.

Nutritional information

Carrot juice in glasses next to raw carrots on chopping board.

Carrot juice is nutritionally dense and a more healthful alternative to many fruit juices.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database, 1 cup of canned carrot juice contains:

  • 94 kilocalories (kcal)
  • 2.24 grams (g) of protein
  • 0.35 g of fat
  • 21.90 g of carbohydrate
  • 1.90 g of fiber

The same amount of juice provides a variety of vitamins and minerals, including:

  • 689 milligrams (mg) of potassium
  • 20.1 mg of vitamin C
  • 0.217 mg of thiamin
  • 0.512 mg of vitamin B-6
  • 2,256 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin A
  • 36.6 mcg of vitamin K

Health benefits for carrot juice

Carrot juice is nutritious and may be beneficial for a range of health conditions:

Stomach cancer

Carrots contain antioxidants, which may explain their role in cancer prevention. In a review of studies, researchers looked at the effect of eating carrots on the risk for stomach cancer.

They concluded that eating carrots were associated with a 26 percent lower risk for stomach cancer. However, they did not specify how many had to be eaten to lower stomach cancer risk. More controlled studies are needed to confirm this association.

Leukemia

More research is needed, but carrot juice may have a future role in leukemia treatment.

In one study, researchers looked at the effect of carrot juice extracts on leukemia cells. The carrot juice extracts caused the leukemia cells to self-destruct and stopped their cell cycle.

Breast cancer

Purple, white, and orange carrots in box.

The high levels of carotenoids in carrot juice may help to lower the risk of breast cancer returning,

A study of breast cancer survivors looked at the effect of carrot juice on levels of carotenoids, markers of oxidative stress, and markers of inflammation in the blood.

The researchers reported that higher levels of carotenoids in the blood were associated with a lower risk of breast cancer returning.

During the study, participants consumed 8 ounces of carrot juice daily for 3 weeks. At the end of the study, the women had higher blood levels of carotenoids and lower levels of a marker associated with oxidative stress.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Carrot juice is high in vitamin C. Researchers looked at the association between dietary vitamin C intake and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in Korean adults aged 40 years or older.

They found that people with COPD had significantly lower intakes of multiple nutrients found in carrot juice, including carotene, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C, than people without COPD.

However, people with COPD also ate significantly less food overall than people without COPD.

For people who smoked heavily, the risk of COPD is lower in those who consumed more vitamin C than those who consumed very little.

Possible risks and considerations

People with weakened immune systems — such as those receiving cancer treatment, pregnant women, young children, and older people — may need to avoid certain foods if there is a risk of these carrying food-borne illnesses.

Fruit and vegetable juices that are freshly squeezed or have not been pasteurized may have a higher risk of carrying germs.

The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center state that people who have been told to follow a low-microbial diet should avoid unpasteurized fruit and vegetable juices unless they are made at home.

According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), pregnant women should choose juices that have been pasteurized or treated to have a long shelf life. Freshly squeezed juices, which may be sold at farmers’ markets or juice bars, should also be avoided.

Carrots contain a type of carotenoid called beta-carotene that the body can convert into vitamin A.

Eating large amounts of carotenoids from foods has not been linked with harmful effects. However, the skin can turn yellow-orange if a person consumes large amounts of beta-carotene for a long time. This effect is called carotenoderma.

Juicing tips and recipes

Carrots freshly blended and juiced.

Carrot juice contains less fiber and more sugar than raw carrots.

According to Stanford Health Care, the vitamin and mineral nutrients in 1 cup of carrot juice are almost equivalent to the amounts in 5 cups of chopped carrots.

While fresh fruit and vegetable juices do provide plenty of nutrients, they do not contain as much fiber as fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, they contain more sugar per cup than whole fruits and vegetables.

For example, 1 cup of carrot juice contains 2 g of fiber and 9 g of sugar, while 1 cup of cubed, raw carrots contains 3.5 g of fiber and 6 g of sugar.

Making fresh carrot juice at home requires a juice extractor. These appliances are sold online, in department stores, and at other retail stores that sell small kitchen appliances.

It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using a juicer and clean it after each use. Juice extractors may also come with recipe suggestions.

Carrots can be combined with other fruits and vegetables to make tasty juices. A person can try the following recipes at home:

Also,

Carrot juice may offer many health benefits due to the concentrated levels of nutrients it contains.

