Two common complaints among runners are exhaustion and aching joints. The rigors of running require your feet to endure massive amounts of impact, which could cause serious damage to your calves, hips, and knees. If proper precautions aren’t taken the repeated damage could lead to osteoarthritis. To make matters worse, running easily induces cramps so that you can’t so much as drink, let alone satisfy your appetite, during a run. Natural health specialists, like Dr. Andrew Weil, recommend an increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Not only do chia seeds contain these vital oils, but they also can squash hunger.
Who would have thought that one food could help both of these issues? You may be familiar with chia seeds from seeing their sprouts during the Chia Pet craze of the ‘90s. But these nutrient-dense seeds can do a lot more than give a clay sheep funky fur. Like maca, chia is a South American staple food. Joseph P. Cahill, a researcher from the University of California, believes that chia was as important as a food as maize to pre-columbian Aztecs. Chia is actually one of the most common plant-based sources of omega-3 oils which are essential to maintain normal metabolic function. But why do we add it to our bars? Nutritionally, chia is a powerhouse for the active body. It contains an omega-3 essential fatty acid: alpha-Linolenic acid. Research has found that this plant fat can prevent coronary heart disease. Even better, ALA can regulate inflammation in your body reducing the pain from exercise. The “Pain” journal reported on patients who have decreased their use of painkillers just by supplementing with these omega-3 oils.
When chia is placed in water — or in your stomach — it swells up and releases a gel filled with its nutrients. This gel is used in vegan cuisine as a thickener, but also helps you stay full. Couple this with chia consisting of 35% fiber by weight, and it is a great aid to stave off hunger. The “good” fats — monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids — within the seed can also help your body feel satisfied.
Chia also has a host of ancillary benefits. One ounce contains 5 grams of protein, 20% of the RDA for calcium, and important minerals like iron and magnesium. Some argue that chia is one of the best forms of calcium as the magnesium and boron in it help your body utilize every milligram of it. It’s not wonder chia has remained a fundamental part of the diet of several South American cultures.
Next time you see chia, forget garden gnomes and presidential busts, and remember the health benefits. Be it biking, swimming, or running, chia can help you perform at your maximum level. Add chia to your shakes, salad dressings, and yogurt, or even add it to your baked goods. Your body will thank you.
Amrita Bars contain 1000mg of chia in every bar.