Chia Seed Side Effects. There are very few side effects associated with chia seeds. There has been some conflicting research about the effect of chia seeds on prostate cancer. A study done with ALA and prostate cancer showed that this fatty acid could increase the risk of prostate cancer, but this study was later shown to have some bias.
And according to a recent study in 2010, ALA not only did not increase prostate cancer risk, but actually decreased the risk in participants.
Occasionally some people may experience stomach discomfort when consuming chia seeds especially in large amounts due to the high fiber content. As with any food, eat in moderation and always drink plenty of water unless soaking your seeds.
Chia Seed Side Effects. Chia seeds have a mild nutty taste and can easily be added to most dishes as a garnish, yet chewing small seeds like flax or chia generally doesn’t make the omega-3’s and other nutrients readily available for digestion and assimilation. The best way to access their vitamins and minerals is to either grind or soak them.
There seems to be much debate as to whether you need to soak chia seeds before eating. It won’t hurt to eat them straight, but if you soak them, then you “sprout” them and it releases the “enzyme inhibitors” that are used to protect the seed.
One, this makes it much easier to digest, and two, your body can then access the dense nutrients inside the seeds. In my opinion, you always want to get the most nutrition out of any food that you eat, so I prefer soaking them before adding them to my recipe or smoothie, if possible. Either way, they are still an excellent source of nutrition!
To soak chia seeds, simply mix them in a 1:10 ratio chia to water. That’s about 1.5 tablespoons chia seeds in one cup of water. It does not have to be exact, but you do want it to gel all the way and not be too watery. Then let them sit for about 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Since chia seeds can hold up to 12 times its weight in water, they are wonderful to prevent dehydration. However, if you choose not to soak them, then they can also absorb water from you during digestion. So make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated.
Another option is to grind chia seeds in a coffee grinder or Vitamix to break down the hard outer shell before eating them. When pulverized, chia seed flour can be used in most gluten-free recipes like pancakes, muffins, breads and even pastas. When grinding omega-3 rich seeds, however, it is important to store them in a sealed, glass container in your refrigerator or freezer.
Unlike flaxseeds, you do not have to grind chia seeds to access their nutrition. You can eat them whole and still get their “energy-packed” punch! You can even just eat a spoonful straight – but beware – they do tend to stick in your teeth!
There are so many reasons to eat chia seeds and there’s no better time to start then now!