The "running food" or "endurance superfood" as it is often referred to as, chia seeds are the very same seeds that are sprouted to "grow hair" on the famous chia pet™. Often, the first time anyone even hears the word "chia", sadly it is in reference to the chia pet. Little is known of the health and medicinal benefits of the chia seed.
Chia is said to: provide 2x the protein of most other seeds and grains, provide 3x the antioxidant levels of blueberries, be a rich source of calcium and contain the mineral boron, which helps with the absorption and utilization of calcium, provide 3x the iron found in spinach, provide 2x more potassium than a banana. More commonly known about the chia is that it is an amazing source of essential fatty acids (the 'good' fats).
Additionally, adding chia seeds into the daily diet has shown to improve the nutrient absorption of all foods, including nutritional supplements. It has been used as an aid for GERD, ulcers, gastritis and also irritable bowel syndrome.
Possible Side Effects Of Chia
It is possible, that too many chia seeds can lower blood pressure in the elderly. Chia also offers a significant source of B vitamins, so it is important to be cautious if you are supplementing with any B supplements.
Although it is encouraged to consume these seeds because of the vast health benefits that have been recognized, there is still not enough known to come to a conclusion whether any side effects are cause for concern.
Some of the side effects noted in independent studies:
- Some folks have noted an increase in flatulence upon consuming a handful of the seeds. The high fiber content could easily be to blame for this effect.
- It has been seen that those that have allergies towards mustard seeds have often seen reaction when eating chia.
- Being an abundant source of Omega 3's which have the potential to thin the blood, some researchers suggest that those who are taking blood thinners, hemophiliacs, those planning a surgery, and those on an aspirin regimen may best to avoid chia seeds.
- Coming from the 'Salvia' family, some experts suggest not taking chia daily as it may have addictive properties when taking consistently in large quantities.
- The side effects of chia seeds with pregnant women have not been tested significantly, so it's best not to consume chia while pregnant or lactating to be on the safe side.
Like any dietary change, it is always best to seek the advice of a health professional beforehand.
Adhering to the following doses should help you steer clear of any of the potential negative aspects of consuming these seeds.
For adults, taking 2 tablespoons of ground or soaked chia a day for 3 weeks out of each month is potentially a safe dose, half that for children. To assist in heart health, perhaps doubling the suggested adult dose would be helpful.
But again: it is always best to seek the advice of a health professional beforehand.