However, carrot juice has less fiber and more sugar than whole carrots. Fiber is associated with weight management and lowering cholesterol levels.

Carrot juice may not be appropriate for everyone, especially pregnant women, young children, the elderly, and people with certain illnesses, depending on how it is prepared.

Carrot juice in moderation can be included as part of a healthy diet. However, drinking juice is not a replacement for eating whole fruits and vegetables.

The Health Benefits of Nopal Cactus

The nopal cactus is more commonly known as the prickly pear cactus. It is native to Mexico and famous for its health benefits due to its high antioxidant, vitamin, mineral, and fiber content.

What is nopal?

Nopal cactus on copping board, cut into pieces for cooking.

Nopales are the pads of the nopal cactus and can be cooked or eaten raw.

Nopales or nopalitos are the pads of the nopal or prickly pear cactus. They are eaten as a vegetable and commonly found in restaurants, grocery stores, and farmers’ markets across the American Southwest and Mexico.

They can be sautéed and used in many dishes, including tacos, scrambled eggs, or as a side dish with tomatoes and onions.

Nopales can also be eaten raw. They resemble a green pepper when diced and are turned into juice, jams, or tea.

Prickly pear fruit or the small, rounded, and often colorful part of the plant can also be consumed.

Juice extracted from the fruit is a popular drink of choice for health-conscious consumers in Mexico.

Nutritional information

One cup of raw nopales contains approximately:

  • 14 calories
  • 1 gram (g) of protein
  • less than 1 g of fat
  • 3 g of carbohydrate
  • 2 g of fiber
  • 1 g of sugar
  • 20 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin A
  • 8 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C
  • 141 mg of calcium
  • 4.6 mcg of vitamin K

The prickly pear fruit, which comes in a variety of colors, contains the flavonoids kaempferol and quercetin, which are antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties.

In a study comparing three different juices from various colors of prickly pear — red-purple, white-green, and yellow-orange — the red-purple variety had the most antioxidants.

Health benefits

Prickly pear nopal cactus juice green drink, with nopales by glass.

Nopal juice may help to reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels. It can also be used for treating wounds.

Both parts of the nopal plant — the nopales and the fruit — have been used in traditional medicine for disease treatment and prevention.

The cactus has been used to treat:

  • glaucoma
  • wounds
  • fatigue
  • liver conditions
  • ulcers

The purported benefits of fresh nopal juice include lowering blood sugar, healing wounds, and lowering cholesterol.

Human studies on the nopal cactus and its ability to treat or prevent disease are limited. Nevertheless, many studies have confirmed the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of the plant.

Diabetes

Cactus plants have been traditionally used in Mexico for the treatment of diabetes.

In a small study of people with type 2 diabetes, two groups of participants were given a high carbohydrate breakfast. One group consumed nopal with their breakfast, while the other did not.

The group who ate the nopal had significantly lower blood sugar levels after the meal, as well as lower insulin levels, compared to the group who did not have nopal.

People with diabetes benefit from including high-fiber foods, such as nopal and prickly pear, in their diet. High-fiber diets can improve blood sugar, lower insulin levels, and improve blood lipids.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommend consuming at least 25 g of fiber per day for women and 38 g for men.

Risks and considerations

The juice made from nopal is often mixed with other juices, such as pineapple, orange, or grapefruit, which can have a high amount of sugar.

People with diabetes should monitor the amount of sugar they are consuming. It is best to opt for the fresh fruit instead of juice or squeeze fresh juice at home.

In many parts of Mexico, vendors sell fresh nopal juice after the plant is rinsed with only tap water, without pasteurization or any antibacterial processing.

As cattle manure is often used for fertilizer, researchers tested for food-borne pathogens in unpasteurized nopal juice.

Their study found that 91 percent of their samples were positive for E. coli and 1 percent were positive for Salmonella. These bacteria can cause serious illnesses, so people should be sure to buy nopal and nopal juice only from reputable sources.

Recipes

Nopales from nopale cactus or prickly pear cactus, frying in a pan with onions and chilli.

Nopal cactus is a versatile ingredient, whether using the pads or prickly pear fruit.

Prickly pear can be eaten raw, but the skin must be removed. Prickly pears that are not as ripe tend to be less sweet, while the fruit that is red and purple is sweeter.

All prickly pears have small, hard seeds that can be removed with a juicer or strainer, or simply spat out.

If a person grows or picks their own nopal, they will have to remove the thorns and the thick green skin.

