Chia seeds: The great effect of the special all-rounder

Chia seeds

General information about chia seeds

Chia seeds are the seeds of the Mexican chia (Salvia hispanica) – a herbaceous plant belonging to the labiates family. The main cultivation nowadays is mainly in the Amazon region and in Central and South America.

Chia seeds are considered an extremely nutrient-dense food and have become increasingly popular in recent years as a functional food and “superfood.” But already with the Mayas, Incas and Aztecs the gluten-free chia seeds had a high value. In the Mayan language, Chia had the meaning “power”.

Nutrients & effect of chia seeds

Chia seeds have 16.5 g of protein per 100 grams, making them one of the most protein-rich plant foods. Due to the high protein content, they are considered ideal for muscle building and regeneration.

In addition, chia seeds are among the few plant-based products that contain high amounts of  of all essential amino acids  with a balanced amino acid ratio in one food.

The proportion of lysine – important for muscle building and regeneration – is very low in many plant-based foods. Chia seeds, on the other hand, have a very high content of 0.97g/100g. Also Leucine is found in the small seeds(1.37g). Leucine is important for muscle protein synthesis, building and repairing muscle tissue.

Also contained in appreciable amounts are methionine (0.59 g) and cysteine. Methionine plays a role in the functioning of the nervous system.

Mineral

per 100 g chia seeds

Calcium

0,63 g

Phosphorus

0,86 g

Potassium

0,41 g

Magnesium

0,34 g

Trace element

Manganese

2.72 mg

Iron

Zinc

7.72 mg

4.58 mg

Nutritional values

per 100 g chia seeds

Carbohydrates

41,12 g

Fat

30,74 g

Protein/Protein

16,54 g

Dietary fiber

34,4 g

Chia seeds also contain high amounts of antioxidants and flavonoids (including myricetin, quercetin, kaempferol, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid).

Antioxidants play an important role for athletes. Antioxidants inhibit the formation of free radicals and thus protect the body from oxidative stress.

Antioxidants play an important role in inflammatory reactions, heart and liver protection, cell regeneration and aging processes, among others. That is why a special attention of chia seeds lies in their positive effect on cardiovascular system, disorders of the nervous system, diabetes and inflammatory processes.

Chia seeds also have a very high content of the essential omega-3 fatty acid ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) with 17.8g per 100g.

Since the average intake of omega-3 fatty acids is rather suboptimal, especially in our latitudes, chia seeds can support the coverage of omega-3 requirements. A regular intake of chia seeds can thus help to balance the omega3/omega6 ratio.

This is also particularly interesting for vegans, as omega3 fatty acids are otherwise mainly found in animal products.

Omega3 fatty acids can have a positive effect on inflammatory processes, among other things, and play an important role as a component of the brain and retina. For this reason, especially athletes with increased risk of concussion (alpine skiing, field hockey, soccer…) should pay attention to a sufficient intake of omega3 fatty acids.

Excellent source of minerals for endurance athletes

For the absorption of minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium, chia seeds are equally well suited. Since these minerals are lost during sweating, chia seeds are particularly valuable as an additive in sports nutrition. Alternatively, chia seeds can also be well incorporated into the post-workout meal.

In addition, minerals of chia seeds are needed for a functioning nervous system, muscle contractions and stable bones.

Chia seeds are also rich in manganese. This serves as protection for the mitochondria (the power plants of the cells) and the red blood cells (oxygen transport). Manganese also helps to break down carbohydrates more efficiently and supports bone regeneration.

Iron (important for oxygen supply) and zinc (important for wound healing and inflammatory processes) are also present in chia seeds in comparatively high amounts.

The high proportion of complex carbohydrates in chia seeds is also interesting. They provide a steady and sustained supply of energy due to slower digestion than simple carbohydrates, ideal as a strength/energy supplier during endurance training.

Other interesting active ingredients

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