Constipated? This superfood can help.
If you're struggling with constipation, you might be looking for a natural way to get some relief. Chia seeds are a great option to try, as they are packed with fiber and can help get things moving in your digestive system.
What Are Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds are small and black or white in color. They are a good source of plant-based protein, healthy fats, and fiber. They are also rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, and contain antioxidants that can help protect against disease.
Chia seeds come from a plant called Salvia hispanica, which is native to Mexico and Guatemala. They were an important food source for the Aztecs and Mayans, and have been grown and consumed in Mexico for thousands of years.
Now you can find them in almost any supermarket. They will often be located in aisles that contain nuts and seeds, or in the baking aisle.
How Chia Seeds Help with Constipation
When chia seeds are mixed with liquid, they form a gel-like substance. This is because the outer layer of the seed is rich in soluble fiber, which absorbs water and swells up.
As the gel moves through the intestines, it can help keep stool soft and moving through the digestive system. This can make it easier to pass stools and reduce constipation symptoms.
Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, adds bulk to stool and can help it move more easily through your system.
According to one study, adding chia seeds to your diet can increase stool frequency and help with constipation symptoms . Another study found that chia seeds were effective in treating constipation in older adults .
4 Ways to Eat Chia Seeds
Chia Pudding: Mix chia seeds with milk or non-dairy milk, a sweetener of your choice, and any other flavors you like (such as vanilla extract, cocoa powder, or fruit). Let the mixture sit in the fridge for a few hours or overnight, and it will thicken into a pudding-like texture.
Smoothies: Add a tablespoon or two of chia seeds to your favorite smoothie recipe for a fiber boost. The seeds will add some texture to the smoothie, but won't affect the flavor.
Salad Topping: Sprinkle chia seeds on top of your salad for a crunchy texture and added fiber. You can also mix the seeds into your salad dressing for an extra boost of nutrition.
Baked Goods: Chia seeds can be used as an egg substitute in many baking recipes. To replace one egg, mix one tablespoon of chia seeds with three tablespoons of water and let it sit for a few minutes until it forms a gel. This can then be used in place of the egg in your recipe.
Overall, chia seeds are a great addition to your diet if you're looking for a natural way to boost your fiber intake and help with constipation.
Try adding them to your meals in one of the four ways mentioned, and see if you notice a difference in your digestive health!
Vuksan, V., et al. (2009). Supplementation of conventional therapy with the novel grain Salba (Salvia hispanica L.) improves major and emerging cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes: Results of a randomized controlled trial. Diabetes Care, 32(7), 1319-1325.
de Souza Ferreira, C., et al. (2020). Effects of Salvia hispanica L. (chia) on constipation in elderly people: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Medicinal Food, 23(10), 1043-1052.
Muñoz, L. A., et al. (2013). Chia seeds: a comprehensive review. In Advances in food and nutrition research (Vol. 68, pp. 21-44). Academic Press.