Yesterday, I overdid it on chia seeds. Ouch.
I’ve been eating chia seeds for years with no problems at all. But yesterday, a few hours after drinking a chia seed drink, I started to get horrible stomach cramps.
I had no other symptoms — no chills, no fever, just pain. I ate dinner, which made it worse. And, by evening I was in severe pain. Nothing seemed to help — not peppermint tea, not lying down, not even my trusty hot water bottle.
I did a little bit of research and found out that I had made a mistake, which led to my suffering.
At lunch, I had sprinkled some dry chia seeds all over my salad. Then I also made chia seed iced tea. When I made the tea, I messed up: I didn’t let the chia seeds soak long enough to absorb all the liquid. Doing a little research, I found that chia seeds suck up water and expand to almost 10 times their original size.
So, if you eat them dry and you don’t drink a lot of water, or if you don’t let them soak enough, then they expand in your stomach. That means they’re absorbing water from your body, which causes a tummy ache, bloating and gas.
I was up all night, unable to sleep but almost doubled over from pain if I got up. I did drink a big glass of water. I wasn’t sure if it was too late, but it seemed to help a little bit.
So, here’s what I did wrong:
I ate dry chia seeds on my salad without drinking a glass of water. Then, I drank my chia seed tea even though I knew the seeds hadn’t absorbed their full amount of liquid. This caused my gastrointestinal distress.
Here’s how to avoid stomach pain after eating chia seeds:
- Start slow. If you’re new to chia seeds, start out by introducing small amounts into your diet. I’d recommend starting with a half teaspoon in a smoothie or soup. If you don’t experience any side effects, slowly increase the amount over time.
- Drink water. If you’re eating dry seeds, drink plenty of water with your meal. Just based on my experience, I’d suggest you use no more than a teaspoon (maybe even half a teaspoon) sprinkled onto your food at one time.
- Make a chia gel. One way to make sure your chia has fully absorbed all the water it’s going to is to make a gel that you keep in your fridge. Then, you can add a scoop of gel to your food instead of adding dry seeds.
- Grind your chia seeds. Some people who have had digestive problems after eating chia have had success in avoiding further issues by grinding their seed. I haven’t done this, but it’s something to try.
Have you had any stomach issues after trying chia seeds? If so, were you able to resolve the issue? How? Leave a comment & let us know.