You may have heard that chia seeds are a good source of fibers, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. It is the main reason why you are joyfully consuming chia seeds. You are probably frustrated to learn that eating chia seeds will not only give you the amazing health benefits that you need but may also give you physical discomfort in the form of side effects. One of the side effects that you will experience while eating chia seeds is gas problem with symptoms including flatulence, abdominal bloating, abdominal pain, and belching. You will be surprised to learn along the way that gas problem is not experienced by all users of chia seeds and you begin to ask why. Why do chia seeds cause gas anyway?
The high fiber content of chia seeds is the reason why chia seed consumption causes gas problem. Fibers are substances that we could not digest because we lack necessary digestive enzymes. They are, however, beneficial to our body because they aid in digestion and normal bowel movement. They also help prevent constipation and other diseases of the digestive tract. Gas problem is a result of fiber digestion by normal intestinal bacteria. Unlike us, bacteria have the needed enzymes to break fiber into tiny units. During fiber digestion, gases like carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, and methane are released to the intestinal environment. These gases will exit either through our mouth or through our anus.
There are people who do not experience gas problems after eating chia seeds. It is due to individual differences in terms of fiber metabolism and composition of intestinal microorganisms. For example, you may have higher number of bacterial species that digest fiber compared to the general population. This will result to higher rate of fiber metabolism and higher volume of gas produced.
What to Do?
If you experience gas problem after eating chia seed, you may want to reduce the amount of chia seeds you ingest daily. For example, if one tablespoon of chia seeds a day gives you gas problem, reduce it to half. Try reducing the amount of chia seeds you take every day until you reach the amount that will give you less serious gas problem or no gas problem at all.
If you are just a new user of chia seeds, don’t get excited to reap the health benefits by taking large amount of chia seeds every day. Your intestine may not be able to adapt in the sudden increase of fiber into your diet. It is highly recommended that you start with a small dose of chia seeds and slowly increasing it until you reach the dose that you can tolerate the resulting gas.
If you already consumed considerable amount of chia seeds during the day, avoid loading up your stomach with more fiber by eating other foods that are rich in fiber. This may help solve your gas problem.
You may also want to try other good sources of fiber instead of chia seeds. There are many grains, fruits, and vegetables that will give you the right amount of dietary fibers you need without experiencing gas problem.