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
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.