Contributors

7 Reasons to Try Chia Seeds

Now that you have decided to add chia seeds to your diet, you have to consider how you want to eat them. When Chia Seeds first re-emerged as the latest and greatest superfood, there were many comparisons to Chia and the rest of the superfoods on the market like Acai or flax. However, one of the many reasons that Chia leaves these other superfoods in the dust, is the versatile nature of how they can be consumed, and what happens after they are consumed.

They can be eaten raw, added into your baked goods or stirred into smoothies. You can even grind them up and add them straight to your water or milk. In addition, there are many great chia based bars and gels available to purchase at your local market.

Strawberry-Pineapple-Chia-smoothie

One neat aspect of chia seeds is that they have a very limited flavor. In fact, they help enhance the flavor of whatever food you add it to. This makes them a better choice than flax seeds, as many people do not like the aftertaste of flax. Chia seeds actually swell up, or gel, when liquid is added to them, which helps you feel fuller longer.

Here are 7 reasons you might want to consider adding chia seeds to your diet:

1. More Energy

Chia seeds are a complete protein, meaning you don’t have to add other foods to them to enjoy the full benefits of their protein content. Protein is essential for energy. A diet high in protein will ensure you have a steady supply of energy all day long, instead of the highs and lows associated with sugar and caffeine. As these little seeds swell, consuming up to ten times their weight in surrounding liquid, they create a time release capsule of sorts in system, slowing and methodically delivery a powerhouse of vitamins, protein and omega fatty acids throughout the day.

2. Regulate blood sugar

Mid day slumps are often the cause of dropping blood sugar. When you eat foods with sugar or any type of simple carbohydrates, you may feel a temporary surge in energy. However, this surge will then crash, leaving you tired and drained. Chia seeds contain both soluble and insoluble fiber that helps turn your food into a consistent energy source instead of giving you a temporary spike.

3. Regulate your digestive system

You need fiber in your diet to keep everything in your digestive system working smoothly. With the overabundance of highly processed flours on the market today, more people than ever are experiencing gastrointestinal problems of some sort. Soluble fiber keeps your colon hydrated, which helps keep your stool moving through without difficulty. Insoluble fiber cannot be digested, which helps push food through your colon. Since chia seeds contain both kinds, they are a great option for anyone needing gastrointestinal help.

4. Lose weight

The gelling action of chia seeds helps to keep you full between meals. Most diets are not sustainable because people get hungry and eventually have to eat something that is not on their list of approved foods. By simply sprinkling chia seeds on or in your food, you can stay fuller longer.

5.  Boost your brain power

Chia seeds are chock full of omega­-3s, a healthy fatty acid that has been linked to improved cognitive function. If your brain has been feeling sluggish or you simply wish to prevent Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, add omega-3s to your diet.

6. Look and feel younger

The power of antioxidants has been thoroughly researched and confirmed. In every grocery store, you will find products that have antioxidants added. Chia seeds are naturally high in antioxidants and are a great way to get more in your diet.

7. Reduce food cravings

Your body will often signal to you that you need more of a certain nutrient by making you crave it. If you find you are craving chocolate, for instance, your body may need more unsaturated fats or antioxidants. Instead of gobbling up a king sized candy bar, however, eat some chia seeds. The high content of vitamins and minerals in these seeds will help your body fight cravings by giving it what it needs without the extra calories.

 

The Superfood You Need to Try: Chia Seeds

You have likely been hearing about the fantastic powers of the tiny chia seed lately. Dr. Oz told the world on Oprah that these amazing little seeds should be included in everyone’s diet. The amazing nutritional properties of chia seeds were chronicled in the New York Times Best Seller “Born to Run” about the Tarahumara tribe in Mexico by Christopher McDougall. But what are these little seeds all about? Can they really help you achieve weight loss and better health? Here we have taken a closer look at chia seeds to determine if, and how, they can help you.


