A variety of good nutritious food to keep your everyday training diet from getting boring makes it easier to maintain your motivation to eat healthy. One of the best foods to add to have good nutrition for training is Chia, in both the seed and plant form.
Though you might be remembering Chia as the novelty Chia pets that were so popular years ago, it is one of those foods that packs a lot of nutrition. The ancient Aztecs understood its value in providing energy and called it the “running food”. The plant is part of the Salvia Hispanica herb family and provides quite a number of benefits for your health.
Chia seeds not only provide energy boosts but also have hydrophilic properties that help electrolytes levels balanced. The complex carbohydrates in these seeds break down slowly so energy levels are maintained. This in turn improves your endurance and stamina.
The omega-3 fatty acids contained in the seeds also help give energy a boost. In addition, mood levels are improved. You might ask why mood would be important for fitness nutrition but it does make a difference since mood helps motivation during training. The omega-3s work to keep cholesterol under control so you have increased HDL and decreased LDL, which are the good and bad cholesterols respectively, as well as triglyceride levels low.
For people who want to get fit and diabetics as well, the fatty acids in chia seeds can help with weight loss and maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. The seeds are low on the glycemic index so you won’t experience the usual spike and crash caused by simple carbohydrates. The carbs along with fiber and protein leave you feeling full longer and help curb sugar cravings, which means blood sugar stays level.
Anti-inflammatory properties are another benefit found in chia seeds because of the essential fatty acids they contain. You will have less joint pain and stiffness from arthritis as well as from working out and have a lower risk of heart disease. The benefits discussed are mostly from omega-3 fatty acids and though this vital nutrient is found at higher levels in Chia than in salmon, they are just the tip of the iceberg.
Chia seeds also contain calcium for strong bones, niacin so your body is able to convert food into the energy you need, iron to keep your blood supplied with oxygen and trace amounts of vitamin A, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B-12, folate and thiamine. All of these are essential for good fitness nutrition.
Chia seeds, plants and sprouts can be incorporated into a healthy training diet in a number of ways. They make a tasty addition to soups, breads and can be used in sandwiches and salads just like alfalfa sprouts.