Chia seeds are obtained from a plant called Salvia hispanica. As small as they are, chia seeds are loaded with beneficial nutrients and can be added into any food. However, too much of them may cause some problems.
You definitely know of a person who is completely in love with chia seeds. Like, there is no meal they can take without adding chia seeds. It is likely that, that person is you. You are not wrong, and there is nothing bad with that. Besides getting along with various foods, chia seeds also provide impressive health benefits and can be used by vegans to substitute eggs in baking. However, before you include these seeds in your foods, there are some of their side effects you may need to consider. Keep reading.
Chia Seeds Have Several Health Benefits
It is like chia seeds lead the way of most nutritious foods, and others follow. People like eating chia seeds because they have a great nutritional profile. Talk about fiber, healthy fats, high-quality protein, and macronutrients – all are found in these small seeds. Evidence indicates that just 28 g of chia seeds offers up to 42 percent of the recommended daily intake of fiber, alongside omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium.
Chia seeds also contain high levels of antioxidants – stable compounds which protect your tissues from damages caused by oxidative stress. This reduces the risk of many diseases, including cancer and heart disease. Due to their high nutritional value, chia seeds provide many health benefits. For example, chia seeds can help promote weight loss, reduce blood triglycerides level, and reduce inflammation. Additionally, chia seeds are an excellent source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. Studies suggest that omega-3 fats can reduce “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, increase “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, reduce triglycerides in blood, and relieve inflammation. All these benefits can be experienced when chia seeds are consumed in moderation.
Too Much of Chia Seeds Can Cause Digestive Problems
It goes without saying that chia seeds are good at providing fiber, with 28 g of chia providing 11 g of fiber. Your digestive health is improved by a constant supply of fiber because the good gut bacteria feed on them. Besides, fiber also increases bowel regularity eliminating wastes that would have rather caused intestinal problems. However, some people may have digestive issues with too much fiber. They may present with diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, gas, and bloating. This problem is even made worse when too much fiber is taken without sufficient hydration. Water helps fiber pass with ease through the digestive tract.
Noteworthy, a high intake of fiber can cause more problems in people with inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. They must therefore monitor their intake of fiber and cut back on chia seeds as this may worsen the symptoms. Evidence suggests that a higher intake of fiber can effectively prevent inflammatory bowel disease. Therefore, people experiencing aggravated symptoms of this condition should only cut back on fiber intake only for a short period.
Chia Seeds May Increase Your Risk of Choking
Chia seeds are very small, delicious, and eating them is all fun. In the event of eating them, you may easily get choked. It would be best if you ate them carefully. What makes chia seeds choke is because they absorb water or any liquid they have been dipped in and swell up. They can absorb up to 12 times of their weight! While this gelatinous property is important in baking, it may increase your risk of getting choked with these seeds as they can lodge on your throat.
May Increase the Risk of Prostate Cancer
Chia seeds contain decent amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in particular. Omega-3s improve cognitive function and support heart health, among other important functions in the body. Those who don’t eat fish can find ALA important because it can be converted to docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which can only be found in seafood. All the same, studies associate ALA with an increased risk of prostate cancer.
Increased Bleeding and Low Blood Pressure
Omega-3s can also help lower the likelihood of developing certain types of cancer. That said, excess omega-3s can thin down your blood. This can be made worse if you take too much chia seeds or ALA alongside blood-thinning drugs or have low blood pressure.
Can Cause Allergies In Some People
Chia seeds are very safe for consumption. Some people, though, may react with them, something which is very rare. If you experience itching of the lips, diarrhea, itching of the tongue, and vomiting for the first time with chia seeds, you may be allergic to them, and you must discontinue taking them forthright.
Too Much Chia Seeds May Interact With Some Drugs
Evidence suggests that chia seeds may interact with some medications, and you may need to lower or stop eating them when you are under these medications. Documented drugs that chia seeds can react with include diabetic drugs and antihypertensive drugs.
Some published studies indicate that chia seeds may effectively help reduce blood sugar levels. This is partly true due to the high fiber content in chia seeds which reduces blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of sugar. It can thus be used in moderation by people living with diabetes to help control blood sugars. However, too much chia seeds alongside diabetic medications like insulin may cause the blood sugars to drastically decrease.
Besides lowering blood sugar levels, chia seeds can also result in a significant reduction in blood pressure. Published studies indicate that chia seeds can reduce blood pressure, inflammation and reduce the risk of heart disease. High omega-3 fatty acids content in chia seeds may lower blood pressure and thin blood. That said, chia seeds may increase the effects of antihypertensive medications, which may lead to hypotension.
Chia seeds are versatile and nutritious seeds that can benefit your health in various ways. They may help reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, and help control blood sugars. However, chia seeds may lead to hypotension, bleeding and increase your risk of prostate cancer if taken in excess.