Chia seeds, not Chia pets, are playing an increasingly bigger role in supplementing the nutritional needs of endurance athletes and I would assume some of our THPL community members. What is old is new – interestingly chia seeds are in fact one of the oldest sources of nutrition. They are derived from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, and were eaten by the Aztecs as early as 3500 B.C. With a Mayan name that translates to “strength,” chia seeds were prized more highly than gold. And so now as we start to push ourselves more and more and we look for every advantage (legally) that we can get it is fun to see that a foodstuff from thousands of years ago could well be better at improving performance than any of the gels, bars, or energy drinks the “food companies” have created. Here’s a quick primer on this superfood.
Chia seeds are extremely absorbent, swelling up to more than ten times their original size when soaked in water and forming a gel-like substance. Because of this, chia slows the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar, meaning your body will be fueled for longer periods of time—endurance athletes take note! This slow carbohydrate conversion also stabilizes blood sugars, meaning you can kiss bonking goodbye.
Increased hydration is a result of the high level of absorption of a chia seed. This helps the body better regulate fluid levels and electrolyte retention—perfect for any activity but especially when out in the heat like we get at this time of year (eg. 110 degrees…)
Chia is packed with antioxidants and is a complete source of protein, containing all eight essential amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of our body. The complete protein in chia helps with cell and tissue regeneration, and the high levels of antioxidants fight free radicals that attack and weaken our immune system.
Seems like a “trifecta” for nutrition and a great enabler of our THPL pursuit of higher and better performance. Might indeed be worth a try. Let me know what you think when you do try Chia seeds
Loving life, and trying new (old) things