Benefits of Chia Seeds for athletes

If you’re reading up on chia seeds for athletes, chances are you’ve heard that this superfood can boost endurance and performance in sports. Happily, we can report that this is true – Unlike many other dietary fads, the immune support, anti-inflammatory properties and energy-boosting potential of chia seeds have been proven by scientific studies.

Athletes taking part in endurance events place an enormous amount of strain on their bodies, both during training, and on the day of the event itself. Since peak performance is tied to optimal nutrition, it can be a tall order to find sufficient dietary sources of calories to keep you going without adding too much sugar to the equation – This is where chia seeds come in!

What Are Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds are easy to find these days – it’s a regular feature on the shelves of health food stores, and even regular supermarkets. However, consumption of chia dates back to approximately 2600 BC, and has been a staple component of the South American diet for centuries.

The seeds come from the Salvia Hispanica plant and are renowned for containing a huge concentration of nutrients despite its deceptively small size.

An Unlikely Athletic Fuel Food

The benefits of chia seeds for athletes is common knowledge for the Tarahumara Indians of the Copper Canyons region of Northwestern Mexico.

This inspiring tribe of ultrarunners are revered for their seemingly endless endurance and strength – both the men and women of the tribe are known to run up to 50 miles (80+ km) per day.

One of their secrets is the consumption of superfoods like chia seeds. They tend to take it as a drink made from chia and water. The seeds soak up the water to swell to ten times its dry size, holding a lot of liquid in the process.

Chia – A Superfood Powerhouse

Chia seeds are often described as a superfood because of the high levels of protein and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids it contains. In fact, it also happens to contain two times the potassium content of bananas, and three times the antioxidants of blueberries!

The protein content is of particular importance when it comes to athletic performance. The form of protein inherent to chia seeds is highly bioavailable, which means the body can ‘access’ it easily to repair its tissues and sustain general health and wellbeing, even if you burn loads of calories.

As if that is not enough – Chia seeds also contain high levels of dietary fibre. This type of fibre, when combined with quality sources of carbohydrates, slows down digestion to allow for a slow, steady assimilation of the carbs – Ideal for when you need extra endurance.

Oh, and did we mention the fact that its omega content supports the body in generating energy throughout the body?

What Are The Health Benefits of Chia Seeds?

Here are a few of the most important health benefits of chia seeds for athletes:

  • It offers strong stable energy over a prolonged period of time.
  • It keeps the body hydrated during races by releasing liquid slowly.
  • It improves the body’s fuel efficiency and fat metabolism.
  • It is a natural anti-inflammatory aid and immune support solution.
  • It contains high levels of antioxidants that ‘clean up’ the free radicals produced by oxygen use during exercise.
  • It contains 18 of the 22 known amino acids, including ones that we cannot naturally produce in our bodies ourselves.

How You Can Add Chia Seeds to Your Diet

  1. Sprinkle it over a fresh salad to add a bit of crunch.
  2. Blend it into your morning smoothie.
  3. Soak it overnight in coconut, soy or almond milk to enjoy a delicious, tapioca-style pudding in the morning.

Try this this delicious Banoffee Protein Chia Pudding Cup recipe:

Prep. Time: 20 minutes; Cook Time: n/a⁠⁠

No. of Servings: 2⁠⁠

Chia Pudding Ingredients:⁠⁠

Toffee Sauce Ingredients:⁠⁠

  •  3 Tbsp Coconut oil, melted⁠⁠
  •  3 Tbsp Coconut Blossom Sugar⁠⁠
  •  2 Tbsp Tahini⁠⁠
  •  1 Tbsp Coconut milk⁠⁠
  •  ½ tsp Vanilla extract⁠⁠

To Serve:⁠⁠

  •  ½ cup Plant-based yoghurt⁠⁠
  •  1 Banana, sliced⁠⁠


For the chia pudding, mix the chia seeds, milk and Phyto Protein THRIVE Vanilla Protein in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for an hour or overnight.⁠⁠

For the toffee caramel sauce, combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl, whisking until fully incorporated. This may be done over a low heat if necessary to help the ingredients blend together smoothly.⁠⁠

When you’re ready to serve, layer the chia pudding, toffee sauce, yoghurt and sliced banana in a cup or jar.⁠⁠


Serving Instructions: Drizzle with maple syrup & your favourite nuts as an option.⁠⁠

Storage Suggestions: Each of the layers can be stored separately in the fridge for up to a week. If refrigerated, warm the toffee sauce slightly before serving again


Chia For The Win!

There you have it – the benefits of chia seeds for athletes, in a nutshell. Try adding it to your training diet and on-the-day dietary regime, and see what a difference it makes in your performance; you are very likely to be pleasantly surprised at what a big impact these small seeds can have.

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