A person should rinse the nopales thoroughly to remove the slimy texture before cooking.

Diced nopal can be sautéed with olive oil, onions, jalapeños, and tomatoes to make this salad.

Nopales make a tasty filling for vegan tacos. Sliced nopales can be grilled like peppers for fajitas. They can also be used in an egg scramble.

Also,

Nopales and prickly pear fruit are high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

They are a healthy addition to a balanced diet and may help decrease blood sugars when eaten with a balanced meal.

Food as Medicine: Chia (Salvia hispanica, Lamiaceae)

Chia (Salvia hispanica, Lamiaceae) is an annual herb native to Mexico and Guatemala that requires fertile, well-drained soil and subtropical climate conditions to set seed in the late summer months of July and August.1-4 Chia is the most common name for this plant, but it is also sometimes called Spanish sage, lime-leaf sage, Mexican chia, and black chia.2,4 The plant grows to three feet (0.9 meters) tall when mature, and has opposite, serrated leaves that are 1.5-3 inches (3.8-7.6 cm) long and 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) wide, and produces small white or purple flowers on the tips of its terminal stems.2,4,5 Chia’s leaves contain essential oil that acts as a defense mechanism to repel insects.2 The edible part of the chia plant is the seeds,5-7which are small (2 mm in length), flat, and oval-shaped.2 Although dark chia seeds are predominantly gray with dark spots,7 they can also appear white, black, black spotted, or dark brown, and may differ slightly in size and weight.2,5

Phytochemicals and Constituents

Chia seed has high levels of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and specific vitamins and minerals.2,7 The seed also contains all essential amino acids and is high in antioxidants.8 A gram of chia seeds contains about 0.28 g fiber, 0.21 g protein, and 0.6 g/g of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is the highest proportion of ALA of any known plant source.9 Chia seed and its oil have an abundance of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). ALA is the most predominant fatty acid found in chia, followed by the omega-6 fatty acids linoleic acid and oleic acid.

Omega-6 fatty acids have pro-inflammatory, hypertensive, and prothrombotic properties.5Omega-3 fatty acids, however, are associated with numerous health benefits and have anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, lipid-lowering, cardioprotective, and hepatoprotective properties. For maintenance of good health, omega-3 fatty acids should be incorporated in the diet at higher amounts than omega-6 fatty acids. The omega-3:omega-6 ratio found in chia seeds is about 3:1.6,7 The amount of oil within chia seed ranges from 25-40%.2,5

In comparable serving sizes, the protein content of chia seeds exceeds that of seeds such as amaranth (Amaranthus spp., Amaranthaceae) and quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa, Chenopodiaceae).2 The primary determinant of a high-quality protein is its digestibility or the amount of protein absorbed by the body relative to the amount consumed. For chia seed flour, protein digestibility is nearly 80%, which is comparable to processed cereal grains such as wheat (Triticum aestivum, Poaceae) and oats (Avena sativa, Poaceae); however, chia contains a much higher percentage of protein per serving than these grains.10Furthermore, chia seed contains high levels of the amino acids glutamic acid, arginine, and aspartic acid.2In addition to an abundance of these non-essential amino acids, chia seed contains all nine essential amino acids that the body is unable to produce and is therefore considered a complete protein, unlike other plant protein sources such as chickpeas (Cicer arietinum, Fabaceae). Chia seed contains low concentrations of prolamins (< 15%), which suggests that it can be safely incorporated into the diet of patients with celiac disease.2,10

Approximately two tablespoons (one ounce or about 28 grams) of chia seed provides almost 40% of an average person’s daily fiber intake, as recommended by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Total dietary fiber includes both soluble and insoluble forms that are important for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.2 Compared to other foods, chia seed contains more dietary fiber than an equivalent volume of flax (Linum usitatissimum, Linaceae) seed. High fiber intake also promotes gastrointestinal and digestive health.

