Tuesday, September 20, 2011
I’ve become fairly interested in the nutritional qualities of Chia seeds lately after re-reading the Christopher McDougall book Born to Run. Chia seeds are an integral part of the Tarahumara diet. The Tarahumara, as you may recall, are a Native American tribe from the Copper Canyon area in Mexico who are renowned for their ability to run long distances.
Chia seeds have a justly deserved reputation as nutritional powerhouses. In pre-Columbian times they were a main component of the Aztec and Mayan diets and were the basic survival ration of Aztec warriors. The Aztecs also used chia medicinally to stimulate saliva flow and to relieve joint pain and sore skin. In a one ounce (28 g) sample, dried chia seeds contain 9% of the Daily Value for protein (4g), 13% fat (9g), a considerable amount of Omega 3 fatty acids, and 42% dietary fiber (11g), based on a daily intake of 2000 calories. The seeds also contain the essential minerals phosphorus, manganese, calcium, potassium and sodium in amounts comparable to other edible seeds, such as flax or sesame.
This morning I tried a recipe for pinole, that I found at the No Meat Athlete Blog. I combined Chia seeds with masa harina, honey, cinnamon and water and then baked the resulting dough into a soft cake. The taste was pretty neutral, but not unpleasant, and I’m already thinking of ways to add flavor and nutrients to make my own energy bars that aren’t full of synthetic ingredients.
As for the purported effects of chia seeds on running stamina…..I’ll let you know tomorrow.