Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Seeds Review

Do you buy into the hype?

After reading Born to Run, I not only bought into the hype of barefoot running, but also into ingesting these tiny little seeds previously used to grow green-afros on pottery.  I was hooked on barefoot running from step one, and continue to love it, but I'm still not sure how I feel about chia seeds.

Christopher McDougall describes chia seeds in Born to Run (fantastic read) as a Red Bull type of energizer, with endurance boosting powers.  Then some independent, online research also boasted that chia seeds are a superfood, high in omega-3s which also:
  • Help regenerate muscle tissue (as well as tissue during pregnancy and lactation)
  • Help aid digestion
  • Increase hydration
  • Increase weight loss
  • Balance blood sugar
  • Cut cravings for food
...along with a host of other benefits.  These claims sound too good to be true, and probably are.  I've tried chia seeds a handful of times now and can't say with certainty that any of these claims are true or false, but other than a little boost in energy, I can't say I felt much different on them.

Here's a few notes on my experience with chia seeds:
  • I did feel a bit energized on chia seeds.  Similar to having a small cup of tea
  • It's difficult to say whether they boost endurance because I'm still getting used to barefoot running, and haven't really tried lengthy endurance workout
  • It's also difficult to say whether they boost hydration or not, but I don't think I felt the desire to drink as much during the workout, so that's a maybe (but with little certainty)
  • Over the past few monthss, my muscles have been recovering quicker and quicker thanks to getting back in the gym after a few months of inactivity (stupid surgery!)
  • Chia seeds have not held up to the hype, but I do see value in experimenting with them on occasion
  • I like having an alternative energizer to caffeine and am happy to use chia seeds, but if I'm really honest with myself, I enjoyed reading Born to Run so much that I sense a little placebo effect in action.  I'm not always energized when I have chia seeds, but I can usually feel it
  • I'm all for the placebo effect.  It works.  Believe in something and make it a reality.  Why not?
  • Many of the benefit claims I've read online seem to be false or over-exaggerated.  If you eat paleo, it shouldn't be of concern anyway.  You'll be fine.
  • At the least, chia seeds seem like a decent way to add a little variety to your diet.  I say try them for yourself.  If you like them, continue to have them, if not, stop.  Some people swear by it, others not so much.  

No comments:

Post a Comment