Chia seeds and oil are not only known for their macronutrient and micronutrient contents, but also for their antioxidant properties.7 Phenolic compounds present in chia have been found to protect against certain diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.11 The most important polyphenols found in chia seeds and seed oil include chlorogenic and caffeic acids, which play a crucial role in the protection against free radicals and inhibit fat, protein, and DNA peroxidation.2,11,12 The flavonols myricetin, quercetin, and kaempferol are other active compounds present in chia seeds.7 Flavonols are known for their antioxidant, cytotoxic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-thrombotic effects.5,13 Researchers have found that these polyphenols and others found in chia seed and seed oil (e.g., rosmarinic, protocatechuic, and gallic acids) have a high antioxidant capacity.12,14

Historical and Commercial Uses

Chia has been used by Mesoamerican cultures for more than 1,000 years for medicinal, culinary, artistic, and religious purposes.7,15 The Chumash and Cahuilla peoples in the coastal southern regions of California cultivated chia for its seeds, which were collected, hulled, and winnowed by hand.16 After the introduction of wheat, chia was still a preferred crop, and small amounts of chia flour were used to improve the flavor of wheat flour.

The seed of the chia plant is the part most often used for medicinal purposes, but the root and aerial parts were also used occasionally.15 Prior to Spanish colonization in the 16th century, chia seed was used by native tribes to provide energy, treat respiratory infections, and for obstetrics treatment. Prized by Aztec warriors in central Mexico, chia seeds were eaten to promote endurance and consumed with bread prior to battle or with water before running long distances.8

The Diegueño people of Baja California took chia seeds on journeys, kept a few seeds in the mouth and periodically chewed them to maintain their strength.16 One tablespoon of chia seed was believed to be sufficient to feed a person for a day. After the 16th century, a mucilaginous paste made from chia seeds and water was used therapeutically to treat eye obstructions and infections.17 Medical uses of chia seed prior to Spanish colonization included soothing skin conditions, treating gastrointestinal conditions, lowering fevers, and as a poultice for open wounds.15,16

The chia seed has been used for culinary purposes in multiple forms: whole, ground (flour), mucilage, and oil.7,15 Seeds were ground into flour and used to make biscuits, cakes, and a porridge called pinole.16 Traditional foods, such as tortillas and tamales, were made from chianpinolli, or roasted and ground chia seed.15,17 Chia flour was used to make an array of beverages during the height of the Aztec Empire, but modern use of this tradition has declined.15 The most recognized use of chia seeds in the 18th and 19th centuries was infusing chia seeds in water, which was believed to make the alkaline desert water taste more palatable. “Chia fresca,” or “agua de Chia,” was also a popular, thirst-quenching beverage that combined chia seeds with fruit juices.15-17

Chia seed oil was also used for artistic purposes, primarily in paints and lacquers to create a glossy finish on clay or gourd vessels.15 The oil was also used as the basic ingredient for ceremonial face or body paint. Chia-infused beverages were historically consumed during ceremonies, festive occasions, and holy observances. Other religious uses included the use of chia flour to make dough that was formed into the shape of the goddess Chicomecoatl, the “maker and giver of things necessary to live,” as an offering. With the rediscovery of chia as an important food source, modern uses of chia seed and oil focus on its omega-3 fatty acid content for nutritional supplementation, and it is sold commercially as cold-pressed seed oil or whole seeds as ingredients for baked goods, snacks, bread, yogurt, and bars.2

In 1977, the Chia Pet, small hollow-bodied animal figurines made out of terra cotta, became a registered trademark of Joseph Enterprises, Inc.18 Moistened chia seeds are applied to the grooved ridges on the outside of the figurine, and water is added to the hole inside the figurine to help the seeds germinate. Within days, the figure grows a thick coat of chia sprouts. For more than 30 years, Chia Pets have offered customers amusement and an introductory lesson to the practice of cultivating plants.

Modern Research

Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors

The nutrient profile and bioactive compounds found in chia seed and oil have demonstrated cardioprotective effects by reducing disease risk factors in humans. Hypertension, a known risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease, is generally asymptomatic and can be difficult to control with drug therapies alone. Diet interventions can offer a complementary approach.19 Supplementation with ground chia seed for 12 weeks was shown to reduce blood pressure in individuals with treated and untreated hypertension. Participants in the study were randomly assigned to one of three groups: consumption of chia with previously used medications (CHIA-MD), chia without medications (CHIA-NM), or a placebo group with medications (PLA-MD). Subjects in the two treatment groups consumed 35 grams of chia flour per day. The PLA-MD group received 35 grams of roasted wheat bran as a placebo. Researchers found that the two chia groups had significantly reduced diastolic and systolic blood pressures from baseline. The CHIA-MD group also had significantly reduced total blood pressure from baseline.

