The Hydrating Power of Magical Chia Seeds
Water, water water. Drink so much water that your trips to the bathroom meet your daily required steps for the day. I don't like drinking water; it's time consuming and a full time job. You have to carry a water bottle with you everywhere you go and you have to make sure there is a bathroom available at your destination. But we all know how good water is for you. Authors Dana Cohen and Gina Bria explain it perfectly in their ground breaking book QUENCH."Hydration is an essential human need, yet we foolishly continue to underestimate its importance. Your level of hydration impacts the strength of your immune system, the elasticity of your skin, your energy level, how easily you can move, and your body's overall resistance to aging and disease."
But what if it's not about drinking as much as possible but maximizing hydration? According to Cohen and Bria there are more, better, ways to stay hydrated besides water. For example chia seeds. In Chris Mcdougall's best selling book Born to Run we are introduced to the Tarahumara tribe in the desert canyons of Sierra Madres. The men from the village run fifty mile marathons (often in bare feet!) for fun. They stay hydrated with chia seeds. Before the run, they mix fermented corn beer and chia seeds. They also take an additional two tablespoons of chia seeds in a small pouch. Not a drop of water on their run! The chia seeds provide them with a slow release hydration as they run. Cohen and Bria also note that "When mixed with liquid, they release a form of gelled water that hydrates more slowly and effectively over time than liquid alone."
I've started to incorporate more chia seeds into my diet . I noticed that I get headaches less frequently (I am genetically prone to migraines). I mix 2 tablespoons of ground chia seeds and one tablespoon of unsweetened cranberry juice for flavor in 14 to 16 ounces of water. I especially use this routine when I've had a few drinks. Hangover be gone! I love Bob's Mill's whole chia seeds. I also grind them myself for more bioavailability. Cohen and Bria write "Grinding releases more gel by exposing more surface area, and the powder doesn't irritate the digestive tract." Here's the grinder I use from Amazon.
After reading the book I also started to drink a glass of warm water in the morning with fresh lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt. According to Cohen and Bria adding salts such as sea salt, celtic salt, rock salt, and himalayan salt to your water instead of your food "is a simple way to make sure you have the ideal electrolyte exchange to keep your water balanced inside you." They further explain "salt contains more than sodium. They also carry trace minerals like iodine, iron, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Some of them, including potassium and calcium are electrolytes that keep your electrical balance in check and your cells functioning healthfully as you add water to your system."
So how much should you drink daily? Again, water doesn't have to be your only source of hydration. You can also hydrate with fruit, smoothies, and coconut water.
In the morning have 8 to 16 ounces of warm or tepid water with juice from a lemon wedge. Cohen and Bria also suggest adding some crushed fresh or dried mint leaves. They explain "These additions release essential oils and substances that help your body absorb water.
Also, sip a healthy smoothie with coconut water, cucumber, ground chia seeds, honey, lime juice, sea salt, minced fresh ginger.
Some other tips for maximum hydration; eat foods that hydrate vs. dehydrate such as berries, green leafy vegetables, teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, soups, nuts and legumes, and wild caught fish. As always choose organic whenever possible.
I'll drink (water with chia seeds) to that!