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January 2012

Nopal, Chia, Soy and Oats for Metabolic Syndrome

A new study suggests that a diet containing chia seeds, soy protein, nopal and oats may be beneficial for patients with metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions, including high blood pressure, high insulin levels, excess fat around the waist and high cholesterol.

Chia is promoted for its high omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 content. Animal studies suggest that chia may lower blood cholesterol, LDL (low density lipoproteins or "bad" cholesterol), and triglycerides while increasing HDL (high density lipoproteins or "good" cholesterol). Preliminary studies suggest nopal may offer benefits to individuals with diabetes or hyperlipidemia, and numerous human studies report that adding soy protein to the diet may moderately decrease blood levels of total cholesterol and LDL.

In a new study, researchers randomly assigned 67 patients to a reduced-calorie diet and a beverage containing chia seed, soy protein, nopal and oats, or a reduced-calorie diet and placebo, for two months. Before treatment, all participants reduced their regular diet by 500 calories.

The researchers found that all participants had decreased body weight, body mass index and waste circumference after two months. However, the authors noted that only the participants in the beverage group had decreases in triglycerides and blood sugar.

Although promising, additional research is necessary to further understand these findings.

For more information about chia, soy, nopal or oats, please visit Natural Standard's Foods, Herbs & Supplements Database.

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  1. Guevara-Cruz M, Tovar AR, Aguilar-Salinas CA, et al. A dietary pattern including nopal, chia seed, soy protein, and oat reduces serum triglycerides and glucose intolerance in patients with metabolic syndrome. J Nutr. 2012 Jan;142(1):64-9. View Abstract
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine.
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