A 2015 systematic review investigated current literature on consumption of whole or ground chia seeds and its effect on preventing or managing risk factors associated with heart disease, such as hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia, and obesity.20 The review focused on seven clinical trials published between 2007 and 2013. The chia seed preparations used in the studies varied in quantity (4-50 grams per day) and type (e.g., whole or milled). There were also differences in sample size, methodology, and participant characteristics (e.g., diabetic, obese, hypertensive). Therefore, the authors state that the findings on chia consumption and the effects of reducing cardiovascular risk factors are inconclusive. They recommend additional randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials on the consumption of chia to obtain reliable results and to determine an appropriate dose for cardioprotective benefits.

Obesity is a condition that has been associated with a state of chronic oxidative stress. Reactive oxygen species damage cell proteins, lipids, and DNA, and can result in impaired function and potentially cell death. Obesity also impedes the body’s enzymatic antioxidant system, reducing the activities of catalase, superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, and glutathione reductase.24 Additionally, obesity correlates with a reduction in levels of protective thiols, vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols. A study on chia seed’s efficacy for weight loss and decreasing disease risk factors in overweight adults found increases in plasma ALA levels. However, consumption of chia seed in high doses (50 grams per day) had no effect on weight loss or changes in disease risk factors related to cardiovascular disease (e.g., blood pressure, high-density and low-density lipoprotein, total cholesterol, or blood triglyceride levels).21Another randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study assessed the effectiveness of chia seed (whole or ground) supplementation for changing disease risk factors for overweight women.22 For 10 weeks, participants consumed 25 grams per day of ground or whole chia seeds or a placebo. Multiple outcome measures were assessed, and researchers observed a 58% and 39% increase in plasma ALA and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) levels, respectively, in the ground chia treatment group.

Glucose Levels

The use of chia as a food ingredient holds promise in the area of so-called “functional foods.” A 2013 study observed the effects of bread supplemented with chia seed flour on post-prandial (after-meal) blood sugar levels in healthy adults. Thirteen healthy adults consumed nine test meals that included bread supplemented with different doses (seven, 15, and 24 grams) of whole or ground chia.23 Bread without chia was used as the control. Researchers concluded there was a significant dose-dependent effect on blood glucose levels for both whole and ground seeds compared to the control, but no differences were evident between the same doses of the whole and ground seed groups. This may indicate that the quantity of seeds given in the diet will demonstrate hypoglycemic properties and not the form in which chia is ingested. The seeds used in the study were a specific varietal bred from black chia and proved effective for reducing blood glucose levels, but future research is needed to further investigate the benefits of different chia strains.

Antioxidant Properties

Chia’s antioxidant potential was analyzed in a 2015 rat study.24 Results demonstrated that daily consumption of chia seed and chia seed oil enhanced plasma antioxidant levels through catalase, glutathione peroxidase and thiol level reduction. Chia seed and seed oil intake resulted in a significant reduction in plasma levels of 8-isoprostane, the most specific biological indicator for assessing oxidative stress in vivo. High levels of 8-isoprostane can occur with a diet high in fat and fructose and result in pro-oxidative effects. This may be the mechanism by which chia seed and seed oil produce a hypolipidemic effect. Lipid peroxidation in rat livers was not reversible; however, levels of glutathione reductase were increased as well as thiol levels, resulting in improved antioxidant status.

Other Uses

Carbohydrate-loading refers to the practice of increasing dietary intake of carbohydrates prior to athletic events that last more than 90 minutes. This intake results in a greater capacity of muscle glycogen stores and aids in improved athletic performance.8 A 2011 study compared performance test results of six male marathon runners who were given two different carbohydrate-loading treatments: a commercial sports drink and the same commercial sports drink supplemented with chia. The runners participated in two trials in a crossover, counterbalanced, repeated-measure design with a two-week washout period between testing to allow participants to recover from the intense exercise and to avoid any carry-over effects from the treatments. While the researchers found no statistical difference between the control and the test groups in performance parameters, the athletes in the chia group significantly decreased their dietary intake of sugar while boosting intake of omega-3 fatty acids, which indicates that the chia drink may be a healthier option for athletes who choose to carbohydrate-load.

