Chia seeds are one of the many superfoods that are rich in nutrients beneficial to health and overall wellbeing. Superfood or super fad, if you’ve been following this superseed, surely you notice there is the much talked about chia seeds water. Should you like to pick up this trend to gain its health benefits, surely you like to know how it benefits you. But most importantly, you need to know the negative side effects of drinking chia seeds water. Don’t drink chia seeds water, unless you’ve read and understood the possible health risks.
What is Chia Seed Water
Don’t know yet exactly what chia seed water is? Chia seed water is basically just chia seeds with water. When added to water and sit for some time, chia seeds plump up several times in size. A glutinous coating will form, in gel-like consistency, making them easier to swallow and digest.
Chia seeds are tasteless and in water, they are rather bland. Infusing chia seeds water with fresh fruits and herbs will give it a refreshing twist. Or simply add freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice to it. More on this further below.
Drinking Chia Seeds Water Benefits
Chia seeds are an excellent source of fibre and healthy fats. The mineral contents are impressive too, including phosphorus, manganese, copper, and magnesium.
Let’s see how these benefit your health.
Fibre for Digestive Health
You would have already know fibre is essential for good digestion and improve bowel movement. How does it work?
Chia seeds contain both soluble and insoluble fibre.
Insoluble fibre does not dissolve in water or gastrointestinal fluids, instead absorbs liquid and sticks to other byproducts of digestion to form stools. This process leads to softer, bulkier stools making them easier to pass. For this reason, it helps prevent gastrointestinal blockage and constipation.
Furthermore, by preventing intestinal blockages and constipation, insoluble fibre may help reduce the risk of developing small folds and haemorrhoids in your colon. It may also reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
So then, drinking chia seeds water in the morning can give you a boost at the start of your day. It ensures your digestive system works well throughout the day.
Fibre for Weight Loss
Now, let’s talk about soluble fibre.
Soluble fibre dissolves in water and gastrointestinal fluids when it enters your stomach and intestines. It is then transformed into a gel-like substance and get digested by bacteria in the large intestine. These bacteria are often called gut flora or gut microbiome.
There are good and bad bacteria, and different species of bacteria play important roles in several aspects of health (1), including weight management.
You need to understand gut bacteria do not directly help weight loss but influence how you digest certain foods and produce chemicals that benefit gut health and promote weight loss.
How else does soluble fibre help in weight loss? Besides feeding gut bacteria, the soluble fibre in a gel-like substance blocks fats that would otherwise be digested and absorbed. You don’t want too much of these fats, do you?
On top of that, soluble fibre slows down digestion, meaning you’ll feel full longer. Insoluble fibre helps too, as it physically fills up space in your stomach and intestines, making you feel full.
Nutrients for Skin Health
You’ll be delighted to know chia seeds may help your skin glow.
High in antioxidants, chia seeds help fight free radical damage which can be caused by diet, lifestyle, environmental factors such as pollution and radiation, and certain conditions. In this case, pollution, radiation and UV exposure affect skin health and this is where chia seeds with their antioxidant properties help.
A good amount of thiamine (Vitamin B1) and niacin (Vitamin B3) is found in chia seeds. B Vitamins offer scores of skin health benefits. Two of the most significant are stress relief and cell renewal.
Vitamin B1, also known as the “anti-stress” vitamin, helps support the immune system and soothes the nervous system. This may help prevent stress-related breakouts.
Stress does not directly cause acne breakouts. It is when you’re stressed, stress hormones increase and triggers the oil glands to produce more oil. This leads to an acne flare-up.
Do you know besides chia seeds, flax seeds have an impressive amount of thiamine (Vitamin B1)? There is a comparison chart in this article I wrote. It also explains the health benefits of both seeds.
Vitamin B3 helps a variety of skin conditions including acne, dermatitis, eczema, hyperpigmentation and, dry and sun-damaged skin.
Many skincare products targeted at wrinkles and fine lines contain niacinamide as it’s a strong anti-ageing ingredient (1).
Although niacin is not the same thing as niacinamide (they are two different types of Vitamin B3), your body needs niacin to make niacinamide.
Here, I’m not suggesting skin products are preferable over food or supplements. You be the judge of that.
Overall, regular consumption of Vitamin Bs, in this case, chia seeds, can help maintain and boost skin health. Vitamin Bs are water-soluble therefore most effective taken orally as a supplement or ingested through food sources. Other foods high in B Vitamins are salmon, trout, chicken, pork, oysters, legumes, mushrooms and dairy products.
Hydration for Skin Health
The glow you see on your face is a result of well-hydrated skin. You’re aware of that, don’t you?
Did you know chia seeds can hold a huge amount of water? The seeds absorb water quickly, claims vary from 8 to 27 times their dry weight in water. This makes chia seeds a very hydrating food to be included in your diet.
Are you ready for a glass of chia seeds water? Hold that thought. You need to know the negative side effects of chia seeds.
Potential Health Risks Consuming Chia Seeds
Eating too much of anything is bad. You need to know ingesting too many chia seeds can have adverse effects on your body and they are
You know chia seeds are good for your digestive system because they are a very good source of fibre. But, too much can be harmful.
Too much or concentrated fibre intake can cause abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhoea and constipation.
