5 Benefits of Chia Seeds for Runners


Chia seeds are an effective source of energy for runners. They are light, easy to digest, and packed with nutrition that your body needs during a run.

The nutrients found in chia seeds help runners improve performance, recover from running injuries and reduce inflammation throughout the body.

Athletes have reported significant performance gains from consuming chia seeds compared to athletes who do not consume chia seeds or other sports supplements. This may be attributed to the components of chia seeds, which help athletes perform better.

Chia seeds are loaded with fiber, carbohydrates, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which are essential for fueling any runner. They are also a great source of antioxidants that protect the body from free radical damage during exercise.

Benefits of Chia Seeds for Runners

These small black seeds are nutritionally dense with protein (5 grams per ounce), unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, dietary fiber (11 grams per ounce), calcium carbonate (more than milk by weight), iron, B vitamins, magnesium and zinc.

As if all these benefits are not enough reason for us runners to incorporate them into our diets on a regular basis – there's more.

What happens when we exercise?

To summarize it in one word: inflammation! Inflammation occurs naturally and is your body's protective response to injuries, infections and irritants. This inflammation causes soreness and pain after a tough training session or race.

Now imagine if you could reduce this natural process with something as simple as eating chia seeds before or during a run.

That would be amazing, right?

Well help is here! Here are five ways chia seeds can benefit runners:

1. Fuel for Performance

The carbohydrates found in chia seeds give the body long-lasting energy that helps improve endurance during a workout or race. These carbs also provide fuel for the brain to help improve mental during a run. 

2. Reduce Inflammation 

Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation following a workout. This is very important for those with injuries and provides relief from post-workout soreness and pain.

3. Nutrient Rich

Chia seeds contain more calcium than milk by weight, more antioxidants than blueberries and as much potassium as three bananas.

4. Energy Renewal

They provide carbohydrates which make you feel rejuvenated after workouts or races. These carbs also work to fuel your immune system; something that slows down when you exercise intensely..

5. Blood Sugar Control 

The fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels which can be helpful if you're diabetic or pre-diabetic like I am (and most marathon runners are!). Consuming chia seeds just before a run can help control blood glucose levels and get you through tough runs.

For athletes who burn a lot of calories such as marathon runners, chia seeds provide the perfect complement to the body's increased nutritional requirements.

It's easy to incorporate chia seeds into your diet by adding them to smoothies or juice, or sprinkling them on salads and yogurt or oatmeal.

You should buy dried (white) chia seeds because they don't have an overpowering flavor like black chia seeds do; use about one tablespoon for every six ounces of liquid. Chia pudding is also popular among many athletes including myself!

I add two tablespoons of white chia seeds 16-20 ounces of juice and drink it before and after runs.

The best part: Chia seeds stay in your stomach for a long time, and as they swell and absorb liquid, provide a great feeling of fullness (I'm not kidding!). This prevents you from taking in extra calories that can be stored as fat. **BONUS** If you're on the run, just place them in water or juice to reap their health benefits.

Do chia seeds help with endurance?

I did not experience any extra energy during my long runs, but I definitely experienced less muscle fatigue and pain.

If you're looking for an edge over the competition, try incorporating black chia seeds into your diet before or during races. Chia seeds are readily available at most health food stores or on Amazon.

Do chia seeds have electrolytes?

The claims that chia seeds have more electrolytes than a banana are false. Even though bananas do not have as much calcium or potassium as chia seeds, they contain natural sugars and starches that provide quick energy to muscles whereas chia seeds lack this starch content. Also, since most athletes already take in their electrolytes during a run with sports drinks, which is why I recommend adding chia seeds to smoothies or oatmeal instead of juices or water.

When Should Runners Consume Chia Seeds?

I personally like to consume chia seeds right before a run. I find this provides me with the energy that lasts during my entire run.

For some, consuming chia seeds about 20-30 minutes before exercise helps them feel more energized throughout their workout. It's best to experiment with different times of day to see what works for you.

Do Chia Seeds Help With Weight Loss?

Many runners are looking to lose weight while building their endurance, which is why chia seeds are the perfect addition to your diet. They are easy to carry around with you and can be easily added to smoothies, oatmeal or juices.

My biggest advice: If you're trying to lose weight don't overdo it on chia seeds - they still contain calories that provide energy for workouts and races.

Do chia seeds make you run faster?

Do not expect any extra energy or speeding of races after adding chia seeds to your diet. Chia seeds help you train longer, recover faster and lose weight because they are full of fiber and nutrients that are easy for your body to digest.

I've been experimenting with adding chia seeds into my daily intense running/training sessions (lasting 2-3 hours long). So far I'm loving them!

The way I like to add chia seeds into my regiment is by mixing it in a smoothie right before a run. I find this provides me with the extra oomph needed during the workout. They also make you feel less hungry throughout the day since they fill you up easily The best part: You can eat chia seeds when they are dry or wet. You don't need to soak them in order to reap the benefits! 

Do Chia Seeds Taste Good?

I find that black chia seeds have less of a nutty taste than white chia seeds do - so I prefer to add them to my smoothies or oatmeal. If you're not looking for an added flavor, just add some water instead of juice to reap the health benefits! They can also be added into salads or eaten by themselves.

Do chia seeds make you poop more?

Chia seeds are high in fiber; therefore, if you add too many to your diet (3 tablespoons or more), this could cause some diarrhea. For the best digestion, it's important to add chia seeds slowly into your diet and drink lots of water.

What Are Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds are tiny black speckled seeds derived from the Salvia hispanica plant, which is related to the mint family. Chia means strength in Mayan culture, and these tiny "strength" seeds provide more calcium than milk, more omega-3s than salmon, and more antioxidants than blueberries.

They also have twice the antioxidant content of acai berries and four times that of pomegranates!

The potential health benefits of chia include aiding weight loss , stabilizing blood sugar levels , improving digestion , lowering cholesterol levels , boosting mental focus , hydration , and overall healthy skin, hair and nails.

Chia seeds are available in the United States at most grocery stores. Costco also sells large bags of chia seeds for a great price! The best part is they are readily available on Amazon as well .

Conclusion: 5 Benefits of Chia Seeds for Runners

Chia seeds are great for runners because they provide lots of energy with little calories, are full of fiber and nutrients, easy to digest, hydrate you well, contain omega-3s and antioxidants, help shed water weight and make you eat less.

Do not expect any extra speed or energy after adding chia seeds into your diet - they lose their "running" benefits once they hit your stomach and turn into a gel. This can cause some bloating and discomfort if your body is sensitive to fiber. I would recommend starting off slow with one teaspoon before working up to 2 tablespoons so your body has time to adjust .

When it comes down to it: try chia seeds out in oatmeal or add them into a smoothie before your run to see if they benefit you. Chia seeds are a great addition to anyone's diet - not just for runners! Experiment and find out what works best for you. 

Hi, Jeremy Here, 

I am the the guy behind Train for a 5K. On this site, I share everything that learned along my running journey. The content I create is the running training I wish I had before we started this journeyAbout Jeremy. 

I have run over 250 races including the California International Marathon, Clarksburg Country Run, and various other 5K & 10K races throughout the United States. I am a former Athletics department employee at University of the Pacific and Shoe Consultant with Dicks Sporting Goods