9 Reasons Why Chia Seeds Are An Ideal Performance Food
Chia seeds are my latest discovery during my mission to find the foods that benefit me in my running training and during ultra races. I have thoroughly tried and tested chia in the last three months and have seen noticeable positive effects on my performance.
The wheel can only be re-invented so many times and at the end of the day, it's all about balance. Rightly so, but there are a good handful of superfoods out there that truly help to improve performance.
And how can you become a better achiever? Do you have a specific question or tip on the use of other superfoods?
By consuming foods that contain nutrients which provide long-lasting energy. And it's not even complicated and scientific.
Bio Chia Samen, Bio Chia Seeds, 500g, Bio-zertifiziert are typically known as the running food. Chia was first cultivated by the ancient Aztecs who'd go on forced marches for days surviving only on chia , yet being able to sustain high energy levels. These days, chia is grown commercially in Southern America and Australia is the world's largest producer.
So what defines chia seeds?
- They contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids; in fact higher levels than flax seeds provide
- The seeds ontain 20% protein, 34% oil, 25% dietary fibre and significant levels of antioxidants
- The oil from the seeds contains approximately 64% of omega-3 fatty acid
- 2 tablespoons (25g) provide 7g of dietary fibre including calcium, magnesium, zinc and copper
- Chia is gluten-free, do not contain sodium and have a nutty flavor; use in baking goods or sprinkle over mueslis, yogurts and salads
- The seeds are very durable as they don't get rancid; simply store in a cupboard or refrigerator for months
How do I use chia in my training?
In case you are running early in the morning before breakfast, just eat 1-2 tablespoons of chia gel and a banana or two medjool dates before your workout. This snack provides you with enough energy for up to about 75-90 minutes. You will feel an instant energy boost, feeling light in your stomach because the gel is easily and quickly absorbed by the body.
On your next long run, you might want to check out this special energy gel recipe?
And why is it best to consume soaked chia?
Explore three more reasons now why chia is such an amazing food:
- Mix 1/3 cup of seeds with 2 cups of water, stir and repeat after 15 minutes. The gel-forming reaction happens due to the soluble fiber
The same gel-forming phenomenon takes place in the stomach every time foods ar eaten that contain these gummy fibres. The gel that is then formed in the stomach creates a physical barrier between carbohydrates and the digestive enzymes that break them down. As a consequence, this process slows the conversion of carbs into sugar.
That's the reason why ultra athletes that regularly consume chia state that they don't suffer from sugar crashes resulting in dizziness and decreasing performance. The slowing conversion creates endurance. Prolonging this conversion once again stabilises metabolic changes and creates a longer duration in the fueling effects of carbohydrates.
- Chia also has hydrophilic properties meaning that they have the ability to absorb more than 12x their weight in water; by holding on to water the ability to prolong hydration is guaranteed
- The seeds help to retain moisture and regulate the body's absorption of nutrients while maintaining the electrolyte balance which is an important issue in ultramarathon races
About six weeks before the Swiss Jura Marathon I started to ingest 2-3 tablespoons of silicic acid gel. It has similar hydrophilic properties to those of chia with the only difference being that chia, in comparison, offers a complete nutritional profile that covers all your needs during running.
In addition to some of the other performance foods I've tried and tested for longer periods of time such as goji berries, maca, pea protein, amaranth and barley grass I have come to the conclusion that chia seeds have the most noticebale beneficial effects on my endurance.
Keep in mind that the consumption of chia will aid your endurance while other important factors that add to high-level performances include consistent running training and mental conditioning.
What Nutrition Lets You Thrive?
Have you already tried many different diets in order to help you improve your ultrarunning performance and found foods that you can't live without?
Which foods are a staple in your daily nutrition that you feel make a difference to your well-being, performance in training and racing as well as helping you recover faster?
Share your story here!
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