Note: Today’s blog looks at the nutritional benefits of chia. Tomorrow’s blog will provide some recipes, so be sure to check back then.
As a law-school student in my last semester I am somewhat embarrassed to say that I have read only one non-legal casebook book in the last two years. That book was the amazing & educational Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall.
McDougall writes this book perfectly – merging a non-fiction story, scientific data, and educational insights seamlessly. The book is a page-turner.
Born to Run is, in many ways, centered on the minimalist running movement. The foundation for the book is the Tarahumara Tribe of Mexico’s brutal Copper Canyon. This tribe is regarded by many to be some the greatest ultra-runners in the world. The Tarahumara run hundreds of miles & run for days at a time. They run for sport, for camaraderie, and for survival. These runs are fueled, in large part, by the chia seed. Born to Run tells many tales of how the chia seed fuelled epic runs.
“If you had to pick just one desert island food, you couldn’t do much better than chia,” McDougall writes. “At least if you were interested in building muscle, lowering cholesterol and reducing your risk of heart disease; after a few months on the chia diet, you could probably swim home.”
As a decent “age-grouper,” the search for gear, fuel, and a training regimen that works best for my body & my schedule is never-ending. So of course, when I read Born to Run I started to wonder if the chia seed could supplant my goos, gels, and bloks?
Chia is regarded as a “super food.” I couldn’t find one standard definition of a “super food,” but I think an adequate definition would be a food that provides health benefits beyond simple nutrition. Further, a “super food” seems to provide numerous nutritional & health benefits that you would otherwise have to ingest multiple types of food for. For example, salmon can be considered a super food because it contains large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and is low in saturated fat and calories.
Here is why Chia is a super food:
The approximate nutritional values in 1-Cup of chia seeds:
- Omega 3’s equal to that found in 5 pounds of salmon
- Magnesium equal to that found in over 7 pounds of broccoli
- Protein equal to that found in 1.5 pounds of tofu
- Fiber equal to that found in 2 pounds of oatmeal
- The antioxidants found in 1-pound of blueberries
- The Calcium found in 2 pounds of 1% milk
The more I read Born to Run, and the more I researched chia and its benefits, the more excited I got to try it. As you can see, the nutritional values of the seed are off the charts. Clearly, there could be some benefit to incorporating it into my diet – the question is how.
See Part 2 of this blog tomorrow for some ways I have enjoyed Chia.