Every food in this life has its benefits as well as its side effects; even those extremely beneficial ones might turn out to be harmful if you tend to eat large amounts of them. Chia seeds are famous for the different benefits that they carry, but there are also some disadvantages for them when they are eaten in a wrong way. Constipation is one of these side effects that we are referring to, but as much as it might be one that no one out there will want to ever come across, there are still some tips to be followed while eating chia seeds in order not to deal with constipation. This article will tell you more about chia seeds for constipation.
Can Chia Seeds Cause Constipation?
At the beginning, we should first introduce you to chia seeds and tell you more about what are they, where they could be found, and how they are usually eaten. Chia seed is a species of the flowering plant in the mint family, known as Lamiaceae, and it is also referred to as Salvia Hispanica. Nowadays, chia seeds are found in grocery stores and supermarkets almost in all the countries out there, but they were originated in central and southern Mexico and Bolivia.
The Aztecs were the ones who used chia seeds for several reasons; they consumed it in their food as well as their drinks, even the Tarahumara tribe was famous for its runners who used to drink chia Iskiate and run for long distances, faster and without getting tired easily. Chia seeds are now cultivated in Paraguay, Guatemala, Argentina, as well as Mexico and Bolivia.
One of the side effects that are related to chia seeds and which should be mentioned is causing constipation, chia seeds could cause constipation. According to the Heal with Food, the gastrointestinal issues that might be caused through eating chia seeds include constipation, hard stool, diarrhea, bloating, and excessive intestinal gas, but it was also found that there are different ways through which chia seeds could be eaten without causing constipation or any of these problems.
How to Eat Chia Seeds and Avoid Constipation?
In order to avoid getting constipated from eating chia seeds, there are different ways to eat chia seeds and prevent yourself from all the mess that might be caused. There have been different contradicting opinions about eating chia seeds; some people consider it relieving while others consider it the main cause behind constipation. It doesn’t matter in which category you fall and what kind of thoughts you have about these seeds, it is important to follow these ways of eating chia seeds in order to prevent any problems from appearing.
- Start Dealing with Chia Seeds Slowly
At some point, chia seeds will be all new to your body and your stomach, and to make sure that your body is accepting it and that your stomach is not dealing with any problems, you should start eating those seeds slowly; not in the process of eating itself, but with the amount used. Chia seeds should be eaten while soaked in water because they expand there and if you intended to eat them raw, they might expand in your stomach and cause some problems. The soaked chia seeds have this kind of mucilaginous texture that your stomach might find different from all the other kinds of food, so start with small ingredients and then increase the quantity over time whenever you feel that your stomach started to get used to this kind of food.
- Decrease the Daily Dose that You Take
Whether you are new to chia seeds or have been eating it for some time but you are facing some gastrointestinal problems, it means that you should reduce the daily dosage that you are giving permission to yourself to take. A lot of professionals and nutritionists will tell you that you could consume two tablespoons of chia seeds on a daily basis, and this amount might even go up to six tablespoons, which might be too much for one person and might be the main reason behind any of the gastrointestinal problems that he/she is facing.
If you are dealing with constipation after eating chia seeds or even dealing with any other problems, make sure to reduce the daily dose to at least one or two tablespoons only. Only then you will feel better.
- Increase Your Intake of Water When Eating Chia Seeds
If you left chia seeds in water for some time, they will easily swell and increase in their size, and this goes back to the ability they have in soaking up the moisture like a sponge, which means that you will find yourself a lot dehydrated whenever you eat chia seeds in their raw form. Whenever you have your chia seeds meal, it is important to drink as much water as you can in order to compensate for the moisture. Water comes from different things not only from the regular cup of water; for example, you could get as much water as you can from fruit juices or herbal teas, but make sure to stay away from the drinks that have caffeine in them because they have dehydrating properties.
- Make Sure to Soak the Chia Seeds in Water
As we have mentioned above, chia seeds might cause gastrointestinal problems such as constipation when they are eaten raw because they will soak up the moisture while they are inside, and that is why you will need to drink a lot of water to make up for the loss. In order to avoid constipation caused by chia seeds, it is better to avoid eating them raw and soak them in water beforehand, this will give the seeds the chance to soak up all the water and avoid sucking up much fluid from the digestive tract. For every one cup of chia seeds, it is recommended that you add four cups of water and leave the seeds soaked in them for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Resolving the Problem of Constipation
If you have eaten chia seeds and already done some problems while preparing it that led to the feeling of constipation, there are different things to do in order to resolve these problems before following the tips mentioned above when you eat chia seeds the next time.
- Drink a Lot of Water or Herbal Infusions
Water is one of the helpful things that could make you able to deal with this problem and even forget all about the constipation feeling; another possible option is going for the herbal infusions. Make sure to drink 2 liters of water every day, but make sure to be 30 minutes away from food, because eating and drinking at the same time will give you a bloating feeling.
Part of providing your body with water include drinking herbal tea, such as peppermint or chamomile, but if you are not so much into these things, you could add lemon to hot water, ginger, or cinnamon sticks, and drink it as well.
- Never Ignore the Call of Nature
A lot of people deal with constipation because they prefer to do things other than visiting the toilet and answer the call of nature, and this might be causing the chronic constipation that they are dealing with. If you are dealing with constipation due to eating chia seeds and you are unable to visit the toilet when you know you should, make sure to spend 5 to 10 minutes in the bathroom, sitting on the toilet, and raising your legs on something so that that your knees become higher that your hips; this squat position will waken up your digestive system. You could also sip on some water with lemon while in this position to relax your digestive system and be able to resolve the problem of constipation.
- Eat Chia Seeds with Milk
Adding chia seeds to milk, will give them the chance to soak it all up and turn into this substance that is much similar to the pudding, you could add fruits or nuts to it and eat it first thing in the morning; this will also help you get over the feeling of constipation. It is important to listen to your stomach all the time, if you have tried this technique and found out that your stomach is still complaining, it means that you should stop eating chia seeds all the way and should go for other food options.
- Eat Fresh Vegetables and Salad
When you were a small tiny creature, your mother used to provide you with fruits and vegetables because they were considered the healthiest out there for your body, and now you are supposed to give your body these fruits and vegetables in order to overcome your problem of constipation. Your lunch meal should be made of 70% of vegetables, because all these “green” ingredients carry different nutrients that are healthy for the body and needed by it for all the different benefits that it receives. Eating greens is also helpful when it comes to constipation.
Best Ways to Eat Chia Seeds
In order to avoid all the problems that might be caused by chia seeds, you should first know whether the problem comes from the amount, the way you are eating it, or else is coming from your own stomach and body. People never respond to food in the same way, and that is why chia seeds might turn out to be healthy and cause no problems to one person, but turn out to be harmful and cause several other problems to another; so always know which kind of person you are before dealing with the problem.
The best way to eat chia seeds is when you soak them in water or milk and add some fruits and vegetables to them as well; in order words, when you make chia pudding and this goes back to the different benefits that the milk, fruits, and nuts could deliver to the body when added to chia seeds as well as reduce the problem of constipation and prevent its appearance.
Chia seeds are healthy but only when you know how much you are allowed to eat per day, when you know how you are supposed to create a dish or a drink that is made from chia seeds, and finally when you know how your body will accept it and deal with it. Chia seeds could cause constipation, but they could also be eaten in specific ways that will prevent the feeling of being constipated.