Helen Padarin

Are chia seeds right for you?

Are chia seeds right for you?

As with any food, any one can be sensitive to any given edible substance! This includes the popular chia seed! Chia seeds do contain compounds that some people are allergic to. While chia seeds are a powerhouse of omega 3 fatty acids (and one reason why we’ve included them in the program) some caution or commonsense needs to be employed when including these tiny speckled seeds in the diet.

As with any food, any one can be sensitive to any given edible substance! This includes the popular chia seed! Chia seeds do contain compounds that some people are allergic […]

We recommend that you have no more than 2tbs / 15g max (for adults) of chia seeds daily. Children should stick to a teaspoon to a tablespoon daily maximum. Due to chias high fibre content (and possibly due to oxalates – more on this later) some people may experience gas or bloating after consuming chia seeds. It’s good not to get too reliant on chia seeds for fibre, so, as with any food, have some chia seed free days each week. If you are relying on chia to be able to pass a daily bowel motion, then it’s time to look at WHY you’re needing chia to get things moving. Time to look at liver / digestive function and gut flora as a starting point.

Chia seeds are very high in naturally occurring oxalates, so if you have any oxalate sensitivity issues, just be aware that chia are one of the highest sources of oxalates. Oxalates (also found in foods like chocolate, spinach and almonds) are crystalline-like compounds which normally get metabolised by particular gut bacteria (oxalobacter formigenes to be precise, if you were curious). People with dysbiosis may have trouble breaking down oxalates, the oxalate crystals can be especially painful if they lodge in tissues where they get in the way of movement. A wide range of symptoms, including painful or inflamed joints, fibromyalgia, burning urine flow, burning bowel movements, vulvodynia (external female genital pain or irritation), leaky gut and IBS symptoms, kidney stones and even behavioural disorders in children (for example can exacerbate behavioural symptoms in children with autism who are intolerant / sensitive – or more accurately – unable to process oxalates efficiently).

For those without oxalate issues and who feel well with the inclusion of chia seeds in the diet though, go for it! Include small amounts of these little nutrition bombs as part of your varied diet.

References: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2396938/

By Helen Padarin

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