Flax & Chia Seeds for Athletic Performance
For as long as I can recall, I’ve always been a crunchy peanut butter person. Perhaps it’s the texture, or the fact that my dad preferred crunchy to my mother’s creamy, but it most certainly has something to do with the fact that crunchy peanut butter makes me feel like I’ve chewed and eaten something — a sensation which creamy peanut butter simply does not provide.
I’ve tested a variety of peanut butters over the years and, based on promotions and coupons by grocery store, have narrowed it down to three different types which can serve as a go-to item based on my nutritional criteria. Then enter Trader Joe’s into the Tampa market and I’m head over heals for their Crunchy Salted Peanut Butter with Flax & Chia seeds!
The nut butter contain 320mg of Alpha Linolenic Acid Omega-3 fatty acid per serving and tastes amazing, unlike many other “yuppie” nut butters I’ve tried over the years.
Foodeducate rates the product as an A- for nutrition and touts its 12% of your daily fiber needs as one of the best reasons to pick up a container. I’m on board with the simple, clean ingrediant list containing all of the things peanut butter should with flax and chia added instead of the usual food giant sugar dump.
Taking an athletic spin on why Flax and Chia seeds are good for you, I found this article from Runner’s World which, in addition to some great ideas for adding more flax seed to your diet, shares the following:
Omega-3 has been linked to improved sensitivity to insulin and glucose metabolism. It is can help to reduce inflammatory response in conditions such as osteoarthritis and possibly exercise-induced asthma. Researchers are still investigating if it reduces muscular inflammatory response after a hard workout. Studies are also in progress to see if they help with mood disorders or depression such as the blues associated with overtraining. Some studies are even investigating if omage-3 can increase blood flow and VO2 max.
Ironman took an in depth look at the impact Chia Seeds can have on your performance and found that in addition to reducing inflammation and joint pain, Chia Seeds are useful for sustained energy and hydration in endurance athletes:
Chia Seeds are extremely absorbent, swelling up to more than ten times their original size when soaked in water and forming a gel-like substance. Because of this gel-forming action, chia slows the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar, meaning your body will be fueled for longer periods of time. The absorbent quality of chia seeds also results in better regulation of body fluid levels and electrolyte retention — perfect for hard-working triathletes.
Does this qualify Flax and Chia seeds as an athlete superfood? Yes! and Yes!
I’m a BIG believer in an anti-inflammtory diet for athletic performance and recovery, but I’m an even BIGGER believer in starting just about every day with a peanut butter and banana roll up and Trader Joe’s Crunchy Salted Peanut Butter with Flax & Chia seeds gets my thumbs up for both taste and impact. What foods do you recommend for quick and convenient energy support?