While fibre is known to help reduce or prevent constipation, the other way around is also true. Too much fibre results in bulkier and harder stools thus making them harder to pass and leaving you constipated.
Also, when you eat too much fibre too quickly, gut bacteria feeding on fibre leads to an increase in gas production causing a bloated and gassy stomach.
Not going to stay away from that chia seeds drink, are you? The good news is, you can reduce the symptoms by increasing your fluid consumption and exercise more.
To start off with, gradually increase your fibre intake. Slowly up the amount and listen to your body.
The recommended daily fibre intake is 25g per day for adult women and 38g per day for adult men. Every individual’s body reacts differently, so you need to be mindful of any symptoms that arise and adjust accordingly.
Chia seeds are a good source of healthy unsaturated fats in the form of omega-3. It is essential for heart health, preventing cholesterol, fat and other substances from being deposited in the blood vessels.
You need to know a very excessive amount of omega-3 might cause your blood to thin out. But, this is probably going to be an issue, only if you’re already on blood-thinning medication or experience low blood pressure.
Therefore, it is advisable for you to check with your doctor before you drink chia seeds water every day while on the said medication.
More on fibre and medication.
Fibre slows the digestion of food and absorption of macronutrient, including sugars. This is usually a good thing as it encourages gentler increase and decrease in blood sugar, preventing sugar spike or the other way around.
But, if you’re on medication to control your blood sugar, it may present an issue. So, again, check with your doctor for advice.
All in all, to achieve good health and prevent potential health risks, it’s better to eat a balanced diet with varieties of food, instead of concentrating on certain individual food.
Are Chia Seeds Warming or Cooling
This is an interesting question, isn’t it? I’m sure you like to know especially those who are particular how drinking chia seeds water every day affects your body.
The concept of warming and cooling food is strongly ingrained in Asian culture. For this reason, you and I, who are Malaysians, would want to know the answer, don’t you? Even if you’re not, it is good to know.
Firstly, let me explain what warming and cooling mean.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and the science of Ayurveda, food is classified into hot and cold. Both affect your body differently.
Hot, better known as heaty food (as the term says) causes heatiness. You will know there is too much heat in your body when a mouth ulcer develops, pimples or acne pop out, and a headache occurs. Sore throat and constipation can be caused by a heaty body too. What you need to do is eat cold/cooling food to balance excess heat.
Conversely, too much cooling food can cause sore muscles and joints, chills, and prone to fatigue. Hence, you need warming food to balance.
Heaty food includes deep-fried oily foods, spicy foods, red meat, and Malaysian’s favourite durian. Examples of cooling food are watermelon, coconut, bitter gourd, and leafy vegetables such as cabbage, lettuce, and kale.
Now, back to the topic, if you intend to drink chia seeds water every day, know that it has cooling effects.
Now, you are probably ready for that glass of water with chia seeds. Surely you like to know
How to Make a Simple Chia Seed Drink
Chia drinks are all the craze in health food stores and juice bars, and they can be quite expensive. Why not save money and make your own. It’s simple!
The simplest chia seeds water recipe is adding 1 tablespoon chia seeds to 1 cup water. Give it a good stir and then sit for about 10-20 minutes, the seeds will gel up.
I like to remind you again to start off gradually if you’ve not gotten used to consuming much fibre or concentrated fibre.
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Use the 1 tablespoon seeds to 1 cup water ratio as a guideline. You can increase the amount of water or reduce chia seeds to a level you’re comfortable with. In addition, if you like a runny texture, more water is needed.
I know, plain chia seeds water is a bit bland. Add flavour by adding honey or squeezed lemon juice as desired. Alternatively, instead of plain water, add chia seeds to coconut water or other fruit juices, but beware of the sugar content of juices.
You may want to infuse water with fresh fruits and herbs including berries, citruses, and melons, and mint leaves, lemongrass or rosemary. This will give you a naturally flavoured drink and together with chia seeds, you’ll gain much from this healthy drink.
If you want to buy chia seeds, then there is an excellent selection online with thousands of customer reviews. Consider using this affiliate link* – shop on Amazon (for US shoppers).
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In a Nutshell
A one-ounce (28g), that’s about 3 tablespoons, serving of chia seeds gives you 9.7g of fibre. It contributes a whopping 35% fibre to your daily diet. Coupled with other nutrients in chia seeds your body needed to stay in good health, you’ll want to gain health benefits from drinking chia seeds water.
I don’t mean to be long-winded but you need to remember the potential risks mentioned above. Also, moderation is the key to healthy living.
Other types of seed and nuts such as flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and walnuts have numerous health benefit too. Feel free to browse me Nuttylog for these articles.
Now, how about letting us know if you would drink chia seeds water? Tell us how you feel about this chia seeds drink craze in the comments section below. Will you follow the trend simply because everyone is or for the main purpose of your health?
So, will I drink chia seeds water? No. I prefer a subtle way of dealing with my constant constipation problem. As you know by now, chia seeds can help reduce constipation but also cause it. So, my way is to include chia seeds in my overnight oats or muesli. In baking, they go into bread dough and granola too. That’s me. You?
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Medical Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or medical professional, and this post should not be taken as medical advice. Please do your own research. The material on this blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is general information that may not apply to you as an individual and is not a substitute for your own doctor’s medical care or advice.