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Five Benefits of Flaxseeds:

Flaxseeds, which are also referred to as common flax or linseed, are small seeds that are brown, tan, or golden in color. Flaxseeds have been grown and consumed for thousands of years and are a staple throughout history including ancient Babylon, Aztecs, Rome, and even the Egyptians. Flaxseeds are one of the most nutrient-rich sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, lignans (antioxidants), and are packed with minerals such as magnesium, thiamine, and manganese. Flaxseeds can also be eaten in a variety of ways such as unground whole seeds, sprouted and ground into flaxseed meal, or processed into flaxseed oil. With the various ways to include Flaxseed in your diet, it’s no surprise why Flaxseeds popularity has risen recently.

Here are 5 benefits of consuming Flaxseeds:

  1. High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Flaxseeds contain an Omega-3 Fatty Acid called ALA, Alpha-linolenic acid. ALA is an n-3 fatty acid, which is one of two essential fatty acids that can only be acquired through diet. ALA has been shown to reduce many health complications including reducing inflammation, reducing the risk of CHD (Coronary Heart Disease), improving platelet function, improving irregular heartbeat, protecting arterial functions, and promoting healthy endothelial cell function.
  2. Low Carbs, High Fiber: Flaxseeds are low in carbohydrates, while being extremely high in both soluble and insoluble fiber. Within Flaxseeds there are prominent levels of mucilage gum content. This gum is a gel-forming fiber that is water-soluble and moves easily through your gastrointestinal tract undigested. Since the fiber in Flaxseed is unable to breakdown in the digestive tract this may help with fat loss, reducing sugar cravings, and colon detoxification.
  3. Supports Healthy Skin, Hair, and Nails: As mentioned before, Flaxseeds have high levels of ALA. ALA fats provide essential fatty acids as well as B vitamins which can reduce inflammation that causes dryness, flakiness, and irritation. Since there is such a high concentration of ALA this can make your hair, skin, and nails stronger and less susceptible to damage.
  4. Lowers Cholesterol: With high levels of soluble fiber, flaxseeds are able to isolate and trap fat and cholesterol, so they are not able to be absorbed in the digestive track. Soluble fiber is also able to trap bile which is made from cholesterol in the gallbladder. When bile is excreted through the digestion, the body will produce more bile while simultaneously using up extra cholesterol in the blood system, ultimately lowering cholesterol levels overall.
  5. Aids in Digestive Health: With ALA being so prominent in Flaxseeds, one of the most significant benefits of consuming Flaxseeds is its ability to support and aid in the digestive process. ALA has been shown to help reduce inflammation and protect the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. Additionally, the high fiber content found in Flaxseeds fuel good gut bacteria in your colon, therefore getting rid of waste from your body.

While the above are just some of the benefits Flaxseeds naturally has to offer, Flaxseeds can also help aid in weight loss, reduce menopausal and hormonal imbalances, and they could potentially prevent certain types of cancer. Flaxseeds are also naturally gluten-free and can be an essential addition to those who suffer from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Flaxseeds popularity has risen in recent years thanks to becoming staples in the trending Paleo and Ketogenic communities. As you can see, there are many great ways to add Flaxseeds to your diet. These include adding them to a smoothie, yogurt, or granola. Or you can bake cookies, bread, or muffins with them.

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MCTs: Are they good or bad?

Medium-Chain Triglycerides, or MCTs for short, are fats that are found in foods like coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and grass-fed dairy products such as cheese, butter, milk, and yogurt. In counter to MCTs, there are Long-Chain Triglycerides (LCTs), as well as Short-Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs), which are both metabolized differently. Triglycerides is just another term for fat. As you can see with MCTs, LCTs, and SCFAs the triglycerides are named after the length of their fatty acid chains and chemical structure. Triglycerides are made up from a glycerol molecule and three fatty acids. Each variation of these fatty acids contains different amounts of carbons. For MCTs the four main fatty acids include:

  1. Caproic acid/Hexanoic acid (C6)
  2. Caprylic acid/Octanoic acid (C8)
  3. Capric acid/Decanoic acid (C10)
  4. Lauric acid/Dodencanoic acid (C12)

When it comes to fats in our diets, the majority is made up of LCTs. Since MCTs have a shorter chain length, they are broken down and absorbed by your body more quickly. Since the absorption process happens quicker, MCTs can be fast sources of energy while also being less likely to be stored as fat. When it comes to increasing MCTs in your diet, achieving this can be done by consuming whole foods that contain more MCTs or taking a supplement like MCT oil. Each food and supplement have different MCT compositions. To achieve the highest level of MCT intake, you should research the foods and supplements that best work in your diet.  As mentioned previously MCTs can be found naturally in foods such as coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and grass-fed dairy products such as cheese, butter, milk, and yogurt. While MCT oil has a high concentration of MCTs, it is a manufactured product achieved by removing and separating MCTs from coconut or palm kernel oil.

