For those of you who have never tried a “Chia Fresca,” it’s fun, a little weird and easy to digest. It’s also pretty darn tasty and supplies you with loads of energy. Combine chia seeds with other energy boosting ingredients, and just like the energizer bunny, you’ll keep going and going and going…
Chia seeds boost energy and metabolism
Let’s face it: chia seeds have always been fun, from the first time you saw them sprouting on a clay sculpture to floating in a glass of water. Chia seed are basically a perfect food. Why, you ask?
First, unlike flax seeds that need to be ground for maximum nutrient absorption, chia seeds can be eaten whole. Second, they’re loaded in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which are highly beneficial for digestive health and the heart. They’re also high in linoleic, a fatty acid that helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
In addition, chia seeds support bone strength and mass. One ounce of chia seeds contains 18 percent of the recommended daily amount of calcium. They also contain boron, which helps metabolize calcium, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus for healthy bones and muscles.
Chia seeds are wild seeds that originated in Mexico and Guatemala. They date back to pre-Columbian times and have a long history as human food. Today these ancient chia seeds are hailed as a modern-day superfood. And when prepared correctly, they are easily digested and help with everything from weight loss to boosting energy. In fact, chia seeds can keep you energized all day long.
A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning reports that consuming chia seeds actually enhances exercise performance. It does this in the same way that a sugar-laden sports drink would, but without the added sugar. The study set out to determine if omega-3 chia seed loading worked to enhance performance during 90-minute workout sessions. That way athletes could decrease their dietary intake of sugar while increasing their intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Half of the athletes drank 100 percent Gatorade, and the others consumed 50 percent Gatorade and 50 percent chia drink. The athlete’s times were matched, yet the half-chia group consumed far less sugar.
Eat raw or soak first?
While soaking chia before eating is not entirely necessary, it certainly doesn’t hurt. When you soak them first, they “sprout” and release enzyme inhibitors that are used to protect the seed. This makes them easier to digest, and easier to access the dense nutrients inside the seeds. Obviously, when creating a Chia Fresca, the seeds will absorb water, which allows for a smooth, easily digestible drink. Keep in mind, if you eat chia whole, they will naturally absorb water in your system. That means you should drink lots of water when snacking on chia seeds.
One more point to remember: chia is high in fiber, so bowel movements will be easier and more frequent. Start slow and increase your intake so that your body can adjust.
Coconut water for maximum energy
This Chia Fresca recipe is made with coconut water to supply maximum energy and increases exercise performance. Fresh coconut water is also one of the richest natural sources of electrolytes including potassium, sodium, magnesium, prosperous and calcium. It can be used to prevent dehydration from strenuous exercise. In fact, it even outperforms water or carbohydrate drinks. A study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine compared drinking coconut water to carbohydrate-electrolyte beverages or plain water. Researchers found that coconut water caused less nausea, more fullness and no stomach upset. It was also easier to consume in a larger amount than a carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage or plain water.
Add lemon or lime to boost energy
Apart from providing a refreshing taste and vitamin C, lemon helps aid digestion and detoxification according to Dr. Josh Axe. In addition, lemon water can boost energy levels similar to coffee but without the caffeine crash. Our bodies get their energy from the food atoms and molecules. When negative-charged ions found in limes and lemons enter your digestive tract, your energy level is increased naturally.
Maple syrup for fuel
Maple syrup, naturally delicious, is an excellent fuel for energy thanks to its ideal nutrient profile. “During exercise, our muscles use all of our stored glucose to fuel the activity,” says Alexandra Caspero, R.D. for Shape Magazine. When you exercise, “the body prefers quick, easily-absorbable energy that provides glucose right away so we can keep on exercising.”
Chia Fresca Recipe with a Twist
Drink 30 minutes before your workout to boost endurance and stamina.
Makes: 2 cups
- 1 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
- 2 cups of coconut water
- 1/2 fresh lemon or lime, squeezed
- 1 1/2 tsp pure organic maple syrup
1. Measure out chia seeds into a tall glass. Add the coconut water.
2. Allow to sit for about 15 minutes (chia seeds will swell and soften).
3. Add lemon or lime juice and maple syrup.
4. Stir and enjoy!
— Katherine Marko