Athletes in general are required to keep a strict balanced diet. Ensuring that their bodies get the right amount of all manner of nutrients so that they can function at their maximum capabilities. Good meal supplements help to give the daily diet that extra kick that it requires to get you there. Below is an in-depth look at the benefits of Chia seeds for runners.
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What Are Chia Seeds?
Before we go into the details about the benefits of this food, let us take a moment to consider exactly what they are.
These are the seeds of the Salvia hispanica that has had an input in the diets of several tribes native to the areas of Mexico and Central America for quite a number of millennia. Historians go as far as suggesting that a concoction of these seeds and water was taken by tribesmen during their times of war and conquest so that they could bolster their energy levels and keep their hydration levels optimum.
Fast forward to the society today, Chia seeds are fast gaining popularity in the athletics industry for all the right reasons. It is not surprising that they are slowly being incorporated into all sorts of foods ranging from crackers to energy bars to beverages and even more recently soups. This has also become the president for most nutrition companies that major on endurance products. The inclusion of Chia seeds has trickled down all the way to the simpletons who only run for the sake of fitness.
This is what is attributed to all the publicity surrounding the seeds of late. With most users claiming that the consumption of Chia seeds proved quite beneficial. This is thus something that needs to make it into your daily diet so that it can benefit your running routine and enable you to achieve those times that once seemed impossible.
what are the health benefits Chia Seeds for runners?
Chia seeds first made headlines when they featured in the best seller Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall. In his accounts of being given a Chia seed cocktail, which he first despises, he takes the time to do some research and come up with quite the number of benefits.
Long workouts are usually accompanied by the aspect of dehydrated, requiring the regular intake of fluids and electrolytes from time to time. According to Fleet Feet St. Louis, Chia seeds on the other hand, are quite absorbent. They are estimated to absorb about thirty times their own weight in water. This helps them to perfectly regulate the body fluids and prevent undue hydration during running.
The fiber content in chia seeds is generally high. This, coupled with the fact that they have a high nutritional density, help you to fill your stomach faster an achieve the feeling of satisfaction. According to LiveStrong, they also help the body to absorb and break down the fats within preventing from being stored and leading to weight gain. Regular consumption has also been linked to reduction in cholesterol levels.
Provision of Energy
The absorbent nature also comes into effect here. The seeds, when soaked in fluids, absorb them and expand in size. This forms a gelatinous solution. It is this nature that helps them to slow down the breakdown of carbohydrates. This means that your normal intake of carbohydrates will last you longer during the workout and running. This also serves the additional benefit of keeping the blood sugar levels at a stable average.
Reduction of Inflammation
According to Natural Health 365, Chia seeds help to reduce the general inflammation and joint pain that accompanies most vigorous running routines. The fatty acids within the seeds are known to deter inflammation and relive some of the knee pain. Adding it to your post workout meal plan should help you realize these benefits.
A post run recovery is one of the major challenges that runners face. The free radicals that build up tend to slow this down. The perfect remedy for this is chia seeds, which offer a rich source of both antioxidants and amino acids. This makes the recovery less tasking on the body
All these benefits are supported by a number of research material. A study published in the International Journal of Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism in 2010, the seeds have a considerable implication when it comes to the enhancement of athletic performance. The subjects portrayed and increase in their endurance capacities.
This was later backed up by a study conducted in 2011 and published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. The study findings stated that a mixture of half the calories in chia seeds and those in Gatorade provided all the performance benefits of pure Gatorade. The mix was also better because of its lower sugar composition and a good amount of fiber. The consumption of chia seeds has a positive bearing when it comes to the field of performance enhancement.
what are the METHODS OF CONSUMING Chia Seeds?
There is no set way in which you can consume these seeds. They are generally devoid of any flavor meaning that they can be easily included in any meal without altering the taste, but increasing its nutritional value. You can opt to consume them out of the bag, add them to your breakfast cereal, yogurt, water, smoothie or even your salad. This is where your imagination dictates your actions.
Some Other Fine Points
It is no question that the benefits of chia seeds for runners are immense. This is however not some miracle superfood that should be left to dominate your entire diet on its own. The seeds, contain close to zero sugar or carbohydrates making them a poor choice for a standalone training regimen. You should stick to your assigned diet, the one that is recommended by either a nutritionist or trainer. The seeds are only to be incorporated into this diet, not to act as substitute.
It is also good to know that the consumption of the seeds themselves do not necessarily make you a fast runner, they only boost aspects of your running in general. This means that you are still expected to put in all the hours of vigorous training in order to better yourself in terms of speed. If you require some energy before the workout, leave the chia seeds be and go for some foods with simple sugars like honey, raisins or a healthy energy bar.