One of the biggest reasons MCTs have gained popularity recently is they are claimed to aid in weight loss by reducing calorie intake, increasing the feeling of fullness, less likely to be stored as fat, and increasing the bodies capability to burn fat and calories.  While some claim increasing MCTs aids in weight loss, studies have found the results to be indifferent. One of the main health benefits that has been proven with MCTs is the ability to increase mitochondrial function. Mitochondria are rod-shaped organelles found in every complex organism. They are considered the power generators of cells by converting oxygen and nutrients into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which in return is used as a source of energy. When it comes to mitochondria the preferable source of sustenance is MCTs, not sugars or glucose from carbohydrates. Therefore, most people feel “sluggish” after eating foods high in carbohydrates. MCTs can also aid in lowered cholesterol levels, increased gut health/better digestion, improved mood, and improved immunity.

Overall, MCTs are considered “good fats”. Many people who follow a standard western diet are believed to be deprived of MCTs. One of the main reasons for this is many people simply do not eat fresh, whole foods on a regular basis. Most of us are also led to believe that all forms of saturated fats can be bad for us. While this statement is simply not true, there is a substantial difference between “good fats”, like MCTs, and “bad fats”, like foods high in sugars, and ultimately how your body uses them. MCTs have many possible health benefits and it’s easy to incorporate them into your diet. If you’re not sure where to begin, try adding MCT Oil to your coffee. It’s a fantastic way to boost your energy and increase focus. Substituting coconut oil for other cooking oils is also a great way to add MCTs to your diet. Additionally, whole food sources have several overall benefits that are not found in MCTs.

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What is Sacha Inchi?

Sacha Inchi, a food source for over 3,000 years in the Amazon rainforest, has become a staple ingredient in the nutritional industry and plant-based lifestyle.  With other names like Sacha Peanut, Mountain Peanut, Inca Nut, and Inca Peanut, it’s among one of the best plant sources for protein, Omega-3, Omega-6, and Omega-9 essential fatty acids, alpha tocopherol vitamin E, carotenoids (vitamin A), and fiber.

Sacha Inchi is usually described to have a mild nutty taste with a buttery finish that compliments a wide range of foods. The small star-shaped fruit is usually filled with 4-7 pods. When ripe, the fruit becomes green. More commonly, the fruit is dried, leaving an easier seed extraction process. While you can’t eat the seeds raw, roasting the seeds is an easy way to make a nutritious snack. You can also find Sacha Inchi in oil and powder form. Sacha Inchi has a long list of health benefits. It is widely referred to as the new “superfood” which is described as a nutrient-rich compound that benefits a person’s health and well-being.

So, what exactly are some of the benefits of Sacha Inchi?

  • Controls Cholesterol and Improves Blood Circulation: Sacha Inchi reduces LDL cholesterol levels (bad cholesterol) and raises HDL cholesterol levels (good cholesterol) because of the high levels of potassium. Having high LDL cholesterol levels is associated with coronary heart disease and plaque build-up in the arteries. With lower LDL levels, cardiovascular concerns are reduced, and blood circulation usually improves.
  • Supports Brain Function: As previously stated, Sacha Inchi is abundant in Omega and healthy fats. Inflammation is one of the main causes of cognitive disorders and complications. Sacha Inchi helps the brain to defend inflammation. As a result, this can reduce the risk of headaches, depression, fatigue, memory issues, and neurogenerative diseases.
  • Diabetes Preventer: High levels of Omega-3 have been associated with lowering glucose (sugar) levels in the body which is something a person with diabetes constantly has to monitor. It also is known to lower triglycerides levels. Triglycerides are a chemical compound that provides energy for metabolism. People with diabetes generally have high triglycerides.
  • Stress Reliever: Sacha Inchi is high in tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps the brain to release the hormone called serotonin (aka the “feel good” hormone). With the increase in tryptophan, serotonin is released more quickly, which will ultimately make you feel better. Once again, with such high Omega-3 levels, Sacha Inchi reduces brain inflammation which could result in lower stress-levels, while countering less headaches, mood shifts, and more.
  • Promotes Better Sleep Quality: With the significant levels of tryptophan mentioned above, if you combine this with the magnesium found in the fruit, it can bring on an increased feeling of relaxation. Increasing magnesium has been found to help people struggling with sleep disorders and insomnia.
  • Improves Vision Health: Sacha Inchi is abundant in alpha tocopherol vitamin E and carotenoids vitamin A. Both vitamins help with a person’s overall vision health. Vitamins E and A prevent macular degeneration and slow down the process of cataracts and deterioration that can come along with age.
  • Hair and Skin Care: Having healthy fats in your diet are a necessity when it comes to healthy hair and skin production. Sacha Inchi is high in Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids. For hair this helps stimulate growth and repair, locks in moisture, and eliminates inflammation (which can cause dandruff). For skin, Omega-3 and Omega-6 improves the overall appearance by reducing blemishes, wrinkles, and reducing inflammation (which can cause eczema and psoriasis).
  • Digestive Aid: Sacha Inchi is also claimed to help improve digestion and aid in weight loss due to its high levels of fiber. Dietary fiber is a vital part in the normal digestive process. Fiber can help by satisfying your appetite and prevent overeating due to feeling full.

