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posted: 12/3/2012 6:00 AM

Your health: Benefits of chia seed

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  • Chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse, offering antioxidants, protein, fiber and omega-3s in a small package.

    Chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse, offering antioxidants, protein, fiber and omega-3s in a small package.


Nutritional punch

We're talking about the chia seed. Teeny to the naked eye, the chia seed contains antioxidants, protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, making it one of the most super of superfoods, according to The Washington Post.

"Chia is great. It's easy to use and it's beneficial for a wide range of people -- those with food allergies, people who want to lose weight, vegetarians and athletes," says Rebecca Mohning, a Washington-area registered dietitian and owner of Expert Nutrition.

It's easy to use because -- unlike flaxseed, which has some of the same properties -- it doesn't need to be ground to access the key nutrients. Instead, the whole seed (slightly bigger than a poppy seed) can be sprinkled on top of pretty much anything.

"And its flavor is hard not to like, since it's essentially flavorless," says Mohning, who not only recommends the seed to her client groups but also uses it at home with her 4-year-old son, who has egg and other allergies.

"I use it in baking as an egg replacer. It has great binding capacity," Mohning says. (One tablespoon of chia powder in a quarter-cup of water equals one egg). It is also gluten-free and has anti-inflammatory properties, she says.

Golden years?

Millions of elderly men and women suffer from depression and anxiety, not surprising given the health issues, anxiety about the future and bereavement that often accompany aging, says The Washington Post.

But a new book, "Depression and Anxiety in Later Life: What Everyone Needs to Know," (Johns Hopkins Press) by geriatric psychiatrists Mark D. Miller and Charles F. Reynolds III argues that mental disorders are not a natural or inevitable part of getting older, no matter how common they may seem.

The book delves into the causes, symptoms and treatments of mental illness. According to Miller and Reynolds, the characteristics traditionally associated with "grumpy old men" -- irritability, disorganization and social withdrawal -- may actually be symptoms of depression caused by such issues as memory loss, physical pain, difficulty sleeping and eating, and end-of-life anxiety.

The book aims to help older people, their family members and caregivers identify the symptoms and make positive lifestyle changes to make the so-called "golden years" a little less gray.

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