In our article health benefits of chia seeds, we talked about how chia seeds are full of nutrition and beneficial to our body in many ways. Chia seeds reduce cholesterol. It prevents dyslipidemia. It aids digestion, promotes metabolism. It offers wonderful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to our body and protects body from infection. This Aztec Runners Superfood offers not only physical stamina but also mental strength and concentration. Being gluten free, healthy recipes using chia seeds are popular these days.
Chia name comes from Mayan word chiabaan which means “to strengthen”. For centuries Chia seeds have been used for increasing strength of body. Aztec warriors have said to survive only on chia seeds during war.
Chia Seed: Protein Content
Vegetarian food is generally incomplete in protein. Of all the amino acids (building blocks of protein) around 9 amino acids are essential and cannot be synthesized in body. Vegetarian food is often incomplete in one or two amino acids. Only few vegetarian foods are known which have complete amino acids – soyabean, tofu, Quinoa and Chia seeds. Chia seeds protein is complete, as it contains all nine essential amino acids.
Protein forms around 18% by weight of chia seeds, which means every six grams of chia seeds is equivalent to 1 gram of protein powder you may consume. Alternately if you consumed 1 gram of chia seeds protein powder, you are enjoying proteins in 6 grams of chia seeds. Isn’t this great? Lets compare it with some other protein rich food like soybean and egg.
Soy bean protein contains twice as much protein as chia seeds. Soybean contains around 30% protein by weight. Then why is chia seed superfood? Answer lies in other nutrients, fatty acids and phytochemicals present in chia seeds which offer further health benefits. Thus chai seed protein alone shall not be superior to other food protein like soy protein. Chia seeds make good alternative to soy based products which have other problems associated with soy phytoestrogein.
Body needs body weight (in kg) equivalent as proteins in gram. So if you weigh 75kg, you would need 75 gram of protein each day. In terms of chia seeds this would mean 300-400 grams of chia seeds are required to meet daily protein requirement. If you are on special workout or training your protein requirement increases to repair damaged tissues or need to grow more tissues. So you definitely cannot rely on one source for your daily protein requirement. Chia seeds protein supplements may help. Chia seed protein can be well compared with egg protein.
Chia Seed protein for endurance
This native South Amreican chia seeds have been consumed for more than 6000 years now. Aztec warriors were one of the fiercest warriors of all time and they ate chia seeds to boost their energy levels and increase endurance. Ultra-marathoner Christopher McDougall mentions Chia seeds in his book, “Born To Run,” as preferred food of Tarahumara Indians, who ran hundreds of miles barefoot without resting or eating all that much. This fact is being used to market the chia seeds to athletes, marathon runners as endurance superfood.
While it is known that most energy comes from carbohydrates or fats, proteins are essential for endurance. Endurance athletes pay more attention to proteins than carbs. Endurance requires lean muscle mass while high strength in muscles. Acute endurance exercise results in the oxidation of several amino acids. Hence high protein diet is must for endurance athletes. A study published in Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that equal caloric mix of Gatarode and chia offered same performance benefits as pure Gatarode.
Chia seed protein for bodybuilding
Proteins are building blocks of body muscles. Working out or lifting weight damages muscle fibers and they require repair. This also results in growth of new muscles which we term body building. All this growth requires lots of amino acids. Body builders need twice or thrice the amount of protein as normal adult. Hence body builders have to rely upon external protein supplements along with protein rich diet.
Chia seed protein powder is good supplement for body building. Since Chia seed powder doesn’t have its own flavor, it blends well with other drinks. Eating whole chia seeds should also be included diet to enjoy benefits of other nutrients in chia seeds. Chia seeds protein shake is becoming popular after workout drink.
Chia seed protein – Men
Human body has two hormones – Testosterone and Estrogen, and both are equally important. Testosterone is associated with masculine features and activity. Estrogen is known for controlling women periods and other body structure.
Food often contains chemicals which are similar to body estrogen and are termed as phytoestrogen. These chemicals are important in research of treatment of breast cancer and hormone replacement therapy in menopausal women. However, if you are a body building or undergoing physical training, phytoestrogen can work against your goals. Soybean while it contains more protein than chia seeds, it also supplies these phytoestrogen. Chia seed protein can be seen as alternative to soy protein. Chia seed protein do not imbalance you body hormone while supplying much needed protein.
Chia seeds protein as substitute for egg
As we have seen that protein profile of egg is very much similar to that of chia seeds. Also it finds its use in various recipes, including its use as substitute of egg in baked foods. It is also used as natural thickener to sauces. If you a vegan, you can easily compensate eggs with chia seed protein. Chia seeds also provides essential fatty acids which are required for body and present in eggs.
Chia seed breakfast
High Protein breakfast is often included in part of healthy diet. You can add protein rich chia seeds recipes to your breakfast. Simplest way is to soak chia seeds in fruit juice and drink. Chia seeds protein shake is good for people with heavy workout.
Some Chia seed protein rich recipes you may like:
Chia seed protein bar
Soak ½ cup dates in ¼ cup water for half hour. Add ½ cup of chia seed protein powder and blend until dates form smooth paste. Add 2 cups of oats, 2 tbsp of chia seeds, pinch of salt, ½ roasted water melon seeds. Mix all ingredients and spread it on a baking dish evenly. Refrigerate for couple of hours so that the bar is set. Cut them in required shape and sizes. Chia seed protein bar is ready providing you all energy.
Chia seed protein Pudding
Mix 1 scoop of chia seed protein powder with ¼ cup water. Mix well until lumps are dissolved. To this add 1/8 cup of soaked whole chia seeds and ¼ tsp of vanilla extract and pinch of cinnamon powder. Add some sugar as per taste. Leave this mixture to thicken. Serve scoop of this pudding with coconut, fruits or nuts.
Chia seed protein Smoothie
Add 1 cup of almond milk, 1 cup of water and blend well. To this add ¼ cup of chia seed protein powder, ½ tsp of cinnamon, ½ tsp. vanilla essence and 1 cup of soaked chia seeds. Blend well again until smooth. Your super filling chia seed protein smoothie is ready to drink. Smoothie tastes great with yoghurt as well or coconut milk as well.Image Credits: Flickr