The Small Seed with A Mighty Punch
Talk about a small seed packing a big punch! Chia seeds have been making headlines again recently as more and more people realise the many health benefits to be gained by adding this superfood to your diet.
It seems Chia seeds are playing a key role in helping marathon runners and triathletes achieve their goals. Combined with improved hydration, Chia seeds are the answer to improving stamina and endurance in these big races.
Of course, whilst this may be news to some, these precious little seeds have been around for a very long time. The Aztecs were happily munching on them back in 3500 BC, and the word ‘chia’ actually means ‘strength’ in Mayan. Believe it or not, Chia seeds were prized above gold.
Rich in Omega-3
Chia seeds were recognised as a superfood for athletes in 2009, when US author and journalist Christopher McDougall wrote about a reclusive Indian tribe in his bestseller, Born to Run. Before running, the Tarahumara tribe would drink a concoction of Chia seeds, water and lemon to sustain them.
But the little seed doesn’t just help athletes with stamina; being rich in omega-3 fatty acids, it is very beneficial for inflammation and joint pain. As a good source of protein, containing all nine essential amino acids, it also speeds up recovery time after exercise.
Other recent headlines about Chia seeds also tell us they can help with weight loss. Now, as with any so-called miracle diet, you wouldn’t take this at face value. Let’s face it, there’s no miracle cure. However, having said that, Chia seeds can help you manage your appetite.
Feel Fuller for Longer
Being rich in fibre, alpha-linolenic acid and those fatty acids, eating Chia seeds can make you feel fuller for longer. The secret is to soak them in water and then chew a mouthful before your main meals. You can also add them to smoothies, salads and healthy desserts.
Amazingly, just one tablespoon of Chia seeds contains 47 milligrams of magnesium and 122 milligrams of phosphorus, so they are extremely good for healthy bones. That, combined with their high protein levels, makes them a great choice for vegetarians and vegans.
In truth, Chia seeds are great for most people, as they also reduce blood pressure, help repair the skin, strengthen teeth and gums, improve digestion and more. They could even limit the growth of cancer cells.
No-Cook Chia Seed Bars
Here’s a delicious recipe to get you started. These vegan no-cook Chia Seed Bars are great for post-exercise snacks, kids’ lunchboxes or work treats.
1.5 cups oats
¼ cup Chia seeds
¼ cup raw cacao
¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
½ teaspoon Himalayan salt
¼ cup peanut butter (preferably natural and unsweetened)
¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup pure maple syrup
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
Mix together the coconut oil, peanut butter and maple syrup in a small bowl and melt in the microwave.
Add the melted ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper, spoon in the mixture and press down evenly. Pop the tray in the freezer for 30 minutes and then cut the mixture into 10 bars.