Does Eating Too Many Chia Seeds Cause Side Effects?

Holistic Nutrition

In recent years, chia seeds have become to be known as a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Nevertheless, chia seeds, which comes from the Salvia hispanica plant, are so healthy and versatile. You can add it to different recipes, forms pancakes, cereal, smoothies, desserts, or parfaits. They are also special as they can absorb liquid to form a gelatinous consistency. But you can use chia seeds as a thickener in soups or even use these seed as a vegan substitute for eggs when you want to make some baked goods.

However, it is the healthy benefits that makes these seeds so special, beyond the nutrients it contains. All the same, eating too much of these chia seeds might cause some side effects.

The good points of chia seeds

Chia seeds are packed with fiber, protein, micronutrients and healthy fats. In fact, just 28 grams of chia seeds delivers up to 42% of your daily-recommended fiber, additionally to hearty doses of phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids.

Chia seeds have been associated with many health benefits. For instance, chia seeds are rich in antioxidants, which are compounds that provide protection from oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic disease. Chia seeds was found to decrease body weight, blood triglycerides and inflammation. Moreover, chia seeds are one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help increase “good” HDL cholesterol, decrease “bad” LDL cholesterol, reduce blood triglycerides and alleviate inflammation.

Some problems of chia seeds

Too much chia seeds can cause digestive problems

Fiber is critical for your health, encouraging regularity and supporting the beneficial bacteria in your gut, among other important roles. Chia seeds are a good source of fiber, providing 11 grams of fiber in each 28-gram serving. Too much fiber can cause issues for some people. Symptoms of too much fiber could be issues like abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, bloating and gas. However, it should be stated that these symptoms could occur when a high fiber intake is paired with inadequate hydration, since water is essential to helping fiber pass through the digestive system. Then again, some people that have conditions like inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease may need to monitor their fiber intake and limit chia seeds during flare-ups. That is since these chronic diseases cause inflammation and a narrowing of the gastrointestinal tract, which can lead to symptoms like abdominal pain, bleeding, diarrhea and weight loss. However, for most people, the symptoms of too much fiber can be overcome by drinking plenty of water to help the fiber pass through their bodies.

Chia seeds can be a choking risk

Although chia seeds are safe, there could be a choking risk. This is more a problem for those people that struggle with swallowing, and then the seeds needs to eaten carefully. Particularly if the seeds are wet, as then they will swell up – in fact 10 to 12 times from their original size. The seeds might be stuck in the throat and if too much are taken at once with water they could cause a blockage.

To avoid a problem, soak chia seeds for at least five to ten minutes before you eat them. Those with difficulty swallowing may need to exercise extra caution when eating them.

There is a risk that alpha-linolenic acid could lead to prostate cancer

Chia seeds are a good source of alpha-linolenic acid, which is a sort of omega-3 fatty acid. Omega-3 fatty acids are an indispensable part of the diet and have many health benefits from supporting cognitive function and heart health. However, although omega-3 fatty acids are commonly recognized as beneficial for health, some studies have found an association between alpha-linolenic acid intake and prostate cancer. It should also be mentioned that the different research studies are conflicting, as other studies have indicated that alpha-linolenic acid could protect the prostate. It is therefore clear that more studies are needed to examine the possible relationship between alpha-linolenic acid intake and prostate cancer.

Some people could be allergic to chia seeds

Some people could experience an allergic reaction to chia seeds. Although uncommon, the signs of an allergic reaction could include diarrhea, vomiting, itching of the lips or tongue. In worst cases, food allergies can even lead to anaphylaxis. This is a life-threatening condition that causes difficulty breathing and tightness in the throat and chest. Therefore the best would that if you are having chia seeds for the first time and experience any signs of a food allergy then stop using it and consult your doctor.

Too much chia seeds could interfere with your prescription medications

Too much chia seeds could interact with your blood sugar or blood pressure medications.

That is since some research have concluded 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. Still eating moderate amounts of chia seeds can help people with diabetes keep their blood sugar levels in check. Eating an excessive amount of chia seeds could cause blood sugar levels to decrease and may require adjustments in the dosage of your diabetes medication.

In addition to lowering blood sugar, chia seeds are effective at reducing blood pressure. Since chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to work as a blood thinner and may decrease blood pressure. However, people 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.

Closing remarks

Chia seeds super nutritious ad can offer many health benefit. However, moderation is key. If you exceed eating chia seeds then there might be some side effects.

To prevent any side effects associated with eating too much chia seed, stay hydrated. Remember to pre-soak your seeds at least five minutes before eating them so they can swell up. More so, you can start with 28 grams of chia seeds daily and assess your tolerance before slowly increasing your intake. Still, do not overdo it, especially if you are on blood pressure and dietetic medications. If you are experience, any side effects after you eat chia seeds, stop eating them and consult a healthcare professional.