Chia, the tiny seed of the Salvia Hispanica plant which is a member of the mint family, originated in Central Mexico. The ancient Aztecs prized the chia seed as a complete high endurance food and there are numerous stories of Aztec armies surviving on nothing but chia seeds and water during many of their military campaigns. Chia seeds are probably best known to North Americans from the “Chia pets” trend of the 1980s and 90s. But more recently these tiny oily seeds are becoming popular thanks to the numerous health benefits being attributed to this “super food”. And for good reason: they are one of nature’s most nutrient rich whole food. I have been eating chia seeds almost daily over the last few years.
Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium and with a high ORAC antioxidant content. One of the most noticeable benefits of Chia products is that thanks to the high amount of fiber, it can help you become more regular! My favourite way to consume chia seeds is to take one serving of the whole seeds with my breakfast combination of oats, protein and coconut oil. One 15 gram serving of these tiny seeds mixed with half a cup of Bob’s Red Mill quick cook steel cut oats, some coconut oil a half a scoop of CNP Propeptide makes for an excellent breakfast.
There are many ways to consume this “super food“. Chia seeds can be used in breakfast cereals, in shakes, for baking, ground up or whole and on their own (soak them in three times their volume of water for 20-30 minutes and then drink up the gel like mixture as the ancient Aztec warriors did!). I wouldn’t get too caught up in the “white vs black” chia debate. Go with the commonly available chia products, which will be a mix of more black than white seeds.
Serving Size 1 Tbsp
Servings Per Container
Amount Per Serving
Calories 60Calories from Fat 40.5
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4.5g7%
Saturated Fat 0.5g3%
Trans Fat 0g
Total Carbohydrate 5g2%
Dietary Fiber 5g20%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Chia is a great super food that is highly recommended by many experts for enhancing overall health. Here’s a short YouTube video with some more information on them.
Creatine occurs naturally in skeletal muscles and helps supply energy to muscle and nerve cells. Without creatine, we would not be able to perform muscle contractions required to generate effective power. Early in the twentieth century, scientists discovered that consuming supplemental forms of creatine increased the creatine stores in muscles, thereby providing a crucial energy source for explosive muscular movements – like those involved in weight training and sports. It is now widely agreed up that creatine is one the better nutritional supplements, that increases muscle energy which in turn helps increase strength and muscle mass.
Though the market is full of fancy creatines, many of which include other helpful ergogenics, pure creatine monohydrate remains one of the cheapest, most effective and most researched forms of creatine. Creatine monohydrate is simply creatine with an attached molecule of water. Creatine prices have come down a lot over the last few years and I therefore recommend using a creatine monohydrate manufactured by Creapure.
Creapure is a German company that produces one of the purest creatines available. I know of four creatine brands that use Creapure creatine monohydrate:
Regardless of what it says on the label, creatine loading is not required. Studies show that the body’s creatine stores are usually saturated within 30 days using a dose of 1 gram of creatine per 40 pounds of bodyweight. Creatine can be taken first thing in the morning on non-workout days and either pre-workout or post-workout on days that you are exercising. Supplementing with creatine monohydrate while ensuring a sound diet and exercise regimen should result in increased muscle mass, strength gains, harder muscles and in many cases, reduced body fat. Some recent studies have also shown that creatine may have positive effects on the brain and could be useful in treating/preventing neurological and neuromuscular diseases.
Creatine monohydrate research
Long-term creatine supplementation does not significantly affect clinical markers of health in athletes.
Exercise and Sport Nutrition Laboratory, Department of Human Movement Sciences and Education, The University of Memphis, Memphis, TN, USA. Richard_Kreider @ baylor.edu
Creatine has been reported to be an effective ergogenic aid for athletes. However, concerns have been raised regarding the long-term safety of creatine supplementation. This study examined the effects of long-term creatine supplementation on a 69-item panel of serum, whole blood, and urinary markers of clinical health status in athletes. Over a 21-month period, 98 Division IA college football players were administered in an open label manner creatine or non-creatine containing supplements following training sessions.
Subjects who ingested creatine were administered 15.75 g/day of creatine monohydrate for 5 days and an average of 5 g/day thereafter in 5-10 g/day doses. Fasting blood and 24-h urine samples were collected at 0, 1, 1.5, 4, 6, 10, 12, 17, and 21 months of training. A comprehensive quantitative clinical chemistry panel was determined on serum and whole blood samples (metabolic markers, muscle and liver enzymes, electrolytes, lipid profiles, hematological markers, and lymphocytes). In addition, urine samples were quantitatively and qualitative analyzed to assess clinical status and renal function.
At the end of the study, subjects were categorized into groups that did not take creatine (n = 44) and subjects who took creatine for 0-6 months (mean 4.4 +/- 1.8 months, n = 12), 7-12 months (mean 9.3 +/- 2.0 months, n = 25), and 12-21 months (mean 19.3 +/- 2.4 months, n = 17). Baseline and the subjects’ final blood and urine samples were analyzed by MANOVA and 2 x 2 repeated measures ANOVA univariate tests. MANOVA revealed no significant differences (p = 0.51) among groups in the 54-item panel of quantitative blood and urine markers assessed. Univariate analysis revealed no clinically significant interactions among groups in markers of clinical status. In addition, no apparent differences were observed among groups in the 15-item panel of qualitative urine markers.
Results indicate that long-term creatine supplementation (up to 21-months) does not appear to adversely effect markers of health status in athletes undergoing intense training in comparison to athletes who do not take creatine.
Thoughtful musings on exercise, health and nutrition