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I'm reading "Born to Run" and learned that the Tarahumara peoples of Mexico eat Chia seeds to give them energy. In the book they mix the seeds with water, some lime juice and a bit of sugar... to make Iskiate.

What would be the purpose of this particular preparation? Is it simply for taste, or does the addition of these ingredients (water, lime juice, and sugar) have some impact on either the short-term physical or long-term health effects?

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@milesmeow - there isn't really an objective cooking question here, so it is likely to get closed (take a look at the FAQ for some guidance: cooking.stackexchange.com/faq ). Perhaps you can rephrase this in a way we can help you with - it certainly sounds like an interesting item. –  Michael at Herbivoracious Sep 4 '10 at 2:39
    
@Michael - will do. Hope the rewording helps to keep it open –  milesmeow Sep 4 '10 at 3:06
    
Even asking "What is the purpose of adding lime juice and sugar to chia seeds in the Iskiate runners' drink?" could be an option. –  JustRightMenus Sep 4 '10 at 3:13
    
The FAQ, Michael references above also points out that "General health & diet issues" are off topic. This question still isn't about cooking, but health. It's also subjective: "what effects did it have on you?". –  hobodave Sep 4 '10 at 3:15
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I've edited this into what I think would be an appropriately on-topic question for this site. I hope that it is still within the confines of what you really wanted to know. (In any event, we do appreciate your willingness to try to rework the question; it's an interesting, more esoteric topic and I'd prefer for it not to be closed.) –  Aaronut Sep 4 '10 at 3:51

2 Answers 2

I personally have not read the book, though I know someone who did and remember hearing of the drink. Strike 2, I am also not a nutritionist. Here's my best guess by looking at each piece:

Certainly the ingredients do bring taste to the combination, but I don't think it is just that.

Mixing the chia seeds into a drink may make it more agreeable for people. Easier to stomach, so to say. The chia seeds will absorb the liquid. With this, you will feel fuller. It will also make the drink thicker.

Lime juice is high in vitamin C. This can help with muscle soreness. Lemon can be used instead of lime - also high in vitamin C.

I've heard the sugar is optional, though it will sweeten the drink and add calories.

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If you add water to chia seeds they swell up and exude a thick runny gel. This is far safer for you than eating them raw and having them swell up somewhere inside you eg your duodenum and burst it, or give you constipation if you do not have enough water in your stomach to do it. The lime juice may help with this process or make it taste nicer as the gel is quite bland and tasteless.

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