Chia seeds are part of the mint family from the plant salvia hispanica. They were first seen in Central America around 3500 BC. The chia seed was staple of the Aztec and Mayan diet and was so prized for its nutritional benefits that it was used a currency. After the Spanish invasion in 1500’s, chia was banned as crop because of its many ties to religious ceremonies. In the 1990s, the University of Arizona encouraged the re-domestication of chia seeds. Today, your chia seeds probably come from Central or South America, although Australia most likely will become the largest source of chia on the planet.


Nutritional Makeup of Chia Seeds


To discover why so many health professionals are calling chia a superfood, we have to first look at what’s in a chia seed. Chia seeds contain the following nutrients:

•    Omega-3 fatty acids
•    Antioxidants
•    Fiber
•    Calcium
•    Magnesium
•    Iron
•    Potassium
•    Niacin
•    Protein

Of course there are many “superfoods” on the market today that have high concentrations of these essential vitamins and minerals. What makes Chia even more of beneficial food product over flax or wheat germ is the manner in which the human body digests these little seeds. Chia will absorb up to ten times its weight in water our surrounding fluid. When you eat chia seeds, they absorb stomach fluid and then slowly breakdown over an extended period of time. This effect creates a time release capsule of sorts, slowly and methodically delivering vital nutrients to your body over time instead of all once.


It’s easy to see that chia seeds can definitely result in some positive benefits in your body. Any food in its natural form that gives us that many vitamins and minerals is something we should consider adding into our diet. One question a lot of people have, however, is if chia seeds can affect good health without any negative side effects.

 

You won’t get bored eating chia seed products. The unique makeup of these seeds has caught the attention of manufacturers everywhere and they are creating all kinds of chia seed products. If you don’t care for sprinkling chia seeds on your food, you can incorporate them into your diet through bottled waters, pastas. squeezable gel pouches, peanut butters, nutrition bars and even pill form.

For those who are concerned about non-GMO and Kosher foods, it is important to note that most raw chia seeds are both non-GMO and Kosher. Always double check the labels to make sure, but the majority of manufacturers makes sure their seeds fall under these two categories. If this is a concern for you, it’s another great reason to only shop from those manufacturers that you know you can trust.

Where to Buy Chia Seeds

Since chia seeds are big news right now, they are pretty easy to find. Your local grocery store more than likely has a selection of chia seeds and chia products. Health food stores also normally carry several different choices of chia seeds, supplements and other chia products. If you cannot find chia products near you, they are easily found online at places such as Swanson’s and Amazon.

Meet Brand Ambassador Karl Rittger

karl
Karl Rittger is from Hunterdon County, New Jersey where he was voted most athletic for 4 years in high school where he wrestled, played football and lacrosse. He attended Brown University in Providence Rhode Island where he received a Bachelor of Science in Geology/Physics – Mathematics. At Brown he wrestled Division I and his senior year he was a NCAA qualifier. After Brown, Karl moved to Vail, Colorado where he lived the ski bum life. He skied over 100 days a year before moving to Santa Barbara where he earned his Masters and PhD in Environmental Science and Management studying snow hydrology. Currently he works at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.
sierras_from_clarkcanyon

With his free time Karl mountain bikes, rock climbs, and snowboards/skies both inbounds and in the back country. He has recently started racing mountain bikes. Karl enjoys both sport climbing and traditional climbing but his favorite is multi pitch traditional climbing. Skiing provides both a recreational activity for Karl as well as allowing him to do field work related to his job.
devils_postpile

For climbing Karl always throws a few Vitalyte raspberry chia surges in his pack along with a few peanut butter chocolate chia bars. He’s been known to pass them out to bonking climbers. Before racing Karl fuels up mandarin orange tri-phase endurance while sipping on natural lemonade electrolyte replacement during the race.

Brand Ambassador Takes Second at the Over the Hump Series!

20130827_191937

Brand Ambassador Karl competed in the final race at Irvine Lake for the Over the Hump series and finished second!

Check out his pre race regimen:
Pre race:
Lemon Electrolyte replacement on my warm-up lap
30min before:
Triphase Endurance mandarin orange and a chia surge gel

20130827_191947_small

20130827_191415

20130827_185536_small

Brand Ambassador Laura Conley is a Nike Warrior Goddess

Watch and be inspired.