Can Chia Seeds Help You Poop? Chia Seeds For Constipation
- The average American consumes half the recommended daily amounts of fiber (1).
- Lack of fiber in the diet, dehydration, stress, certain medications, and a sedentary lifestyle can all cause constipation.
- Chia seeds can help for those with digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
If constipation is a problem for you, you are aware of how unpleasant and frustrating it can be. Although there are many cures, have you ever thought about using chia seeds? You may have noticed tiny seeds in your yogurt parfait or smoothie bowl, and it's true—they can aid in bowel movements. For maintaining regular bowel movements, fiber-rich foods like chia seeds are a must. Chia seeds also contain a significant amount of mucilage, a gel-like substance that facilitates stool softening and easier transit through the digestive tract. In this article, we'll examine the benefits of chia seeds for constipation and offer some advice on how to include them in your diet. So let's investigate this further (pun intended) and see if chia seeds can aid in bowel movements.
What are chia seeds?
Small, black and white seeds known as chia seeds are produced by the Salvia hispanica plant, which is indigenous to Mexico and Guatemala. For centuries, people have used them for their health advantages and as a staple food in the diets of the ancient Aztecs and Mayans. A great source of fiber, protein, calcium, phosphorus, and omega-3 fatty acids can be found in chia seeds. Additionally, they are simple to digest and low in calories.
Chia seeds are available online, in most grocery stores, and health food stores. They are frequently put on salads or baked goods, or they are mixed into smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, and other foods.
What causes constipation?
A common digestive issue that many people experience is constipation. It is distinguished by irregular bowel movements or trouble passing stools. Constipation can result from a variety of factors, such as a diet low in fiber, dehydration, stress, taking certain medications, and leading a sedentary lifestyle. When you are constipated, your stools become dry and hard and are challenging to pass. This may result in discomfort, bloating, and pain in the abdomen.
How do chia seeds help with constipation?
Dietary fiber, which is crucial for maintaining regular bowel movements, can be found in abundance in chia seeds. Women should aim for at least 25 grams of fiber daily, while men should aim for 38 grams, according to the American Dietetic Association. Studies reveal, however, that the majority of Americans fall far short of these recommendations, with the typical adult consuming only about half the suggested amounts of fiber daily (1).
Because they contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, chia seeds are one of the best foods for preventing constipation. By absorbing water, soluble fiber creates a gel-like substance that slows down digestion and aids in stool softening. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, gives stool bulk and facilitates the passage of the digestive tract more quickly. Both types of fiber are present in chia seeds, which makes them an excellent natural treatment for constipation.
Because of their high mucilage content, chia seeds can also aid in relieving constipation. When chia seeds are exposed to water, mucilage, which resembles gel, develops. By softening the stool, this substance can make it easier to pass through the digestive tract. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) sufferers may find mucilage to be helpful as it soothes and protects the lining of their digestive tract.
Nutritional benefits of chia seeds
Chia seeds are a nutrient-dense food, meaning they pack a lot of nutrition into a small amount of calories. One ounce (28 grams) of chia seeds contains:
- 137 calories
- 12 grams of carbohydrate
- 11 grams of fiber
- 4 grams of protein
- 9 grams of fat (including 5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids)
- 18% of the recommended daily intake of calcium
- 27% of the recommended daily intake of phosphorus
- 30% of the recommended daily intake of manganese
In addition to the previously mentioned nutrients, chia seeds also have trace amounts of zinc, potassium, and vitamin B3 (niacin). For those who have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, they are a fantastic option because they are also gluten-free.
How to incorporate chia seeds into your diet
Chia seeds can be used as a flexible and simple ingredient in a wide range of dishes. The following advice will help you include them in your diet:
- Add them to smoothies: Chia seeds are a great addition to any smoothie. Simply blend them in with your other ingredients for a boost of fiber and nutrients.
- Sprinkle them on yogurt or oatmeal: Chia seeds add a nice crunch to yogurt or oatmeal and can help you stay full longer.
- Use them as an egg substitute: Chia seeds can be used as an egg substitute in recipes that call for eggs. Simply mix one tablespoon of chia seeds with three tablespoons of water and let it sit for a few minutes until it forms a gel-like consistency.
- Make a chia seed pudding: Chia seed pudding is a delicious and healthy dessert that's easy to make. Simply mix chia seeds with milk or a plant-based milk alternative, sweetener, and any other flavorings you like, and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
- Bake with them: Chia seeds can be added to baked goods like muffins, bread, and granola bars for an extra boost of fiber and nutrition.
Chia seeds vs other remedies for constipation
While chia seeds are a great natural remedy for constipation, they are not the only option. Here are a few other remedies you may want to consider:
1. Fiber supplements
If your diet is lacking in fiber, you might want to think about taking a fiber supplement. These supplements have concentrated fiber, which can aid in softening stool and encouraging regular bowel movements.
In your gut, probiotics are good bacteria that support a healthy digestive system. Bowel regularity can be enhanced by taking a probiotic supplement or consuming foods high in probiotics (like yogurt or kefir).
3. Drinking more water
Make sure you're drinking enough water throughout the day because dehydration can lead to constipation. If you're physically active or live in a hot climate, aim for at least 8 glasses of water per day, and more if necessary.
Potential side effects of chia seeds
Despite the fact that chia seeds are typically safe for the majority of people, there are a few possible side effects to be aware of. Chia seeds may cause bloating, gas, or abdominal discomfort in some people. This is due to the high fiber content in them, which some people may find difficult to digest. Chia seeds can expand in your stomach and absorb water, which can be uncomfortable if you eat a lot of them at once. Start consuming chia seeds in moderation and gradually increase your intake over time to prevent these negative effects.
1. How much chia seeds should I consume to help with constipation?
Incorporate 1-2 tablespoons of chia seeds into water or another liquid each day.
2. Can chia seeds cause constipation?
No, chia seeds are actually a natural remedy for constipation and can help to improve bowel movements.
3. How long does it take for chia seeds to work for constipation?
Results vary for each person, but some studies have shown improvement in bowel movements within two weeks of daily chia seed consumption.
4. Can I consume chia seeds if I have a digestive disorder?
If you have a digestive disorder, it's best to consult with your healthcare provider before incorporating chia seeds into your diet.
Chia seeds are an excellent addition to any diet, particularly if you suffer from constipation. They contain a lot of mucilage, a substance that softens stool and makes it easier to pass it through your digestive tract, as well as a lot of fiber, which is crucial for maintaining regular bowel movements.
Despite the fact that chia seeds are generally safe for most people, it's always a good idea to consult your doctor before introducing any new foods to your diet, particularly if you have a medical condition or are taking medication. Chia seeds may be a good option for you if you're looking for a natural way to increase bowel regularity.
- LDN, K. D. M., MS, RD. (2019, February 21). Should I be eating more fiber? Harvard Health Blog. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/should-i-be-eating-more-fiber-2019022115927
- Khalid, W., Arshad, M. S., Aziz, A., Rahim, M., Qaisrani, T. B., Afzal, F., Ali, A., Ranjha, M. M. A. N., Khalid, M. Z., & Anjum, F. (2022). Chia seeds ( Salvia hispanica L.): A therapeutic weapon in metabolic disorders. Food Science & Nutrition, 11(1), 3–16. https://doi.org/10.1002/fsn3.3035 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9834868/