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What are opinions of Salba?

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While no food is "perfect", salba certainly appears to be a very nutritious seed product that can be incorporated with a healthy diet. Assuming that the nutritional claims are correct, salba seems to be a beneficial food to include in one's diet. It's very high in fiber (both soluble and insoluble), omega-3 fats, protein, and a good source of a number of vitamins and minerals.

As a minor hangup, the omega-3s found in grains are not identical to those found in fish. Making the claim that the product contains eight times the omega-3s as salmon is true, but don't take this to mean "8 times better than salmon", as only about 12% of the alpha-linoleic acid found in grains are converted to the fish equivalent omega-3s. Still quite a lot of omega-3s converted to DHA nevertheless.

Still, that being said, salba does seem to be wonderful. I don't think I've seen any product that is so high in fiber, quality protein and omega-3s at once like Salba. I would buy salba's claims that the product reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease because it's a whole grain, high soluble fiber and omega-3s, all factors which have been associated with reduced risk of CVD. Again, remember that there's nothing magical in Salba- the label speaks for itself.




Perhaps a Better Question: WHAT, ACTUALLY, IS SALBA?

Salba is a brand of Salvia hispanica seed - this is a plant in the mint family. But what makes it special is a unique (and tightly guarded) proprietary growing process that yields a significantly more nutritious seed than generic competitors. This process includes the following:
  1. Salba is only grown in carefully selected farmlands in Central and South America with fertile and nutrient-dense soil.
  2. Salba is grown using non-GMO selective breeding to ensure consistency.
  3. Salba is grown using proprietary irrigation techniques.
  4. Salba is harvested after a specific number of days, but that exact number of days is not public information. What is known, however, is that generic competitors often harvest very early because the Salvia hispanica crop is highly susceptible to the poor weather. And if you understand agronomics, an early harvest means less nutrients absorbed from the soil and less seed maturity.




The Salba vs. Chia Debate

Some people think Salba is a "patented" form of a seed called chia (the seed from the infamous "Chia Pet") . This is entirely inaccurate. In fact, the botanical name of the "Chia Pet" seed is actually Salvia columbariae. (Check out the Wikipedia on Salvia columbariae for more info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvia_columbariae)

In recent years, salba has popularized the botanical and conducted a litany of scientific research and clinical studies published in esteemed journals like the American Diabetes Association's official peer-reviewed publication, called Diabetes Care (visit www.salba.com/news to read the study).

In light of this research, other companies have sought to import and distribute the black seeds from the Salvia hispanica variety, but there is a fairly wide nutritional gap between the "chia" seeds and "salba" seeds. More on this below...




A Close Look at the USDA Facts:

Generally speaking, if you are buying salba, you are buying it for the Omega-3 benefits. According to the USDA website, chia has 2,106mg of Omega-3 in a 12-gram serving. An equivalent 12-gram serving of Salba contains 2,882mg of Omega-3 - that's about 37% more Omega-3s.

Some other nutritional highlights about salba:
  1. Salba is the Richest Source of Omega-3s in Nature: 3,603mg in a 15g serving
  2. Salba has 25% More Fiber and 18% More Omega-3s (ALA) than Flaxseed
  3. Salba is 100% Bio-available in its raw form, unlike Flaxseed
  4. Salba has 30% more Antioxidant capacity than Blueberries (1607 umol in a 15g serving)
  5. Salba has twice the Potassium of a Banana
  6. Salba has 15 Times More Magnesium than Broccoli
  7. Salba has 6 Times More Calcium than Milk
  8. Salba has 5 Times More Folate than Spinach
  9. Salba has 6 Times More Iron than Kidney Beans
  10. Salba has More Protein than Soy - without the hormone balancing concerns and with an ideal amino acid profile, high in Lysine




The researcher who has spent the most time exploring Salba is named Vladimir Vuksan, PhD. He is one of the founders of the Glycemic Index, which is the standard scale of measurement of blood glucose. He is well-respected, and is among a handful of the world's leading diabetes researchers.
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