Chia seed oil is also used topically. Approximately 30% of patients with diabetes or end-stage renal disease (ESRD) suffer from skin disorders including pruritus, which is characterized by itchy, dry skin and inflammatory lesions caused by scratching.13 This study followed five patients with these conditions (three with diabetes; two with ESRD) and five patients without these conditions who all exhibited xerotic pruritus (abnormally dry, itchy skin) for eight weeks. A topical oil and water emulsion containing 4% chia seed oil were applied to the affected skin. Lotion without chia seed oil was used on participants as a placebo. After eight weeks of application, statistically significant improvements in skin hydration, chronic itching, and prurigo nodularis (hard, itchy lumps on the skin) were observed in the treatment group with diabetes and ESRD, while similar significant improvements in skin hydration and epidermal permeability were also observed in the group of patients without these conditions.

Consumer Considerations

Consumption of whole or ground chia seed has shown no evidence of toxicity or allergenic effects.2However, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, eighth edition, issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services and US Department of Agriculture listed a standard portion size of chia as one tablespoon (or roughly 50 grams) per day.25 This may be due to clinical studies that have not exceeded a dose of 50 grams per day, and thus the potential adverse effects have not been adequately studied above this amount.

The PUFA content, as well as the low concentration of tocopherol and phenolic compounds, account for the low oxidative stability of chia oil. Within 300 days, a 30% drop in the tocopherol content of chia seed oil was observed.9 The antioxidant capacity of chia oil is relatively low due to the hydrophilic nature of the phenolic compounds within the chia seed. Despite chia seed’s rich omega-3 and omega-6 content, there is a technological disadvantage in the production of chia seed oil in regards to its stability and short shelf life, especially when exposed to light or oxygen. Chia seed oil is best kept in the refrigerator after opening and should be used quickly to gain its full range of nutrients.

Nutrient Profile26

Macronutrient Profile: (Per 1-ounce seeds)

138 calories
4.7 g protein
11.9 g carbohydrate
8.7 g fat

Secondary Metabolites: (Per 1-ounce seeds)

Excellent source of:

Manganese: 0.8 mg (40% DV)
Dietary Fiber: 9.8 g (39.2% DV)
Phosphorus: 244 mg (24.4% DV)
Magnesium: 95 mg (23.8% DV)

Very good source of:

Calcium: 179 mg (17.9% DV)
Thiamin: 0.2 mg (13.3% DV)
Niacin: 2.5 mg (12.5% DV)
Iron: 2.2 mg (12.2% DV)

Also provides:

Folate: 14 mcg (3.5% DV)
Potassium: 115 mg (3.3% DV)
Riboflavin: 0.05 mg (3% DV)

Trace amounts of:

Vitamin C: 0.5 mg (0.8% DV)
Vitamin E: 0.14 mg (0.7% DV)
Vitamin A: 15 IU (0.3% DV)

DV = Daily Value as established by the US Food and Drug Administration, based on a 2,000-calorie diet.

Strawberries-and-Cream-Chia-Pudding-4-2

Recipe: Strawberries and Cream Chia Pudding

Adapted from Emily Han27

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces fresh strawberries
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds

Directions:

  1. Combine the strawberries, coconut milk, honey, vanilla, and lime zest in a blender. Puree until smooth. Taste and add more honey, if desired.

  2. Place the chia seeds in a large bowl and add the strawberry mixture. Whisk thoroughly to combine. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes, then whisk again.

  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours and up to three days. Stir before serving. The pudding will set up thicker the longer it sits.

