The side effects of chia seeds may surprise you

Could there be some shocking side effects of chia seeds that many of us aren’t aware of?

We’re not saying that this superfood isn’t rich in omega-3 fatty acids and high in protein, because clearly, they are. But it just may be that there are some drawbacks to eating chia seeds, and since most of what we hear in the media is about the healthy punch they pack, we’re not as privy to the negative aspects of eating them.

Wow, who knew the cheery chia seed has a potential dark side?

Possible side effects of eating chia seeds

Here’s the scoop.

First off, chia seeds can make you a methane machine. In other words, you might end up passing more wind than a car on the autobahn. In all seriousness, studies have shown that eating a handful or so of the seeds brought on an increase in gas. Not the end of the world, since all this means is that their high fiber content is doing its thing (1). As the saying goes, it’s all good. Embarrassing, but good.

On a more serious note, consuming chia seeds may cause for concern among those taking blood thinners or people heading into surgery. Omega-3s, which chia seeds are rich in, can thin blood, so anyone with blood-related thinning issues should be aware about this possibility and speak with a medical professional to make the best decision (1).

Too much consumption may also lead to prostate cancer in men, although published findings and subsequent concerns regarding bias have raised doubts. It’s possible that the alpha-linolenic acid in chia seeds can up the risk for prostate cancer and if true, noted publications say that the risk is “likely to be small.” (2)

Likewise, pregnant women should heed the advice of their doctor if they want to eat chia seeds since any side effects as they pertain to expectant moms have not yet been studied.

Finally, chia seeds may be habit-forming (1). Really. Given all their benefits, you might think this is a good thing. However, they come from the “Salvia” family which is linked to recreational use typically involving rolling its dried leaves or ingesting its juices. But the National Institute on Drug Abuse says, “Although salvia is generally considered a hallucinogen, it does not act at serotonin receptors that are activated by other hallucinogens like LSD or psilocybin, and its effects are reported by experienced users to be different from those drugs.”(3)

To read more about the pros and cons of chia seeds, check out this story.

This is interesting to us, as it’s surprising in that “my oh my, the chia seed is a bit of a wild child” way. Chia seeds gone wild. Stuff like that. We consider ourselves warned, but still enjoy knowing that it’s a tremendous superfood, so we’re inclined to keep making our chia seed muesli recipe, even if we are passing more wind than normal while eating it.

Like any food choices you make, you have to do what’s right for you based on your dietary needs and preferences. It never hurts to pay close attention to labels, and always check in with your doctor no matter what you read in the media. As they saying goes, there’s no such thing as a dumb question.

Sources for this article include:

(1) http://chiaseedssideeffects.blogspot.ca/

(2) http://www.healwithfood.org/side-effects/chia-seed-allergies.php

(3) http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/salvia

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