Salba®, Whole Food Wonder Food
By Audrey van Petegem, Contributing Editor
This summer, my mother-in-law, Betty, came to visit us and brought a package of Salba® with her for me to try. She knows that I put wheat germ and ground flax seeds in everything – from muffins to meatballs – and thought Salba has even more health benefits than those two combined. Hmmmmm… could that be possible?
Not that I don’t trust my mother-in-law’s judgment, but I had to check this out myself. So this is what I found out. According to the website, Salba is the richest whole food source of Omega 3 fatty acids and fiber found in nature.
Gram for gram, Salba provides eight times more Omega 3s than salmon, four times more fiber than flax, six times more calcium than whole milk, and 13 times more antioxidants than blueberries. Plus it’s high in protein, magnesium, vitamin C, folic acid and iron. Furthermore, it contains a perfect 1:4 ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s. Well, for your curiosity, this ideal ratio is required for optimal health and hormones: regulating heart rate, blood pressure, blood clotting, fertility, immune support, and the reduction of inflammation. Inflammation is now understood to play a major role in chronic illnesses, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Inflammation is also a factor in many women’s hormonal issues, such as endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cysts, PMS, fibroids, and fibrocystic breasts. Salba can also help people with skin issues such as acne and eczema.
And, we’re not finished yet, Salba is also all-natural, has no trans-fats, very few carbohydrates, and is certified Non-GMO, Vegan, Kosher, and Gluten-Free. Phew!
So where does it come from? Remember the Chia pets? Now we have a new reason to love them. There is an edible white version of those seeds they sprout from called Salba (Salvia hispanica L.). The grain was originally used as a food and medicine by the highly advanced Aztec civilization. They believed it gave them mystical, almost supernatural energy and power, (just knowing that, I’m hooked) and they used it in religious ceremonies that paid tribute to their deities. Aztec couriers devoured the grain as their main source of energy and as a way to reduce thirst. They called it “Running Food”.
Most of the earlier studies on Salba were done in Canadian Universities. The Canadian Diabetes society started supporting some of the research when it was discovered that Salba has a positive effect on people with diabetes. The American Diabetes society now recommends the consumption of Salba to help reduce cardiovascular risk in people with type 2 diabetes. The University of Toronto continues to study Salba and its connection with weight loss. Thus far they are excited about their preliminary results showing a reduction in after meal blood glucose and insulin levels and a suppression of appetite. Well that is good news!
For me, trying to feed a family of five the healthiest way I can, this is a no-brainer. There are many recipe ideas on the Salba website but I like to keep things simple. Whatever I am cooking or baking I add 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground Salba, which is tasteless and odorless, to almost everything. My favorite way to use Salba is to incorporate it while baking (cookies, pancakes and muffins) and for cooking (meatballs, sauces – it’s a natural thickener) and breaded chicken. Get the idea? I should also mention that last week I put Salba in my son’s birthday cake that his sisters and I made from Sof’ella Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix (from Fresh and Easy) and it did not change the texture or taste of the cake. I felt good not only seeing my family devour it but eating it myself!
Salba can be found in any health food store. I keep it on the counter in a jar, right beside the salt and pepper, so it is always handy. Let us know how you use it.