Albeit small, these gluten-free chia seeds are packed with essential vitamins and minerals our body needs, making them the all year round ‘it food’. Chia, meaning strength, is the ideal superfood that all athletes should be consuming to boost their energy levels along with other health benefits.
Chia seeds' have a high content of alpha-linolenic (ALA) fatty acids. 60% of the oil in chia seeds is from the omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish oil which protects the cells around your muscle fibers and act as an anti-inflammatory agent. Taking in Omega 3 can benefit your muscle function and performance as a runner.
Named as the ‘running food’, the Aztec warriors would consume a tablespoon of chia seeds per day. Followed by the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico, who too were sustained by chia seeds, were renowned for their long distance running abilities whilst running barefoot! The complex carbohydrates once broken down can help slowly maintain energy levels, improving endurance and stamina.
For any athlete we demand a lot from our bones, applying continuous pressure can cause stress so it is very important to ensure that we take enough calcium to help maintain strong bones. Chia seeds have a higher calcium content than most dairy products. One tablespoon contains 8% of your recommended daily allowance of calcium in just one gram.
Having good lean muscle mass helps protect against bones becoming weaker. To help build lean muscle you need protein and since chia seeds are packed with 20% protein, they do just the trick!
The harder and longer your muscles are working, the more carbohydrates you will need in order to maintain your blood sugar level. Whilst taking carbohydrates is important, they can cause blood sugars to spike and crash, which does not help us ultra runners out there. Chia seeds contain a low glycemic index which means blood sugar levels remain at a more constant level, ensuring adequate glycogen stores and an improvement in performance.
These tiny black seeds which come from the chia plant, salvia hispanica, are packed full of nutritional value. Just one ounce (28g) of chia seeds contains 11g of fibre, 4g of protein and 5g Omega-3 fat. As well as containing zinc and vitamin B1, B2 and B3, making chia seeds one of the most nutritional foods in the world.
Protein iѕ responsible fоr tissue repair, allowing thе bоdу tо heal аѕ wеll аѕ grow, this nutrient helps еvеrуthing frоm bone, tendon, skin, and mаnу good reasons tо uр уоur intake оf thiѕ essential macronutrient, frоm feeling mоrе satiated аftеr meals, tо reaping cosmetic benefits likе healthier hair аnd stronger nails.