Cha Cha Cha Chia Pet ! We all know the benefits of Chia. It makes a great last minute gift for your buddy who has it all and it has a great jingle but did you know that Chia was the Aztec Warrior's superfood and can help your pets too ?
In TCVM terms, Chia tonifies the kidney qi. It is cool and damp so it also tonifies the lung and large intestine Yin.
The properties of Chia that made it the ancient cross fitter's superfood to give them endurance and stamina are what makes it my number one choice for a supplement for pets and horses.
1. Chia is a complete protein : A complete protein contains all 9 of the essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are amino acids must be ingested because the body can not make them itself. Meat, fish, dairy and eggs are great sources of complete proteins but in our modern world, pet food has a very limited amount of meat (unless you home cook, wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more). Horses are vegetarians so must have a high quality protein source to get their essential amino acids. Vegetarian sources are soybeans, hemp,quinoa, seaweed and spirulina. Chia is around 20% protein so helps to build lean muscle mass and stimulate the metabolism.
2. Chia is a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids : in the Aztec language, Chia means oily. Chia oil is 63% omega 3 and has the proper 3:1 ratio of omega 3:omega 6 fatty acids. Chia's omega 3 oil is in the form of Alpha linolenic acid (ALA made famous by Dr. Oz on Oprah). ALA is an essential fatty acid so it can not be made in the body and must be consumed. Fats give you endurance and stamina. Supports the immune and nervous system ( bone marrow and brains are made of fat ). Hormones are also derived from fats, so a healthy amount of fat in the diet can help the body regulate it's hormone balance to increase fertility, soothe endocrine dysfunction and irregular cycling. Omega 3s are also a natural anti inflammatory so can reduce the pain of arthritis, nerve pain and decrease the severity of allergies. 1 tablespoon of chia has 2g of ALA, which is the recommended daily amount for a 150 lbs person.
3. Chia is high in fiber : Chia seeds can absorb 12 times their weight in water and quickly turns into a gel. Our 3 biggest digestive problems with horses, ulcers, colic and metabolic disease can all be helped with Chia. The gel can soothe stomach ulcers and protect the stomach lining. The gel hydrates the intestines so can help reduce the incidence of sand and impaction colics. The gel slows the breakdown of carbs into sugar so reduces sugar spikes and regulates insulin levels. Chia gel also keeps the body hydrated and keeps electrolytes in the body longer.
4. Chia is high in Magnesium, Calcium, Vitamin B and antioxidants : Helping the body regulate its own vitamin mineral balance along with an even carbohydrate absorption will greatly enhance mood leading to better performance in the show ring or be better able to deal with separation anxiety. Commercial supplements that claim to calm animals by overdosing them with minerals just puts the body more out of balance robbing Peter to pay Paul. Giving animals a balanced whole food supplements allows them to have access to the building blocks they need be healthy and happy.
5. Chia oil has a long shelf life, even in Florida. Chia's high levels of antioxidants keep it stable from -20 to 110 degrees for up to 5 years and unlike flax seed, Chia does not need to be ground for the body to absorb the oils. This makes it very practical to keep in the barn and to buy in bulk.
6. Chia is now grown in America : A strain of Chia has been developed in KY that thrives in US climates so now we can support US farmers and purchase Chia from a reliable, non-GMO source.
Click here to go to US Chia
No wonder Chia was the Aztec Warrior's super food, high protein, high fat to give them energy. High fiber to keep them hydrated and give them endurance. High in minerals and vitamins to keep the body in balance. Easy to store and carry while pilaging neighboring tribes and it grew in abundance locally. Thanks to the smart folks at US chia for giving our animals a local, healthy source of Chia.
Want to hear more about Chia from Zack Pennington, CEO at US Chia ? Listen to our interview on the TCVM segment of the driving radio show on the horse radio network.