Stamina is the inbuilt strength or power to endure fatigue etc. On the other hand, the ability to sustain a stressful condition for a long period is endurance.
Both the terms ‘stamina’ and ‘endurance’ are interchangeable. A flowering plant named “chia” (Salvia hispanica, belonging to a mint family) bears oval, multicolored, crunchy textured seeds popularly known as “chia seeds.”
Chia seeds find their origin in Mexico. It is known for its medicinal and nutritional properties.
Nutritional value of chia seeds is very high. Insoluble fibers, proteins, minerals, vitamins and omega three fatty acids are very high in it. When chia seeds come in contact with water, it forms a gel and expands a bit. This gel prevents constipation.
Table of Contents
- Chia Seeds Nutrient Profile
- How Chia Seeds boost Energy?
- Recommended Daily Intake & Precautions of Chia Seeds
Chia Seeds Nutrient Profile
Chia seeds are a rich source of omega- 3 fatty acids (4915 mg in just one ounce); chia seeds also have 25-30% extractable oil, including α–linolenic acid.
These fats contain 55% omega-3, 18% omega-6, 6% omega-9 and 10% saturated fats. Main nutritional profile (amounts per 1 tablespoon (14g)) of chia seeds is:
• Dietary fiber (5g – 20% RDV )
• Protein (2g – 4% RDV)
• Calcium (9% RDV)
• Copper (15% RDV)
• Phosphorus (17% RDV)
• Potassium (58mg – 2% RDV)
• Zinc (8% RDV)
• Gluten free
• No cholesterol
Due to the nutrient-rich energy profile, chia seeds help to boost energy.
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How Chia Seeds boost Energy?
Some of the key reasons why Chia seeds are great Energy Booster are –
1. Chia seeds are high in omega 3 fatty acid
Athletes usually take a carbohydrate-rich drink for boosting their energy level. Carbohydrate raises the muscle glycogen (stored fuel) of the body. And then, this glycogen is utilized during exercise or athletic activities.
But omega-3 fatty acids of chia seeds are also effective in boosting the energy of athletes.
The objective of the study was to compare the effectiveness of carbohydrate (sugar) rich drink and omega-3 fatty acid drink (chia seeds) for athletes for an event that lasting for more than 90 minutes.
One group received Gatorade as a source of energy while the other group received half Gatorade and half chia seeds based drink as a source of energy.
The drinks were equal in calories. On-track performance followed the treadmill test.
It was found that there was no significant difference between energy levels and performance from both the source of energy, i.e., carbohydrate-rich drink and omega-3 fatty acid rich drink. Thus, chia seeds could be efficiently used for boosting the energy of athletes.
Researchers concluded that chia seeds could be used as carbohydrate loading source in athletes and also it reduces sugar intake in athletes.
Due to the presence of omega 3 fatty acids in chia seeds, fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E and K are easily taken up by the body
What does it mean?
Research shows that chia seeds drink as good as carbohydrate energy drink for boosting stamina in athletes.
2. Chia seeds are high in proteins
Chia seeds are one of the richest sources of protein among all another plant-based source. One ounce of chia seeds has 4.4 g of proteins and can meet 9% of the daily recommended value.
In recent research studies, protein from chia seeds is extracted and converted to a powdered form. They are analyzed for different physicochemical and functional properties. More desirable functions are being added by researchers to it, to make it more accessible and useful .
In study, it was found that protein drink could increase the aerobic capacity of athletes. Aerobic capacity is the measure of the capacity of a person to do maximum work in the measurable amount of oxygen consumption.
The study revealed that drink contained low carbohydrate and high protein amount was effective in increasing the aerobic capacity then drink contained high carbohydrates.
What does this mean?
Proteins are the building block of the body. Chia seeds provide us with proteins to boost our energy levels.
3. Chia seeds are dense in calories
A calorie is defined as a unit of energy. Food or drinks provide us energy and this energy is measured in the form of calories. For example, fats provide 9 calories per gram.
Chia seeds are calorie dense. One ounce of chia seeds provides 137 calories which meet 7% of daily recommended value. That would be close to an energy density of 5kcal/g, and hence chia seeds constitute has high energy density foods.
