In particular, chia seeds are a rich source of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which, in supplement form, have been linked to increased protein synthesis (i.e. building muscle ) and reduced muscle breakdown with exercise, according to a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. So it may be worth adding some to your post-workout smoothie.
5. They can help support bone health.
If you’re looking for a non-dairy option to support a strong skeleton, chia is a great choice. These tiny seeds are a good source of minerals like phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. They are particularly high in calcium, which is important for maintaining healthy bones. According to the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, one serving of chia seeds provides about 18% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of calcium. Miller often recommends chia seeds as a source of calcium for people following a vegan diet. And since a magnesium deficiency can contribute to osteoporosis, this mineral is also good for your bones. “This calcium-magnesium combo is necessary for strong, healthy bones,” says Bazilian.
How many chia seeds should you eat per day?
A standard serving of chia seeds is one ounce or about two tablespoons, according to the USDA. But as with all serving size recommendations, this is more of a guideline than a rule of how much you should or shouldn’t eat.
You’re totally fine with consuming multiple servings of chia seeds, as long as you keep their high fiber content in mind. Miller recommends “eating as much as you feel satisfied, but not uncomfortable with.” To know more about this that means, keep reading.
Can chia seeds have side effects?
There are two potential side effects of chia seeds that you will need to watch out for. Due to their fiber content, eating too many at once can upset your stomach, and if you try to consume them plain, they can be a little hard to swallow and even pose a choking hazard.
In general, rapidly increasing the amount of fiber in your diet can be difficult for your digestion and cause (temporary) side effects. Adding too much fiber-rich chia to your diet at once can potentially cause you uncomfortable symptoms like gas, bloating, or cramping, especially if you’re not used to getting that much fiber, according to the Mayo Clinic.
“If you’re not consuming a lot of fiber, I suggest starting slow with a few teaspoons and then gradually increasing the amount of chia to avoid any gastrointestinal discomfort,” Panitz recommends. Also drink plenty of fluids, as fiber generally works best in your system when consumed with plenty of water, as SELF reported. “Water, tea, and even coffee will help keep the chia and its fibers moving through your digestive tract,” says Panitz.
The other potential risk with chia seeds is that eating a spoonful directly could be a choking hazard, Atlanta, RDN, LD-based culinary and integrative dietitian Marisa Moore tells SELF. They can get stuck in your throat thanks to their small size and dry texture, Moore says. So just in case you’re thinking of sticking a regular handful in your mouth – which sounds a little messy, honestly – try incorporating chia seeds into other foods or drinks instead, like smoothies, yogurt or pudding. (They’ll taste better and fill you up more that way, too.)
Who shouldn’t eat chia seeds?
You should avoid chia seeds if you have trouble swallowing (due to potential choking hazard) and proceed with caution if you have digestive issues, due to the fiber content.