For decades, chia seed has been consumed in exotic locales such as Mexico and the American Southwest in a drink called a “Chia Fresca” in which Chia seeds are added to water or fruit juice and consumed for sustenance. In 2009, a book by Christopher McDougall called Born to Run focused on the reclusive Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s Copper Canyon, which led to the rediscovery of chia seed as a powerful, nutritional source.
The Tarahumara are known for running hundreds of miles at a time and regularly consume chia in their food and drinks. Chia forms a gel when added to water, which helps prolong hydration and retain electrolytes – a great benefit for athletes, especially runners like the Tarahumara. It also digests slowly, which may help stabilize blood sugar and support an incredibly sustaining surge of energy throughout the day – another great reason the Tarahumara use this superfood on their long running journeys.
Chia seed is a high quality plant-based protein source, which makes it a perfect addition to any daily protein shake or to help amp up any vegan diet. It is also gluten-free as well as grain-free, which makes it an even better choice for morning smoothies. It contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, which allows it to work like an incredible digestive broom as it sweeps through your intestinal tract, helping to dislodge and eliminate old accumulated waste in the intestines while promoting regularity. Chia seed is also rich in antioxidants – Dr. Oz has compared it to the antioxidant power of blueberries, which boost immune support like no other food – and it is one of the most concentrated land sources of Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids.
Here is a great recipe for a Morning Chia Seed Shake with a little crunch:
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons Barlean’s Organic Chia Seeds
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered or Liquid Stevia to sweeten
1 scoop of your favorite protein powder
Stir chia seeds into almond milk in a glass and let sit for 15 minutes.
Stir in the rest of the ingredients, making sweet to suit your tastes.
How do you add chia seeds to your diet?