Biz.Gov Chia Nelson 44What are the health benefits of CHIA?

Chia has an excellent nutritional profile and is one the richest plant sources of Omega 3, complete protein, anti-oxidants and fibre. It is also full of essential vitamins and minerals.

  • Rich in Omega 3 – (more than flaxseed), essential for brain function, heart, joint and mobility and skin health.
  • Complete protein – containing all essential amino acids for strengthening or repairing muscles, energy and cellular function.
  • Anti-oxidant rich – This assists in reducing inflammation and protects cell health. Being anti-oxidant rich also has the added benefit of protecting the Omega 3 from going rancid, unlike other sources of Omega 3.  Blackcurrants, Blueberries, and the Chia seeds themselves, are all very high in Anti-oxidants.
  • Fibre is an important part of our health – fibre assists with cleansing and digestive function. One bottle of CHIA contains more fibre than a standard serving of “high fibre” breakfast cereal.
  • Rich in Nutrients – Magnesium, Iron, Calcium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.
  • Chia holds water and nutrients in the body.  Because the seeds swell up to more than 10 times their normal size in water (the seeds hold the liquid around themselves), the seeds must be digested as food, so the hydration stays with you longer, rather than passing through the body as a liquid.  This creates, basically, a time release of the water and all nutrients so you stay nourished and hydrated longer. This is perhaps the most important feature of all.

CHIA is not recommended to replace any medications or claim to cure any illness. We support wellness through a healthy diet and believe in the nutrition of foods to assist in the prevention of disease.

What made you start CHIA?

CHIA started off as an endurance/recovery drink for athletes. Both my father and sister are competitive athletes – my sister is a triathlete competing at Worlds this year and Dad is a Masters Swimmer world champion. We realised that there was nothing that could be considered a real food, or a natural drink, on the market for a sports person.

There is a growing trend towards eating real whole foods.  There are many drinks available advertised for Sport Recovery.  Most, if not all, are simply sugar with salt and potassium added for the electrolytes.  Besides this, they usually have artificial colours and flavours added.  (not what you body needs after a hard training session or sporting event).

Through years of researching nutritionally rich foods, I found that Chia seeds were the most complete superfood I had come across, with an amazing nutritional profile.  It soon became clear that CHIA was not just for athletes.  CHIA will recharge your batteries  in the office giving you energy and sustenance through the day,  also for students and children who will benefit from Omega 3 and sustained energy without the sugar hits.

CHIA is a superfood, good for everyone who wants to maximise their performance, in the playing field, in the office, or in the classroom.

Chia seeds have the history of proven performance going back at least a 1000 years in Mexico.  It is documented proof that the Tarahumara Indians have been running great distances – non stop for over 100 kilometres through dry desert mountains, with only hydrated Chia seeds to sustain them.  The Tarahumara Indians still run today.  They are descended from the Aztecs of Mexico.  Read  their story:  “Born to Run”  by Christopher McDougall

Where do chia seeds come from?

Chia seeds are originally from Mexico, where they grow easily with little water. They do not need to be sprayed because the leaves naturally keep the bugs away, making it a very ecologically friendly plant. The seeds used in CHIA currently come from Australia, but we would prefer to source them locally and we are now trialling growing spray-free Chia seeds in Nelson.

Is CHIA pasteurised?

CHIA is pasteurised and then we do a nutritional test, so everything on the label is post pasteurisation.  The pasteurisation process gives CHIA a shelf life of 9 months.  Chia seeds are unique in that the Omega 3 is protected from heat. This is why you can make bread with Chia seeds without destroying the Omega 3.

Does CHIA contain any preservatives?

CHIA does not contain any added preservatives or anything artificial.  CHIA is a natural whole food.  CHIA is pasteurised at a low temperature to kill off the bad bugs but without harming the nutrients. Chia seeds themselves are rich in anti-oxidants which protect the product from oxidation and the fruits are naturally acidic, keeping bugs from growing. We didn’t want to add anything else and prefer to produce smaller batches more frequently so you are getting a fresher drink.

I am an athlete, how do I incorporate CHIA into my routine?

CHIA is the perfect training food and more and more athletes are incorporating it into their diet to improve performance and their health…because being the best athlete is also about being healthy.

CHIA is ideally for endurance, taken during training, or racing, to allow a steady flow of energy and increased hydration.  CHIA is great to drink before your training run or after. For sprint races,  CHIA is recommended as a recovery drink as it contains protein, magnesium, complex carbohydrates and anti-oxidants.

Why is CHIA for endurance and not short distant racing? In a short distant event, your body does not want to have to digest a nutrient-rich food with protein – it wants energy fast. This is why CHIA is good after your training/race: to restore nutrients, hydration and build muscle. In a long distance event, short quick energy will not get you to the finish. You will need more. The complex carbohydrates allow a steady flow of energy, the magnesium helps protect against cramping, the protein is a backup source of energy and the anti-oxidants protect against oxidation.

The unique properties of CHIA to sustain hydration for the Mexican Tarahumara Indians (running people), enabling them to run distances over  100km  through desert mountains, will also work for you, and you will know the difference.

A recent study has shown that Omega 3 loading from chia seeds is equivalent to carbo loading before a race of 90 min or more. Consider reading this paper Omega 3 chia seed loading as a means of carbohydrate loading, by Travis G. IIlian, Jason C. Casey, and Phillip A. Bishop, from the Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, The University of Alabama, Auburn, Alabama.