When we say chia seeds, the first thoughts that would appear in our minds are those healthy seeds which could help so much with different health conditions and could at the same time manage to help those who are trying to lose some weight. In addition to all these important thoughts about chia seeds, it is important to know that there are also some side effects which you are supposed to watch out for them, and we will keep stressing on those side effects because the benefits will improve your life, but the side effects might make it all worse, so preventing the worse from happening is always better than making the good things better.
What are the Side Effects of Chia Seeds?
There are important and interesting things to know about the side effects and even the benefits of chia seeds, but you should first get closer to those seeds and know more about their origins as well as their family. Chia seeds are also known as Salvia Hispanica, which is a species of flowering plant in the mint family that is called Lamiaceae, native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala.
Chia seed is believed to be one of the famous seeds that were used out there by the Aztecs, the ones who used to cultivate it the most in the pre-Columbian times. There are two different forms that chia seeds could be used in; the ground and the whole, and they are both still used in different countries around the world but mostly related to Paraguay, Bolivia, Argentina Mexico, and Guatemala, which are all using it in their different food and drink recipes.
Before going deep into the different negative side effects of chia seeds, we should say that it still carries different benefits for human beings and even for some animals. Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants, fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, as well as other important nutrients, and it helps with weight loss, cancer, type-2 diabetes, as well as other important health conditions.
These different benefits might be the main reason behind calling it the “running food” since the Tarahumara people who are located in the northwestern of Mexico used to run long distances, and they had these running abilities because they used to depend on chia Iskiate, which is now referred to as chia Fresca drink, in order to run for those long miles. Chia Fresca is a combination of chia seeds, water, and lemon.
From the different side effects of eating chia seeds which you might be faced with, you will realize that:
- You Might Deal with Some Gastrointestinal Issues
The gastrointestinal problems that people might suffer from after eating chia seeds are considered one of the most common side effects of chia that can appear out there. These gastrointestinal problems vary between different types and forms; there are those people who deal with diarrhea, those who face bloating and excessive intestinal gas, as well as those who might suffer from constipations and hard stools. Although we could not always guarantee that those who eat chia seeds will come out healthy without dealing with any of these problems, we could say that there are several ways to cook these seeds as a form of preventing these symptoms.
First of all, it is important to add chia seeds slowly to your diet plan because this gel substance might take some time by your body to adjust and accept it, and after that you could start increasing the amount gradually. It is also important not to eat more than two tablespoons of chia seeds daily in order not to make it hard for your stomach. When you eat chia seeds, increase your intake of water throughout the day because these seeds tend to soak up the moisture in your body and you will need to compensate for that moisture. And finally, always remember to soak the seeds before eating them in order to give them the chance to absorb all the possible fluids they can before entering your digestive system.
- It Might Lower the Blood Pressure and Cause Bleeding
Another side effect to pay attention to that is related to chia seeds, is the fact that it might lower the blood pressure and might also cause bleeding. The relation between lowering blood pressure and chia seeds appear with those people who might already be dealing with such health condition, but in addition to that, chia seeds are rich with omega-3 fatty acids and these acids might cause the blood to thin out if the person is already taking prescribed blood thinners. It is always important to check back with your doctor if any of these blood thinners are among the medications that you are taking in order to make sure that consuming chia seeds will not be affecting your health.
- You Might Deal with Some Allergies
There are some people who might turn out to be allergic to chia seeds and thus eating them might cause some problems. These allergies are not common, but from the symptoms which you might deal with; the appearance of rashes, hives, as well as having watery eyes. There are also some food allergies like trouble in breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, and swelling of the tongue.
- Chia Might Have Potential Effects on Pregnant Women
There is actually a debate about the effects that chia seeds carry for pregnant women; there are those who say that it is healthy for them but when consumed with little amounts, and there are those who say that it should be totally avoided, but in order to keep those pregnant women or even those who are breastfeeding in the safe side, doctors always advise them to stay away and avoid eating chia seeds at all since it might have some effects on their fetuses.
- It Might Increase the Blood Sugar Effects
It is surprising how such a great and healthy food out there could actually carry all these different risks at the same time. Among the other chia side effects which you should also pay attention to is the way it might increase the blood sugar level, which means that those who have a history with diabetes should check with their doctors because chia seeds were believed to increase the activity of the drugs that are designed to control blood sugar.
How to Use Chia Seeds?
Knowing more about chia seeds side effects should make you more interested about knowing the right rules for using it in order to avoid these risks. Being able to prevent yourself from these different negative effects is one of the things that makes chia seeds different and make it one of the preferred seeds out there that people tend to buy and use all the time.
There are three different ways through which you could use chia seeds, such as:
- Soaking them in Water
The first important step and one that we have already mentioned above is soaking the chia seeds in water which is considered an important thing because chia acts like a sponge that absorbs all the liquids that it is added to. Chia seeds are hydrophilic and they could absorb water in your stomach which might in turn cause some problems, and if you forgot to soak them, then make sure to drink a lot of water after eating them in order to avoid any problems. It was once reported that at least one person has got chia seeds lodged in his throat after attempting to use them dry, so it is never recommended to use them dry and not soaked in water.
- Grinding them into Chia Flour
One of the famous ways that people tend to use chia seeds in is by grinding them until they form that powdered like substance that is referred to as chia flour and which could be used in different baking recipes. Using this fine powder flour is considered best when you are trying to use it as a thickener or when you want to get all its benefits without changing the texture of the food that you are adding this flour to. It is also believed that chia seeds are considered easier to be absorbed when they are turned to that flour and not when they are eaten in their whole forms.
- Eating them Whole
Soaking chia seeds in water is required when they will be consumed on their own without any other additions or without being adding as extra ingredients to some dishes, but when you are adding those seeds directly on foods or recipes that you have prepared, you could use them as they are without soaking or without grinding. There are actually a variety of things to add chia seeds to, such as smoothies, soups, drinks, and even meat dishes.
There are different ways to use chia seeds in, such as using it as an egg substitute, using it for preparing and making delicious puddings, using it as an ingredient for thickening the soups that you are preparing, you could also use it to make grain free crackers, or to make homemade energy gel, you could use it to thicken meatballs instead of breadcrumbs, you could sprout it over salads, and in different other ways that we might have not mentioned yet.
Chia seeds negative side effects are there and we could not deny their existence, but these side effects could be also avoided either by not eating those seeds anymore if it is related to serious health conditions, or else by soaking them and following the instructions we have provided for those who deal with some digestion related problems.