The side effects of consuming chia seeds
The truth is that there a few known sides effects associated with consuming chia seeds. There’s been some conflicting research on how chia seeds consumption affects prostate cancer. A study done with alpha-linoleic acid and prostate cancer showed that ALA could increase the risk of developing prostate cancer, however, this study was shown to have some bias.
And another study done in 2010, concluded that ALA did not increase the risk of developing prostate cancer, on the contrary, it was shown to decrease the risk in the participants. A slight discomfort in the stomach has been reported occasionally by some people when eating chia seeds, especially when eaten in large quantities because of the high content of fiber. Like any other food, eat it in moderation and make sure that you drink lots of water.
How to eat chia seeds
Chia seeds possess a mild nutty taste and can be added to many dishes as a garnish, however chewing the tiny seeds usually does not make the omega-3 fatty acids and the other nutrients readily available for digestion and absorption. The most optimal way to get the vitamins and minerals in the seeds is to either soak or grind them.
Eating chia seeds raw vs. soaking them
It seems that there’s quite a debate on whether you should soak the seeds before eating them. It certainly won’t hurt you to eat them as they are, but when you soak them, you basically “sprout” them, thus releasing the “enzyme inhibitors” which are used to protect the chia seed. First of all, this makes the digestion much easier and second, the body can better access the dense nutrients found inside the seed. As a general rule, you should always get the most nutritional benefit out of every food you eat, so it is recommended that you soak them before adding them to your dish.
How to soak chia seeds:
Simply put them in a glass of water, where the chia to water ratio is 1:10. That would be around one and a half tablespoons of chia seeds in one cup of water. You don’t have to use this exact amount, but you certainly want it to gel completely and not be too watery. Then, let it sit for half an hour to two hours. Since the seeds can hold up to 10 times their weight in water, they are very useful in preventing dehydration. But, if you do not wish to soak, then the seeds can absorb the water from you during the digestion process. That’s why you need to make sure that you drink lots of water during the day to prevent dehydration.
Grinding chia seeds:
The second option is to grind the seeds in a coffee grinder to break down the outer shell before consuming them. When pulverized, the flour from chia seeds can be added in most recipes free of gluten, such as muffins, pancakes, bread, and pasta. When grinding the seeds, it’s important to keep them in a sealed glass container in the fridge or the freezer.
Eating chia seeds whole:
You don’t have to grind chia seeds to get the nutrients, which is not the case with flax seeds. You can eat chia seeds whole and still get the dense nutrient pack hidden inside. You can eat a whole spoonful, but be careful, because they can get stuck in your teeth.