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Know your superfoods​: Chia seeds

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Chia seeds have long been used to promote endurance training, and were even referred to as "the running seed" by the Mayans and Aztecs.

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In addition to taking bikini and figure competition supplements, any aspiring entrant has to know the best foods to fuel their workout regimen. One superfood that has taken the fitness world by storm is the chia seed. In November, The New York Times noted that 30 years after the seed was first sold as part of a novelty item - Chia Pets - it is enjoying new popularity because of its ample health benefits.

Chia seeds have long been used to promote endurance training, and were even referred to as "the running seed" by the Mayans and Aztecs in Central America, according to workout website Fitbie. These tiny seeds contain a surprising amount of protein, fiber and carbs, plus their antioxidant and omega-3 stores help boost your immune system and prevent cell damage.

Because chia seeds have carbs and protein, they have immense pre- and post-workout benefits. The carbs, notes celebrity nutritionist Kimberley Snyder, can help fuel your body, while the protein aids in muscle repair.

But how, exactly, should you incorporate chia seeds into your competition diet? Any way you want, says Shape magazine. Since chia seeds are essentially tasteless, they can be used in a wide range of recipes, adding much-needed nutrients and an additional texture.

Looking for a light snack to grab on the go? Shape suggests making Cinnamon Chia Seed Granola with the following ingredients:

  • Canola oil
  • Chia seeds
  • Cinnamon
  • Honey
  • Nutmeg
  • Old-fashioned oats

If this snack food isn't your thing, chia seeds can also be used in salads, pancakes and even chocolate pudding.

So, if you still want to look great in your posing suit, but are getting tired of the same old dietary routine, why not start experimenting with this nutrient-packed and versatile seed?

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