References

  1. Salvia hispanica – L. Plants for a Future website. Available at: www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Salvia+hispanica. Accessed August 24, 2017.
  2. Muñoz LA, Cobos A, Diaz O, Aguilera JM. Chia seed (Salvia hispanica): An ancient grain and a new functional food. Food Reviews International. 2013;29:394-308.
  3. Taxon: Salvia hispanica L. US National Plant Germplasm System website. Available at: https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxonomydetail.aspx?32939. Accessed August 24, 2017.
  4. Kaiser C, Ernst M. Center for Crop Diversification Crop Profile: Chia. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. February 2016.
  5. Ali NM, Yeap SK, Ho WY, Beh BK, Tan SW, Tan SG. The promising future of chia, Salvia hispanica L. Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology. 2012;171956.
  6. Porras-Loaiza P, Jiménez-Munguía MT, Sosa-Morales ME, Palou E, López-Malo A. Physical properties, chemical characterization and fatty acid composition of Mexican chia (Salvia hispanica L.) seeds. International Journal of Food Science and Technology. 2014;49:571-577.
  7. Valdivia-López MA, Tecante A. Chia (Salvia hispanica): A review of native Mexican seed and its nutritional and functional properties. Advances in Food and Nutrition Research. 2015;75:54-71.
  8. Illian TG, Casey JC, Bishop PA. Omega 3 chia seed loading as a means of carbohydrate loading. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2011;25(1):61-65.
  9. Bodoira RM, Penci MC, Ribotta PD, Martínez ML. Chia (Salvia hispanica L.) oil stability: Study of the effect of natural antioxidants. LWT – Food Science and Technology. 2017;75:107-113.
  10. Kačmárová K, Lavová B, Socha P, Urminská D. Characterization of protein fractions and antioxidant activity of chia seeds (Salvia hispanica L.). Potravinarstvo. 2016;10(1):78-82.
  11. Pandey KB, Rizvi SI. Plant polyphenols as dietary antioxidants in human health and disease. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. 2009;2(5):270-278.
  12. da Silva Marineli R, Moraes ÉA, Lenquiste SA, Godoy AT, Eberlin MN, Maróstica Jr MR. Chemical characterization and antioxidant potential of Chilean chia seeds and oil (Salvia hispanica L.). LWT – Food Science and Technology. 2014;59:1304-1310.
  13. Jeong SK, Park HJ, Park BD, Kim I. Effectiveness of topical chia seed oil on pruritus of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients and healthy volunteers. Ann Dermatol. 2010;22(2):143-148.
  14. Martínez-Cruz O, Paredes-López O. Phytochemical profile and nutraceutical potential of chia seeds(Salvia hispanica L.) by ultra high performance liquid chromatography. Journal of Chromatography A. 2014;1346:43-48.
  15. Cahill J. Ethnobotany of chia, Salvia hispanica L. (Lamiaceae). Economic Botany. 2003;57(4):604-618.
  16. Immel DL. Plant Guide: Chia. Washington DC: United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service. 2003.
  17. Hershey DR. Don’t just pet your chia. Science Activities. 1995;32(2):8-12.
  18. Edwards O. Chia Pet. Smithsonian Magazine. December 2007. Available at: www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/chia-pet-180308610/. Accessed August 24, 2017.
  19. Toscano LT, Oliveira da Silva CS, Toscano LT, Monteiro de Almeida AE, Santos AdC, Silva AS. Chia flour supplementation reduces blood pressure in hypertensive subjects. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2014;69:392-398.
  20. de Souza Ferreira C, de Sousa Fomes LdF, Santo da Silva GE, Rosa G. Effect of chia seed (Salvia hispanica L.) consumption on cardiovascular risk factors in humans: a systematic review. Nutrición Hospitalaria. 2015;32(5):1909-1918.
  21. Nieman DC, Cayea EJ, Austin MD, Henson DA, McAnulty SR, Jin F. Chia seed does not promote weight loss or alter disease risk factors in overweight adults. Nutrition Research. 2009;29:414-418.
  22. Nieman DC, Gillitt N, Jin F, et al. Chia seed supplementation and disease risk factors in overweight women: a metabolomics investigation. J Alt Complement Med. 2012;18(7):700-708.
  23. Ho H, Lee AS, Jovanonvski E, Jenkins AL, DeSouza R, Vuksan V. Effect of whole and ground Salba seeds (Salvia hispanica L.) on postprandial glycemia in healthy volunteers: A randomized controlled, dose-response trial. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013;67:786-788.
  24. da Silva Marineli R, Lenquiste SA, Moraes ÉA, Maróstica Jr. MR. Antioxidant potential of dietary chia seed and oil (Salvia hispanica L.) in diet-induced obese rats. Food Research International. 2015;76:666-674.
  25. US Department of Health and Human Services and US Department of Agriculture. 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th ed. December 2015. Available at: http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines. Accessed September 14, 2017.
  26. Basic Report: 12006, Seeds, chia seeds, dried. United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service website. Available at: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3610. Accessed August 23, 2017.
  27. Han E. Dairy-Free Dessert Recipe: Strawberries & “Cream” Chia Pudding. The Kitchn website. May 8, 2013. Available at: www.thekitchn.com/recipe-strawberry-chia-pudding-recipes-from-the-kitchn-189016. Accessed August 23, 2017.
  28. Bauman H, Bates K. Food as Medicine: Strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa, Rosaceae). HerbalEGram. 2015;12(5). Available at: http://cms.herbalgram.org/heg/volume12/05May/FaM_Strawberry.html. Accessed September 11, 2017.