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Equal Performance, Superior Nutrition, Faster Recovery

Sports drinks have become a common means of replenishing energy — but many of us aren’t crazy about all the synthetic ingredients, added sweeteners and artificial colors. Now there’s a natural alternative: Game-changing chia, which provides the same energy boost with a much bigger nutrition bang for your buck. A recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning pitted sports drinks against a part-chia solution to see whether the natural power seed lived up to the challenge.

The subjects: Six elite male athletes, performing distance and sprint runs on a treadmill. Those who chugged chia — in place of the sports drink — ran just as far and as long over 90 minutes of high-intensity exercise. Packed with essential nutrients including fiber, protein, minerals and omega-3 alpha-linoleic acids, chia seeds may have the potential to speed recovery by calming post-workout inflammation. Indeed, chia might help counter some effects of an unhealthy diet: One basic study found that chia helped restrain blood sugar and reduce weight gain, in a high-sugar, high-fat diet.

Chia, an ancient Aztec staple, is increasingly gaining recognition as a nutrition powerhouse. The seeds are great blended into smoothies, tossed with salads, or sprinkled on cereal. In addition to the whole and milled chia seeds.

Published October 1, 2012

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