Chia Seeds Provide Sports Nutrition Minus the Sugar and Calories

The popularity of sports drinks and performance gels has exploded over the last 10 years but most nutritionists would agree they aren’t that good for you. A simple drink that combines water, chia seeds and a twist of citrus is healthier and will help you keep that competitive edge.

Nutritional Value of Chia Seeds

Chia seeds made a comeback about five years ago. Before that, most of us either hadn’t heard of them or didn’t understand the nutritional benefits that adding them to your diet can bring.

Chia seeds

Chia Seeds Have Superfood Properties

Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and are very high in antioxidants. Unlike other seeds – flax for example – they can be added to water, soups, salads, and homemade bread right out of the package. Flax seeds, while good for you, do not have any real nutritional benefits whole and must be ground before they can be consumed.

Chia seeds are a powerhouse of nutrients. One ounce (about 2 tablespoons) has 139 calories, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat, 12 grams of carbohydrates and 11 grams of fiber. Chia seeds also contain essential nutrients including manganese, phosphorus, calcium, zinc, copper and potassium. As a bonus they contain essential fatty acids alpha-linoleic and linoleic acid, and vitamins A, B, E and D.

Adding chia seeds to your diet for the nutritional value they provide alone is reason enough. But some research shows they can increase your energy level and metabolism which can lead to improved athletic performance. Add them to the water you drink during your workout and you won’t need a sports drink like Gatorade that’s loaded with sugar and other additives or G2 that has questionable artificial sweeteners.

Replace Sugary Beverages with Chia Seeds to Maintain Your Edge and Lose Weight

Most of us look to sports drinks to help us get through athletic endurance trainings and events. If we are doing a 50 mile bike ride or a 13 mile run on a hot day, we need something beyond water to keep us moving. You can safely replace the sugary carb-loaded beverage with a tablespoon of chia seeds in water with a splash of lemon or lime which will save you calories and provide the needed energy.

A study cited in the National Institute for Health created two control groups that consisted of athletic males. They had both groups perform a one hour run on a treadmill at approximately 65% of their VO2max followed by a 10k time trial on a track. One group consumed 100% of their calories from Gatorade. The second group consumed 50% of their calories from Gatorade and 50% from chia seeds. The group that consumed the 50% Gatorade, 50% Chia seed drink performed just as well as the 100% Gatorade group, which shows the athletes could decrease their dietary intake of sugar by using the chia seed replacement drink.

Chia in water

Chia Water = A Healthier Option

While the study doesn’t go so far as to prove that chia seeds alone will lead to athletic performance, the good news is that often times we consume more calories in the form of beverages and other carb aids when we work out or compete in events. Unlike chia seeds, those calories comes from sugar that has no nutritional value and leads to inconsistent ebbs and flows in our energy level. Over time, consuming sugary sports drinks can sabotage our weight loss goals and leave us wondering why we’re working so hard but the stubborn belly fat doesn’t budge.

Plus, the high fiber content of the chia seeds (one ounce has 10 grams) will fill you up so you’re not starving when you’re done!