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Chia Seeds for Runners (and 10 Chia Seed Recipes)

There are several benefits of chia seeds for runners. Let’s break them down and include some easy recipes for chia seeds and running!

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I often recommend chia seeds to my athletes for several reasons.

They are little nutrition superstars, and easy to add to just about everything, from strawberry baked oatmeal, to coffee protein smoothies, to yogurt to salads.

This is also another reason why chia seeds for kids are a staple! For just about anyone, actually.

Let’s talk runners specifically. Chia seeds have several benefits for runners.

Actually, they make the list for the best pantry staples for runners to load up on.

However, chia seeds are lacking in carbohydrates (the main fuel for runners) so runners need to be cognizant that they’re eating plenty of carb-rich foods alongside chia seeds for optimal nutrition.

runner drinking pink smoothie after a run

I usually buy them in bulk on Amazon or from Thrive Market, and they last us a while!

We always make sure to stock up for road trip snacks, games and matches and more.

Thrive Market has the best healthy and fun snacks (many that include chia seeds) that work as pre- or post-run snacks, or just for general healthy living.

thrive market

Chia seeds come from the chia plant (Salvia hispanica), and were actually a staple food for the Aztecs and Mayans.

No matter what type of diet you follow, chia seeds will likely fit in them.

While we don’t recommend diets at all (see here about why fad diets don’t work), you may choose to follow a low carb diet for running, paleo, keto, gluten-free, dairy-free, etc.

Luckily, chia seeds fit the bill for all of them, thanks to their abundance of health properties.

mason jar with cranberry strawberry chia jam and fresh cranberries alongside

Benefits of Chia Seeds for Runners

Chia seeds don’t really have a taste, but they do impart a texture in what you add them to.

They are very hydrating and absorb liquid, and usually thicken things up or cause them to “gel.”

You can find black or white varieties of chia seeds, though nutritionally speaking, they are both pretty equivalent.

Here are some of the benefits of chia seed for runners, and why I’m such a fan.

  • Micronutrients – Chia seeds are high in several micronutrients important for running, such as iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc.
  • Hydration – Chia seeds absorb water, so they can be great for hydration. This is why they are a great addition in a breakfast for runners.
  • Healthy fats – Nearly 60% of the fat in chia seeds comes from omega 3 fatty acids, which can help with reducing inflammation, improving cholesterol and cardiovascular health and more.
  • Protein – Chia seeds have just about 5 grams of protein per ounce, making them a great complete protein and way to get protein as a vegetarian! More about the importance of protein for runners here.
  • High in fiber – Digestion may be challenging for some runners, so knowing that chia seeds pack a punch of fiber can be beneficial! There are nearly 10 grams of fiber in one ounce (which is nearly 33% of the daily recommended amount).
  • Fit all dietsVegetarian runners or those who follow a vegan runner diet may have trouble getting certain nutrients that are high in chia seeds, such as protein, iron, calcium and zinc. They provide a great way to do this that fit every dietary lifestyle.
  • Since they are vegan, chia seeds are often used as an egg replacement in recipes since they help absorb liquid and create that “gel.”

    If you are on blood thinner medications, talk with your doctor before incorporating chia seeds into your diet since omega-3 fatty acids can impact medications.

    In fact, chia seeds are so great for runners that brands have started adding them into sports nutrition products. Huma gels, for example, have chia seeds in them, to help with hydration, texture and taste.

    huma gel nutrition label

    Chia Seed Recipes for Running

    In terms of hydration and water balance, chia seeds are hydrating since they absorb water.

    You can even incorporate them into homemade electrolyte drinks, greek yogurt smoothies, and more.

    Chia seeds are not high in dietary sodium, though, which is an electrolyte for runners that most should be including in their diets.

    However, many of these recipes may include sodium, or be paired with sodium-rich foods, to help ensure optimal hydration.

    Chia Seed Recipes for Runners

    These easy chia seed recipes for runners are nutrient-dense, easy to make ahead of time, and full of nutritious benefits for running. Use these chia seed recipes for breakfast, pre- or post- run.

    How to Store Chia Seeds

    Since chia seeds have unsaturated fats, you should store them in the refrigerator to prevent them from going rancid.

    At the very least, store them in a cool, dry place, where they cannot be exposed to sunlight.

    chia seeds for runners

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