Chia Seed – More Good Food for Biking

Bob and Jane – Biking vacation

My husband and I and twelve of our friends recently spent a week in Door County, Wisconsin.  It was primarily a biking trip, and we did lots of that, and there was also time for people to break off into smaller groups for things like wine tours, golf games, fishing, shopping, yoga, etc.  It was great fun, and I got a new idea for biking food…..well, actually biking drink ….as a bonus to all that fun.

One of the women with us, Karen, puts chia seeds in her water bottles for biking.  Why I was so surprised to hear that, I don’t know, but really, you’d think that I might have thought of that great idea first!

So, you may ask, why is the idea of chia seeds in biking water such a good idea?  The first reason that comes to mind is that  chia seeds, which absorb water, are then good vessels for transporting hydration and chia seed nourishment to all the cells in the body, which really need them on long bike rides and other life activities. 

Chia – from the mint family

My friend Jenny, who is also a fan of this practice, said that chia seeds in water just made her body feel good while she was riding—not heavy from too much food, not nauseous from highly chemicalized and artificially sweetened commercial drinks.  “They just feel good in my belly ,“ she said. Because they swell in water, they produce a comfortably full feeling.

If that weren’t reason enough, chia seeds, considered a super food by many nutrition-conscious folks, provide many  gifts for  competitive and recreational athletes alike. They take on the taste of whatever they are mixed with, balance blood sugar, and provide energy throughout the day.  They are made of both soluble and insoluble fibers, so help  clean out your digestive system and keep things flowing smoothly.  Also, chia is the richest plant source of omega-3 fats, which are essential for heart health and cholesterol regulation.

Chia absorbs and carries water

And there’s more to like yet.  Chia seeds contain bio-available calcium and manganese (for stronger teeth and bones), phosphorus, (for synthesizing protein for cell and tissue growth and repair), protein, and tryptophan (for regulating appetite and sleep, and improving mood).

Chia seeds have also been shown, according to the Cleveland Clinic, to improve blood pressure in people with diabetes, and may also increase healthy cholesterol while lowering total, LDL, and triglyceride cholesterol.

There are just many things to like about this little seed from the mint family native to Mexico and Guatamala, where it was a very important food crop for the Aztecs.  Chia has remained in regular use in its native countries, but was largely unknown in North America until about 1929, when it began to be grown in Argentina, and then gradually made its way to us.

I often add some chia seeds to my green smoothies.  They can also be sprinkled on salads, made into puddings, and actually incorporated into many other dishes.  You may enjoy this easy, healthy, and satisfying  Chia porridge recipe.


Chia, apple, walnuts, raisins — yum!

Breakfast Chia Porridge* (serves 1)

2 Tbs chia seeds
1/3 cup water
1/3 apple, chopped (or sliced banana)
2 Tbs walnuts, chopped
2 Tbs raisins
½ Tbs agave or honey
A pinch of cinnamon

Directions:

In a bowl, stir together the ground chia seeds and water.
Let stand for a few minutes so it can gel.
Add the chopped apple (or sliced banana), chopped walnuts, and raisins.
Top with the agave and add a pinch of cinnamon, if desired.  

And yes, I did try adding chia to my biking water bottles.  I liked that it gives the water a little “substance” and does, as Jenny suggested, keep my stomach feeling comfortable. I plan to keep up the practice.  If you try it, too, let me know.  It’s good to share these things in our ongoing journey towards greater health, vitality and vigor. 

*from Rona Lee in Maven of Health   www.mavenofnealth.com

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