After consuming 2 tablespoons of raw chia seeds every day, a woman claims she experienced horrible digestive issues — and she’s warning others not to make the same mistake. Her answer? Soaking them in water before eating them.
TikToker Jade Amber (@@jade.amberrrrr) gained over 5.4 million views, 715,000 likes, 60,000 saves and 11,000 comments when she shared her PSA online.
Now, much like the firefighter who took to TikTok to reveal what can happen when you sleep with your bedroom door closed, Jade’s PSA has people rethinking their everyday habits, especially those within the clean eating movement.
However, some people are coming to the defense of raw chia seeds by challenging Jade’s claims, asking: Do you really have to soak them first?
Jade’s fraught chia seed journey began after she posted a video of her morning routine to TikTok.
In response to Jade’s chia-filled bowl of oatmeal, a concerned TikToker named Madison (@earthymads) warned, “Make sure you soak chia seeds in water before eating them!!” — a comment that gained 758 likes and 26 replies.
One of those replies came from Jade herself, who posted her now-viral video in response. “shut your mouth omfg. ????” Jade’s video caption reads.
In the video, Jade explains that, in attempt to incorporate more fiber into her diet, she had been adding the recommended serving size of chia seeds (2.5 tablespoons, according to the Mayo Clinic) to various dishes and snacks.
However, rather than helping to support her digestive system, Jade claims all that fiber was “doing the opposite, if you know what I mean.” She was also experiencing a strange amount of bloating, despite taking L-glutamine and supergreens powder.
When she came across Madison’s TikTok comment, Jade had a lightbulb moment. “I was consuming two tablespoons … raw, and they were growing after I consumed them. Because you’re supposed to soak them.”
She then demonstrates what 2 tablespoons of chia seeds look like after they’ve soaked in a glass of water. “That’s how much they were expanding in my stomach. You’re supposed to do this before you eat them, and I did not know that.”
“Welp I just learned something new…”
Other TikTokers echoed Jade’s shock and confusion in the comments.
“Wait I HAD NO IDEA EITHERRRR,” wrote @bravobritt.
“NO WAYY WHAAAT?! ????” commented @camocamille.
“Welp I just learned something new. No wonder my belly bloat is insane,” replied @ellymaelive.
However, some challenged Jade’s claims. “You definitely don’t have to soak them, you just don’t have to use as many as you did ???? mix them into your porridge,” wrote @emlouisie.
Is it safe to eat raw chia seeds?
Trader Joe’s Organic Chia Seeds, the brand featured in Jade’s video, instructs consumers, “Add Trader Joe’s Organic Chia Seeds to yogurt, smoothies, salads and baked goods.” No mention of pre-soaking the seeds prior to consumption.
However, according to the Harvard School of Public Health, eating dry chia seeds is not recommended.
“Because they quickly swell after absorbing liquid, it is advised to eat chia seeds that have already been soaked in liquid or are served with a moist food, such as oatmeal or yogurt. Do not eat dry chia seeds by themselves.”
For those still wanting to consume chia seeds dry, Harvard School of Public Health advises grinding them up prior to consumption.
Can chia seeds cause constipation and bloating?
While chia seeds are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and powerful antioxidants, according to WebMD, eating too many can lead to complications — and that includes digestive issues.
“Because of their high fiber content, eating too many chia seeds may cause constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and gas. Chia seeds may also cause flare-ups with inflammatory bowel conditions such as Crohn’s disease,” WebMD reports.
“Because chia seeds can lead to some issues, it’s best to start small. At first, try just a 1-tablespoon serving. Make sure to prepare them in a way that will allow them to expand before you eat them,” it says.
Do chia seeds expand in your stomach?
According to Healthline, chia seeds grow by up to 12 times their original size when soaked in water. This is caused by the soluble fiber and mucilage found in chia seeds — which helps to slow digestion and promotes a feeling of fullness.
By mixing chia seeds into wet foods, such as yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies or dressings, the seeds can expand prior to making contact with your digestive tract.
However, before making any changes or additions to your diet, be sure to speak to your doctor or a medical professional.
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