Sometimes I feel I over-promote them… Or maybe like everyone must be sick of hearing about them by now… At the very least, I’m sure you’ve all got a bag of them in your fridge or cupboard… Right?
A bag of what you say…??
I’m talking about chia seeds!
If you’re a runner, you need to be eating your chia seeds.
Okay well, if I closed it there, it’d be my shortest post to date. And while I’m working on making them shorter (and adding video), 55 words just won’t cut it. Neither would you be overly convinced. So here it is – my case for chia seeds (little loves of my running life).
1. Great Source of the Essential Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Chia seeds are by far one of the best sources of plant based omega-3 fatty acid. In fact they contain 4915 milligrams per ounce (which is about 3 tablespoons). Comparatively speaking, flaxseeds are the only guys that even come close – with 6388mg/oz. Okay, yes, looks like they actually take the lead on this one, ah well, can’t win ’em all. Great runners-up include walnuts (2542mg/oz) and hemp hearts (~2500/oz).
Why do we runners require adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids? After every tough run, we experience inflammation (our muscles working to heal from the workout in order to be stronger for our next run). Omega-3’s are known to strongly help to manage the inflammation process and help us to recover more quickly! By the way, there is no recommended daily intake established for omega-3 fatty acids (yet!).
2. Fibre Galore!
It’s been drilled into our psyche – dietary fibre is essential for good health. So it is true. But no, not through processed packaged cereals! And please, no, NOT through any supplements. Get your fibre here, right here, in the lowly chia seed.
Chia seeds contain 10.6 grams of fibre per 1 ounce serving. About 25% of that fibre is soluble fibre, which helps to lower our blood cholesterol and glucose levels. The rest is insoluble fibre – yes, this is the stuff that promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk. Men are supposed to eat 38 grams of fibre each day and women 25 grams. As you can see, one serving of chia seeds gets you well on your way (almost half your daily intake if you’re female), yippee!
For the record, flaxseeds contain only 7.6 grams of fibre per ounce. Ah ha, chia seeds tie the score.
3. Complete Protein
Yep, chia seeds contains all nine essential amino acids. There are not many plant sources of complete protein but chia seeds rock it for this reason alone. They contain 4 grams of protein per ounce. No, that’s not a ton… but it is complete. In fact, they score 115 on the Protein Quality chart (an amino acid score of 100 or higher indicates a complete or high-quality protein).
For the sake of comparison, egg whites, which are obviously a complete protein, score 125. For the sake of further comparison, flaxseeds score 92. Booyah! And chia takes the lead!
Milk schmilk. Just eat your chia seeds. Oh, and your almonds, sesame seeds and deep green leafy veggies! Chia seeds contain 177mg of calcium per ounce – that equals 18% of the recommended daily intake.
Not that you were wondering, but flaxseeds contain only 77mg per ounce. Chia wins!! *happy dance* (Not that it was ever a competition.)
Oh, and merely for the sake of comparison, one cup of milk contains 276mg (28% of RDI)… But I just can’t go into my argument here and now on why I strongly believe we shouldn’t be drinking milk (really trying to keep it under 1000 words today).
5. Been Doing it for Years
I mentioned this in my last post… It appears that we’ve been eating chia seeds for a little while now. Well, the Aztecs and Mayans specifically have been chowing down on these awesome little seeds for about 3500 years now. Because they experienced increased endurance and vitality from consuming them, chia seeds were named after the Mayan word for strength.
Chia seeds are clearly a winner… Eat them for strength and endurance… For calcium, protein, fibre and omega-3’s. They’re all good reasons! Throw them on your cereal, add them to your recovery shakes, mix them into your salads, blend them into your baking. And definitely roll your chocolate energy balls in them (recipe below)!!
Happy running 🙂
Sarah J Cuff, RNH, PTS
RECIPES with Chia Seeds