June 19, 2015 · Written by Foodtolive Team

Chia Seeds: Side Effects and How to Avoid Them

Chia seeds side effects include indigestion, allergies, and lowering of your blood pressure. In general, they are mild and rare. But you should be aware of possible risks. Nutritional benefits of chia seeds definitely outweigh any negatives this food has. In addition, you can prevent most of the side effects by adjusting the way you consume the seeds.


Chia Seeds Side Effects to Consider

Chia Seeds Side Effects to Consider

Like many other highly nutritious foods, these seeds may cause a bit of a negative reaction from your body if taken incorrectly. In general, they are considered safe. However, there are several chia seeds side effects that you definitely need to be aware of. 

  • Gastrointestinal problems.
    Constipation, bloating, and flatulence is the most common chia seeds side effects that affect the gut. Neither condition is particularly dangerous, especially if the problem is addressed immediately. In most cases, it can be solved by cooking the seeds more thoroughly. Note that this is a very common reaction that occurs when you eat high-fiber foods.
  • Allergy.
    An allergic reaction to chia seeds is extremely rare, but it is possible. If you are predisposed to allergies, you should be very careful when trying this food. Please note that there are some recorded cases where these seeds cross-reacted with other foods. Oregano, sesame, mustard, and thyme, in particular, might trigger a reaction.
  • Lowered blood pressure.
    Some chia seeds side effects can actually benefit people who suffer from hypertension. However, others may suffer because of it. Chia seeds act as a blood thinner. This leads to lowered blood pressure and may result in bleeding.
  • Blood sugar control drugs overstimulation.
    On their own, chia seeds can help maintain normal blood sugar levels. However, their effect on blood sugar is so significant, it might conflict with medications that must control it. Always consult a healthcare professional before eating chia seeds if you are diagnosed with diabetes.


Understanding Chia Seeds Side Effects: Drug Interactions

Understanding Chia Seeds Side Effects: Drug Interactions

Chia seeds aren’t a supplement and don’t contain any weird chemicals that might lead to dangerous interactions with drugs. Of course, it’s always best to discuss your dietary changes with a healthcare professional if you are taking any medications.

Due to their health effects, chia seeds can ‘enhance’ blood thinning drugs. Therefore, it’s essential to avoid them when you are prescribed these medications. Discuss this matter with your doctor as they might reduce dosage so that you can benefit from the natural blood thinner.

There are some reported cases of negative interactions between chia seeds and diabetic medication. In some cases, this food boosts the effects of drugs so much they actually become dangerous. This is definitely one of the strangest chia seeds side effects and the interactions might not happen. However, to be safe, you should be monitored by a doctor when you start eating chia seeds.


Chia Seeds Side Effects for Pregnant Women

Chia Seeds Side Effects for Pregnant Women

It’s considered safe and even beneficial to eat chia seeds during pregnancy. This food is extremely rich in nutrients, which are necessary for the growing fetus.

However, no research exists to prove or disprove any possible chia seeds side effects for pregnant women. Therefore, the best way to act is to follow the same rules as everyone else, but to be a bit more cautious.

These ‘rules’ include:

  • Watching out for any negative gastrointestinal reactions.
  • Consuming the seeds with care in case of any previous wholegrain allergies.
  • Not overeating and making sure chia seeds are a part of a well-balanced diet.

Pregnant women often have to follow a strict diet prescribed by their healthcare provider. If it’s the case with you, be sure to talk about the safety of eating chia seeds.



How to Eat Chia Seeds

How to Eat Chia Seeds

The vast majority of chia seeds side effects cannot be prevented as they are individual sensitivities or drug-triggered interactions. However, it’s possible to avoid the most common issues, meaning digestive disorders. In order to do this, you need to know how to prepare chia seeds.

As they are seeds, the first thing you should do is to soak them. This is the best method to prevent constipation, the number one problem caused by chia seeds. They absorb liquid extremely fast, which is the exact reason responsible for the majority of their gastrointestinal side effects. Leave the seeds to soak in clean fresh water for no less than 15 minutes before eating to make them easier to digest.

You should start adding chia seeds to your diet gradually. Let your body get used to this new food and watch your own reactions carefully. If you notice any problems, cut down on the seeds. In case the issue remains, it is definitely not caused by this particular food.