A healthy lifestyle requires a holistic perspective that not only addresses your state of mind and physical exercise but also sound nutrition. So occasionally we’ll share tips that can help you meet your nutritional goals and keep your body feeling good. Here’s a look at one food with which you may not be overly familiar.

Athletes, especially those involved in long-distance events like running or cycling, are well familiar with all manner of endurance gels, goos and other products that promise a boost of energy for those final stretches. But some cultures have been using their own natural form of energy supplement for hundreds of years: Chia seeds.

If your first thought was “Chia Pet,” then you’d be right – these seeds are best known in our culture from the Chia Pets, a popular gag gift and staple of many households in the 80s. But the seeds themselves have amazing properties. Chia is a member of the mint family and the seeds are high in Omega-3s, protein and fiber. When mixed with water, they form a gelatinous substance that can help fill you up and keep you energized.

In recent years, the Chia seed has experienced popularity in the United States and many attribute the attention to the book Born to Run,in which Christopher McDougall recounts how the bare-footed Tarahumara runners of Mexico would ingest the seeds before and during runs of 100+ miles.

Nowadays, you can easily find Chia seeds in local health food stores or order them online. 2 teaspoons diluted into 8-10 ounces of water with the juice of a lime makes for a refreshing drink. The seeds can also be sprinkled over salads, baked into breads or snacked on raw. Dr. Oz has called Chia seeds the “perfect food,” since they are loaded with nutrition and no empty calories. If you can get over drinking a gelatinous beverage (some say it resembles a bubble tea or tapioca), you can enjoy the many benefits of Chia seeds.

 

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