The high nutrient quality and high energy density of chia seeds can serve as a sustained source of energy for athletes.
What does it mean?
Chia seeds are calorie dense- they provide more energy than other foods for the same weight.
4. Chia seeds high in minerals and vitamins
Minerals and vitamins are very important for the performance of athletes. Different activities like the rhythmic beating of the heart, muscle contraction, bone strength, immunity, oxygen transport, conduction of nerve impulse, acid-base balance and antioxidant activity depend on minerals and vitamins.
The study also revealed that deficiency of minerals and vitamins leads to short-term or acute deficiencies that would lower the efficiency of athletes.
Chia seeds are rich in minerals. Calcium, iron, and magnesium are the main minerals found in chia seeds. One tablespoon of chia seeds can provide enough minerals to meet 7% to 9% of daily recommended value.
Calcium and phosphorus are good for bones and teeth. One tablespoon of chia seeds can meet 9% and 17%of daily recommended value for calcium and phosphorus.
Chia seeds are also a good source of zinc. It can meet 8% of daily recommended value for zinc. Zinc shows its significant role in immune function, wound healing and protein synthesis.
Iron is present in chia seeds. But this helps in the formation of hemoglobin(part of red blood cells). A study showed that iron deficiency also lowered the activity of muscles and thus affected the performance of athletes.
Muscle function is also improved by chia seeds as it also provides electrolytes.
What does this mean?
Vitamins and minerals are required for the proper metabolism of the body. Vitamins and minerals act as cofactors in energy-generating metabolism. Chia’s seeds rich nutritional profile provide the necessary amount of minerals and vitamins.
5. They are rich in fibers and carbohydrates but have a low glycemic load
Chia seeds are rich in fibers (fiber is a type of carbohydrate). 5 g of fibers is provided by just one tablespoon of chia seeds. It meets 19% of the daily recommended value.
Fibers are of two types: soluble and insoluble. Both types of fibers are found in chia seeds. Soluble fibers help in lowering the bad cholesterol and sustain the value of good cholesterol.I nsoluble fibers help in treating constipation.
Different studies explain the gelling property of chia seeds. This property is mainly due to the presence of polysaccharides in it. Polysaccharides of chia seeds comprise of 58% of fibers and 34% of carbohydrates.
The glycemic load of chia seeds is very low. The glycemic load of food is the measure of elevation of blood sugar after eating that food. 1 to 10 the value of glycemic load is normal, and chia seeds have one value of the glycemic load.
Studies showed that omega-3 fatty acids of chia seeds were also efficient for boosting the energy of athletes. They showed that chia seeds drink was as good as a carbohydrate energy drink for boosting stamina in athletes. It also decreased the dietary intake of digestible carbohydrates that have a high glycemic load.
What does this mean?
The glycemic load of chia seeds is less than that of carbohydrate drinks, and this is beneficial for metabolic health.
6. Chia seeds are a good source of hydration
Remaining well hydrated is vital. The right amount of water should be consumed to regulate the body functions.
Without an adequate amount of water, we experience fatigue, muscle cramps or dizziness. Thus reduces the stamina of athletes. Thus hydration plays an important role in the performance of athletes.
Chia seeds are a good source of hydration. When chia seeds are soaked in water, it expands and forms a gel-like material. The gel is mainly due to polysaccharides fibers of chia seeds.
Thus chia seeds store a large amount of water. Water holding a capacity of chia seeds is 110.5g water/g.
What does this mean?
Chia seeds can store a large amount of water and thus help in hydrating the body to maintain optimum energy levels.
Recommended Daily Intake & Precautions of Chia Seeds
For adults a daily intake of chia seeds is 18-20 g daily. One tsp of chia seeds soaked in water can be added to juices or lemonade to serve as an energy drink.
Excess intake of chia can cause gastrointestinal problems as it contains a high amount of fibers. It is recommended to take a lot of water with chia to avoid this problem.
Consume soaked chia seeds only. Consumption of dry chia seeds can cause the seeds to swell up in the throat and cause choking.
Chia seeds contain all the elements that help in generating energy. Chia seeds not only provide a direct source of energy through omega-3 fatty acid but help the enhance reactions of energy formation by providing essential minerals and vitamins needed for it.