In recent years, chia seeds have experienced overwhelming popularity. They are almost perfect for every meal of the day, most prominently in smoothies, yogurts, and bowls. However, the simple inclusion of these superfood seeds in your water can be just as beneficial as including them in your bowls.
TikTok user @happyandhealtholivia claims “chia seeds expand in your stomach and form a thick gel … reducing your appetite and increasing feelings of fullness … which can help you stay in a calorie deficit.” While TikTok can be a great source of information, experts have also weighed in to give credibility to this health hack.
Alicia Shelly, M.D., F.A.C.P., an expert at Testing.com, assures that drinking chia seed water is actually safe and quite nourishing. It is recommended that you combine one tablespoon of chia seeds into a large glass of water, and if you feel like spicing it up, add a bit of lime to your chia seed water. Chia seeds are actually rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, a key to fighting off certain diseases in the body, including heart disease. Additionally, chia seeds can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, both can contribute to damaged brain functioning.
At first glance, the claim TikTok user Olivia has made about chia seeds can be quite concerning. This “thick gel” however, can form if the chia seeds do not soak in the water enough. Dr. Shelly cautions against drinking chia seed water until the seeds have been properly steeped for a period of time – she recommends around 20 minutes, while a study from 2014 increases this steeping time for up to two hours. Those with dysphagia or difficulty swallowing are particularly cautioned because of the chia seeds’ ability to expand in water, which can pose a choking hazard.
Regardless if you wish to soak your chia seeds for twenty minutes or two hours, it is still safe to consume. Once digested, the chia seeds expand in your stomach and can leave you feeling hydrated and satiated or full, which can help with overeating or eating in big portions.
Chia seeds are actually considered to be a superfood because of their heavy dose of fiber. Fiber can also lead to greater satiety, less insulin is secreted, and more short-chain fatty acids are produced. All in all, regular consumption of chia seeds can be key to weight management. The balance of fiber, proteins, and fats found within chia seeds can be an alternative source to caffeine. Including this in your water in the morning and all throughout a busy day will give you the stable energy you need to accomplish all of your tasks.
If you do decide to proceed with this chia seed hack, make sure you are doing so in moderation, or consult with your doctor first, as it may not be for everyone. While it can be beneficial for weight management, it is important to balance this health hack with a consistent diet.