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Chia Seeds: Health Benefits and Energy Bites

Posted Apr 02 2013 10:31am

Chia seeds have gotten quite the hype the last few years.  In the running and endurance athletics community they have definitely become a hot commodity since their introduction in the book 'Born to Run' by Christopher McDougall.  In the book, the super-athletic Tarahumara Indians in Mexico consumed chia seeds while on their desert runs and were provided with surges of energy during and after.   So are chia seeds really the next promised super food?  I've been curious to know exactly why they are claimed to be so good for us and so did a lot of reading about them and this is what I found out:

Health Benefits
  • Chia seeds come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds contains 5 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein, 2282 mg of Omega 3 and 752 mg of Omega 6 fatty acids (This makes them a really great source of both fiber and Omegas)
  • A significant concentration of fiber combined with their ability to absorb 10 times their weight in water also makes chia seeds excellent for maintaining regularity and also contributing to satiety
  • Contain iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc 
  • Emerging research suggests that including chia seeds as part of a healthy diet may help improve cardiovascular risk factors such as lowering cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure

How to Include Them in Your Diet

  • Smoothies
  • Oatmeal
  • Yogurt

And last but not least our Energy Bites!!  These literally will take you 5 minutes to whip up and they are really delicious.  The fun part for your kids is that they can choose their own add-ins.  The sky is the limit and if they get to choose something that goes in them, guaranteed they will be more likely to eat them.  

 

Mix your basic ingredients in a bowl: Oats, honey, peanut butter, vanilla, and chia seeds.  

 

If you are going to do different add-ins, separate the mixture into different bowls.  

Refrigerate for about 20 minutes.  Flatten on parchment paper and then cut into 'bites'.  Or if you want to skip this step, you can just roll mixture into balls.  

You can refrigerate these and they will stay good for at least a week.  If you are wanting to use them for hiking, running, biking - other endurance activities - I would put a few in a small portable container in the fridge for a quick grab-n-go.  

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