Chia: Tiny seeds that can give you a runner’s high!

DSC07570 (350x263)It’s both educational and fun to look back on history and study the benefits of a “new” substance we happen to discover in the present decade. The all-nutritious chia seed is just such a food. You can drink it (Mama Chia drinks, for example) or sprinkle it on yogurt or stir it into almond “milk” or mix it into hamburger patties. It’s endless, really, what you can do with chia seeds, but however you take your chia, it’s bound to give you more energy.

Most evidence shows that people started infusing their diets with the chia seed as early as 3500 B.C.  The Aztecs and Mayans consumed them in copius forms, grinding them into four, pressing them for oil, drinking them as nectar. The word chia actually means “strength,” and has become a staple in the lives of athletes and those seeking the most from natural, organic nutrition.

Author and ultra-marathoner, Christopher McDougall immortalized the chia seed when he set out to discover the secret of the Tarahumara Indians who run for miles in the rugged terrain and snake-like paths of North America’s treacherous Copper Canyons. It’s said the Tarahumaras can run down a deer and not break a sweat.  tarahumara runnerFor sure they’ve joined in marathons, running barefoot or in odd-shaped moccasins (flip-flops, really) and matching their prowess against the world’s most talented and seasoned runners.  More often than not, they will win the race, while stopping for a smoke, so natural is their ability to run for miles on a handful of chia seeds.

And even smoking, considered deadly to the rest of humanity, doesn’t seem to affect the Tarahumaras, as they continue to this day to enjoy good health and serenity living in the Mexican high country, literally running hundreds of miles a day. Think of the lung capacity!

Today, we know the chia to be full of inflammation-fighting antioxidants and heart-healthy Omega 3 fats and fiber. They contain calcium (six-times that found in milk), along with phosphorous, magnesium and Omega 6. (Remember, we always strive to keep the Omega 3 and 6 ratio in balance for optimal nutrition.)

Howtotut put this on the Internet a couple of years ago about chia seeds: DSC07569 (350x263)

  • They regulate sugar levels

Seeds can form gel that converts starches into sugar much slower. This is why chia seeds are perfect in cases of diabetes, as blood sugar levels don’t surge soon after meal consumption. Comparatively slow sugars released into the blood stream aid in their optimum absorption by the body cells. This is how the need for insulin diminishes. Regulating blood glucose chia seeds also prevent type 2 diabetes.

  • They are high in minerals

In addition to all the above-mentioned features, this one also takes a special place. Chia seeds are known for being a great source of a huge number of minerals that the human body needs to thrive. Calcium, zinc, magnesium and iron are among the primer ones. They are essential for bone health and proper functioning of all body organs.

  • They have omega-3 fatty acids

Flax seeds contain much omega-3 fatty acids, but are you aware of the fact that chia seeds possess much more fatty acids? In case you don’t keep to a vegetarian diet and refuse to eat fish, a full tablespoon of chia seeds per day ensures you get the omega-3 fatty acids you and your body need. One more plus is the fact these seeds needn’t to be ground to let the body benefit from their intake. Even eaten whole, the body manages to process all the fatty acids it needs.

  • They boost brain power

Fatty acids that are present in chia seeds assist in maintaining proper functioning of brain cell membranes, as well as neurotransmitters. They contain DHA – docosahexaenoic acid – which is used by the human brain and the nervous system of the body. In addition to docosahexaenoic acid, they have EPA – eicosapentaenoic acid – that is widely known for its help in relieving low-grade inflammation that is associated with clinical depression. Chia seeds are very powerful sources of essential acids that are considered to be natural food for one’s brain.

GreenAcres has a hard time keeping up with the demand for both chia seeds and chia drinks in all of our stores. So, there is definitely something to this “wonder food.” Check it out!