Chia seeds are a popular health food that have been used for centuries by the Aztecs and Mayans. These tiny seeds are packed with nutrients and offer a variety of health benefits.
They are high in protein and healthy fats, and they are a good source of minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. They are also a good source of antioxidants, which can help to protect the body against the damage caused by free radicals. (See Pros and Cons of Chia Seeds)
However, one question that often comes up is whether or not chia seeds are digestible.
In this post, we will examine if chia seeds are digestible, and ways to make them more digestible for your system as well.
Are Chia Seeds Digestible?
Chia seeds are digestible and the majority of people can digest chia seeds without any problems. In fact, the soluble fibers in chia seeds can help to improve digestion by increasing the bulk of the stool and promoting regular bowel movements. Additionally, chia seeds can help to slow down the absorption of carbohydrates, which can help to stabilize blood sugar levels. (See Chia Seeds Benefits for Stomach)
However, because they have a hard outer shell, this might make them harder to digest and we may not fully absorb all of the nutrients in chia seeds. We will talk about how to prepare them to remedy this. Also, because they have a high amount of fiber, it might make them hard to digest for those not used to eating very much fiber. This could cause bloating and digestive discomfort. (See Chia Seed Side Effects in Females)
So, in order to help with digesting chia seeds, it’s best to start with a small amount and gradually increase your intake over time. (You can even start with as little as 1 tsp of chia seeds every day)
The reason for doing this is that chia seeds are high in fiber, and fiber can be hard to digest for individuals who aren’t used to eating it. This is because the body must create the right bacteria that are capable of digesting the fiber, which takes a little bit of time. Then you will be able to digest it much easier. Then you can increase the amount you are eating over time. (See How Much Chia Seeds Should You Eat a Day)
Also, soaking the chia seeds in liquid before consumption can also help to make them more digestible, as this will cause the seeds to expand and soften.
This is known as soaking the chia seeds, and it’s generally best to soak the chia seeds overnight for maximum digestibility. This gives them enough time to soak all the water and soften. (See Chia Seeds Soaked in Water Overnight Benefits)
Soaking chia seeds also helps to remove phytic acid, which could also cause them to not be digested as well.
Another method besides soaking chia seeds, is to grind them instead. In fact, grinding chia seeds has actually been found to improve their absorption of the nutrients the most. The second best method to increase absorption is to soak them as was just mentioned. (Ground Chia Seeds vs Whole – Which is Better?)
A couple of studies have found that chia seeds that were milled or ground, increased the levels of ALA Omega-3s in the bloodstream of participants who were consuming the ground chia seeds. ALAs are the plant-based Omega-3s that are found in chia seeds.
The studies also found an increase in ALA levels with soaked chia seeds, although it wasn’t quite as high as the ground chia seed eaters. However, both methods were close in levels. This was compared to those eating raw chia seeds, which did not see any changes in ALA levels.
The soaked chia seeds or ground chia seeds can then be added to recipes or sprinkled on top of what you are already eating. You can find ways to use them at How to Eat Chia Seeds.
In conclusion, chia seeds are generally safe for most people to consume and can provide a number of health benefits. However, to increase their digestibility, it’s best to start with a small amount and gradually increase your intake over time.
Additionally, soaking the seeds in liquid or grinding them before consuming can also help to make them more digestible.
Lance has been passionate about the plant-based diet and we have been following a whole food plant-based diet for over 5 years. We focus on health, natural healing, weight management, animal rights, and the health of the planet and environment by focusing on whole plant-based foods and sustainable practices.
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