Chia seeds, you probably hear about these seeds everywhere.
Used by ancient Aztecs these seeds has multiple health benefits.
It can help you with diabetes, weight loss, it is rich in fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids.
But what happens when you consume too much chia seeds, what are the side effects of chia seeds?
Here are 7 side effects of chia seeds:
1.Can Trigger Prostate Tumors
The case for and against chia when it comes to prostate cancer isn’t closed just yet.
While some research indicates it could decrease the risk of prostate tumor growth, other research contradicts this.
A 2010 study claimed that the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid did not increase prostate cancer risk and that it even marginally decreased the risk.
But a recent 2013 study indicates that eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids – like chia seeds which contain alpha-linolenic acid – could trigger the formation of prostate tumors.
This could imply an increased risk of prostate cancer.
The jury is still out on this one, but you may want to hold off on binging on chia.
2.Can Set Off An Allergic Reaction
Chia seeds have a lot of protein in them and that’s bad news if you are allergic to the protein in chia.
A 100 gm serving has about 16.54 gm of protein. For those with a nut or seed allergy, chia seeds may be off the table.
Reactions can range from skin rashes and hives to watery eyes, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Also watch out for repetitive coughing, wheezing, difficulty swallowing, and a hoarse throat.
You may also feel dizzy. As inflammation flares up in the larynx, tongue, and mouth, you could find it difficult to talk and even breathe.
If your allergy is more severe, you may go into shock, your pulse may weaken, and your skin may turn pale or blue. Get tested to check anyway.
3.Potential Effects On Pregnant Women
Although how chia seeds affect pregnant women is not known, “most health authorities advise pregnant and breast-feeding women to stay on the safe side and avoid the use of chia seeds until more research has been done.”
While it may be uncertain whether chia seeds do affect pregnant women, it’s probably better to skip on the seeds for nine months.
4.Can Prevent Blood Clotting
As they are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds can act as natural blood thinners, preventing your blood from clotting.
If you are already taking blood-thinning medication like warfarin, steer clear of chia.
For the same reason, avoid chia seeds right after surgery to avoid excessive bleeding.
5.Can Make You Choke
Chia seeds have gained notoriety as a choking hazard.
As one Time magazine report highlighted, incorrect consumption can lead to complications.
When you don’t pre-soak your seeds or eat them without roasting, you run the risk of gagging or choking on them.
You may even end up in the ER as a result.
Why? Because the seed when dry and unroasted absorbs as much as 27 times its dry weight in water.
It turns gelatinous and expands hugely, plump with water. This sticky mass can get stuck in your esophagus, making you choke.
Always soak the seeds or roast them.
6.Can Cause Constipation Or Diarrhea
These seeds are very high in fiber content – at nearly 11 gm per ounce serving, it takes care of a sizable chunk of the American Dietetic Association’s recommended fiber intake of 38 g for men and 25 g for women for the day.
But a high-fiber diet doesn’t work for everybody type. Too much fiber in one go can lead to flatulence, constipation, and diarrhea.
It’s a good idea to eat chia seeds with a lot of water or soak them first.
Soaking makes it easier to digest them. It also offers the added benefit of releasing all the nutrients stored inside.
Soak 1 tbsp chia seeds in 1 cup water overnight. Or grind them and use them in smoothies.
7. Eating Too Many Chia Seeds May Cause Interactions With Some Medications
While chia seeds are safe for most people, you may want to moderate your intake if you are taking blood sugar or blood pressure medications.
That’s because eating too many chia seeds could potentially interact with the effects of some of these medications.
Some studies have shown that chia seeds can significantly lower blood sugar levels.
This is likely due to the high amount of fiber in chia seeds, which slows the absorption of sugar in the blood and can decrease blood sugar levels.
In most cases, eating moderate amounts of chia seeds can help people with diabetes keep their blood sugar levels in check.
However, dosages for insulin are personalized and carefully adjusted to prevent dips and spikes in blood sugar.
Eating an excessive amount of chia seeds could cause blood sugar levels to decrease and may require adjustments in the dosage of your diabetes medicine.
Blood Pressure Medications
In addition to lowering blood sugar, chia seeds are effective at reducing blood pressure.
In one study, eating chia seeds for 12 weeks decreased blood pressure, along with markers of blood sugar and inflammation.
This is because chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to work as a blood thinner and may decrease blood pressure.
A study in 90 people with high blood pressure found that taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements for eight weeks decreased systolic blood pressure by 22.2 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 11.95 mm Hg, on average.
However, the people in this study were also on dialysis, so these results may not apply to the general population.
Those with high blood pressure might find chia seeds’ ability to decrease blood pressure desirable.
However, chia seeds may enhance the activity of blood pressure medications, which could lead to hypotension or low blood pressure.
Which amount is safe to consume daily
On the whole, the chia seed is a powerhouse of goodness. No wonder every nutritionist loves it.
Ayurveda also recommends adding chia to your regular diet, conscious of its high-fiber effects.
But since the superfood is still not fully understood, more studies will be needed before it can be declared safe for those with conditions like high triglycerides and low blood pressure, and even pregnant women.
Just make sure that you don’t rely on just chia seeds for your daily fiber intake. If you are aiming to lose weight, having more of it won’t help you lose much.
After all, you will have added on extra calories from the seeds as well.
Typically, 1–1.5 tablespoons taken up to twice a day should be fine for most people. That’s the equivalent of a 20 gm serving that has 139 Cal.
Conclusion: Chia seeds are one of the healthiest seeds that should be included in your diet. Consume these seeds daily, but not more than 1-1.5 tablespoon twice a day.