It’s easy to see why Sacha Inchi has gained such popularity. You can consume this plant protein in  numerous ways: as a roasted nut, in a powder form, or in an oil form. You can add the powder to smoothies, baked goods, oatmeal, etc. With the oil, you can utilize it in everything from your beauty routine to salad dressing. Not only is Sacha Inchi vegan/vegetarian friendly, it’s gluten free, and allergen friendly. With the list of benefits Sacha Inchi has, by adding it to a well-balanced diet it can enhance your overall health and well-being.

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Collagen 101:

You may have noticed recently collagen has been booming in the nutrition industry. With such a wide range of benefits that have been documented numerous times, the supplement is taking off. Usually when people think of collagen they think of it as an additive to lotions and other supplements. While it can be used as an additive, collagen can also be taken by itself resulting in an increase of several benefits. So, what exactly is collagen?

In our bodies collagen is found in our muscles, bones, skin, blood-vessels, the digestive system, and tendons. As we age, our bodies natural collagen production rate begins to slow down. Therefore, we start to get wrinkles, joint pain, and sagging skin. While age is just one of the degenerative processes, other factors like smoking, sun exposure, and certain diets can also reduce the collagen levels in our bodies more rapidly.  As mentioned before, collagen has a wide range of benefits. These include but are not limited to:

  • Reduces joint pain
  • Slows down the degenerative process
  • Improves skin, our largest organ
  • Strengthens hair, nails, and teeth
  • Supports gut health
  • Builds muscle and repairs tissue
  • Increases metabolism, muscle mass, and energy levels
  • Protects cardiovascular health
  • Reduces cellulite and stretch marks

Next, we need to recognize that there are multiple types of collagen with different benefits within each:

  • Type 1: Type 1 collagen is the most abundant in our bodies and helps tendons, ligaments, organs, skin, bones, and can also be found in your gut.
  • Type 2: Type 2 collagen mainly helps build the cartilage in our connective tissue.
  • Type 3: Type 3 collagen is mostly found in reticular connective tissues which can be found in the kidney, the spleen, lymph nodes, bone marrow, blood vessels, and tissue in the heart.
  • Type 4: Type 4 collagen forms basal lamina, which is found in endothelial cells that form tissue surrounding our organs, muscles, and fat. Basal lamina can also be found in our digestive organs, respiratory surfaces, as well as the space between the top layer of skin and tissue, and the deepest layer.
  • Type 5: Type 5 collagen helps build the surface of our cells, hair strands, and tissue found in women’s placentas.
  • Type 10: Type 10 collagen helps form articular cartilage and new bone formation.

There are various sources of collagen: Bovine (beef or cow) collagen, Chicken collagen, Fish (marine) collagen, and Egg shell membrane collagen. Each protein source provides different benefits from their collagens. Bovine collagen is made up of mostly Type 1 and Type 3 collagens. Chicken collagen is typically made up of Type 2 collagen. Fish collagen is normally Type 1 collagen. Lastly, Egg shell membrane collagen is mostly Type 1 collagen, but can also include Type 3, 4, and 10. Depending on your needs, certain collagens may alleviate or help specific symptoms you’re experiencing due to a decrease in collagen. Bovine and Fish collagens both seem to take the lead in the collagen market.

Introducing collagen to your diet is relatively easy. You can simply add it to a soup, coffee, or smoothie. With the numerous benefits it’s easy to see why this supplement has taken off. People are also becoming more aware of their overall health and are on a constant search to simply feel better. When you take into consideration the rapid decline in your body’s collagen production, adding collagen to your diet seems like an easy solution with long-term benefits and hardly any risks.

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