Going back to Chia’s origins, Chia was first used by the Mayans and Aztecs, to enable them to complete extreme activities. It is said that Aztec athletes could survive days of grueling, intensely physical activities by consuming nothing more than a tablespoon of Chia every few hours.
The ability to accomplish such levels of activity is enabled through the nutritional content of Chia. Its high levels of omega-3 oils, its complete protein and almost complete profile of amino acids, provides a pure form of energy most have not experienced before.
Antioxidants in Chia seeds
Chia seeds are full of antioxidants which form a front line defense against cell damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals increase during exercise which can lead to muscle, joint and tendon damage and inflammation, degenerative arthritis and even the ageing process. Adding Chia seeds to your diet and especially your post exercise meal can improve recovery by suppressing the free radical damage built up during exercise.
Amino Acids in Chia seeds
As Chia seeds contain all 9 essential amino acids they have the ability to decrease exercise-induced muscle damage and promote muscle-protein synthesis. After exercise, muscle damage may develop this is called DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) this usually occurs 24-48 hours after intensive physical activity and can inhibit athletic performance. By mixing Chia seeds into your post exercise meal you can significantly reduce the DOMS that may occur.
Omega-3 in Chia seeds
Omega-3 offers a range of potential benefits to anyone taking part in exercise. There have been many studies that have shown the role Omega-3 plays in the prevention and recovery from muscle damage and for the improvement and reduction in mental fatigue. Evidence suggests that consuming Omega-3 can improve exercise performance as it:
– Improves the transportation of red blood cells to the working muscles
– There is reduced soreness after exercise allowing for quicker recovery between sessions.
– Improved protein synthesis for greater muscle growth and strength
Chia is Hydrophilic
When a liquid is added to Chia, such as water or a drink, the seeds absorb up to 12 times their size in liquid causing the fibre in the seed to form a gel like substance. When this attribute is applied to activities, hydration levels can be managed much more easily. Instead of drinking and passing water almost straight away, the liquid packed seeds remain in the stomach, releasing the fluid at a slower and more consistent rate.
Fibre in Chia Seeds
Chia is rich in soluble fibre which has been proven to slow down the absorption of carbohydrates into our blood. This helps stabilize blood sugar levels giving a you a sustained level of energy, essential for any type of sport or exercise.
Following the rediscovery of Chia, the seed was initially used by ultra-distance runners, who think nothing of running ultra-marathons and massive 100 mile runs. These athletes would always comment on gaining more energy in the latter stages of their runs, as well as an overall increase in energy, especially later in the day. A time when people usually grow fatigued and sluggish, relying on caffeine or sugar for a quick, but unhealthy pick-me-up.
The fact that Chia is packed with so much energy, that it increases stamina and endurance, and it has a natural ability to reduce fat, means the Chia sports applications are almost endless.“Chia seed will enhance your performance in any activity or sport.”
In 1997, a 52 year old Tarahumara Indian, Cirildo Chacarito, won the Nike-sponsored 100-mile run in California. Chacarito completed this astonishing feat in a time of 19 hours, 37 minutes and three seconds. He beat a field of hundreds of competitors with more than a half-hour lead; wearing only his home-made, tyre tread shoes and using Chia throughout the run to sustain energy and hydration levels.Return to top of page