(NAPS)—Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the goal of Americans who want to stay in shape and avoid health challenges such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Eating a healthy, balanced diet that supports regular exercise is important, and that’s the reason many active people turn to chia as a natural source of energy.
Long used by the Tarahumara people in northwestern Mexico to support running over long distances, tiny chia seeds are believed to help with stamina and endurance.
Chia Considered A “Superfood”
The nutritional composition of chia seeds has earned them “superfood” status. They contain essential fatty acids that offer anti-inflammatory properties. Chia seeds also have fiber, antioxidants and important nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron.
Whether you’re running a marathon, playing soccer or just enjoying a weekend of hiking, biking or skiing, it’s important to maintain energy levels. Chia seeds can help: In addition to their fiber content, the seeds’ capacity to absorb many times their weight in water can slow digestion and reduce blood sugar crashes.
All chia seeds, however, are not the same. In terms of nutritional consistency, white Salba Chia is the only form of chia for which there are positive published health and medical studies.
A blend of the only two registered varieties of Salvia hispanica L.—Sahi Alba 911 & 912—Salba Chia is the richest whole food source of omega-3 fatty acids (ALA) in nature on a gram-for-gram basis. These essential polyunsaturated fats help to improve circulation and cell function.
The best way to use chia seeds as fuel is to presoak them in liquid. When added to water or juice the seeds swell to create a gel. This can be enjoyed in place of sports drinks—just add a twist of lemon and a spoonful of honey to taste. They can also be added to almond milk or made into this delicious treat:
Raw Chocolate Chia Energy Bars
11⁄2 cups pitted dates
1⁄3 cup raw unsweetened cocoa powder
1⁄3 cup whole Salba Chia seeds
1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract, optional
1⁄4 tsp. almond extract, optional
1 cup raw slivered almonds or raw shelled pistachios
Oat flour for dusting, optional
Place dates in bowl of food processor; puree until thick paste forms. Add cocoa powder, chia seeds, and vanilla and almond extracts, if using. Pulse until all ingredients are combined. Add almonds; pulse until nuts are finely chopped and well distributed through date mixture. Spread large sheet of wax paper on work surface and dust with oat flour, if using. Transfer date mixture to wax paper and use paper to press mixture into 1⁄2-inch-thick rectangle. Wrap tightly and chill overnight. Unwrap block and cut into 8 bars. Dust edges and sides with oat flour, if using, to prevent sticking. Rewrap each bar in wax paper.
The mild, nutty flavor of chia seeds makes them easy to add to foods and beverages. They are most often sprinkled on cereal, sauces, vegetables, rice dishes or yogurt or mixed into drinks and baked goods.