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Can you tolerate CHIA SEEDS?

[B]Healthful Chia Seeds, an Ancient Food for Modern Times[/B]
The Veggie Cook, By Kay Stepkin, Special to Tribune Newspapers, June 20, 2012
Did you know: Chia seeds contain more omega 3 fatty acids than any other known plant, including flax. (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)
Move over flax seed. Chia seeds are making a comeback as the nutritional wonder food for recipes or munching by the handful. Once a staple in pre-Columbian Aztec diets, chia seeds are being heralded for their healthful and flexible qualities. In addition to food, Aztecs pressed chia seeds into oil that moisturized or healed the skin. Medicinally, chia stimulated saliva flow in thirsty nomads and lessened joint pain.
Yes, these are the same chia seeds growing out of clay pots that have been popular since the 1980s. Advertisements still show them sprouting from terra cotta pets, planters, and heads, including Garfield the cat and President Barack Obama. Though many people buy these potentially fuzzy figurines as joke gifts, chia seeds by themselves provide serious health benefits.
According to Wayne Coates, professor of agricultural research at the University of Arizona and author of "Chia: The Complete Guide to the Ultimate Superfood" (Sterling, $14.95), chia seeds contain more omega 3 fatty acids than any other known plant, including flax. (Coates is also president of the retail operation of azchia.com, a website promoting chia seeds.)
That means eating chia seeds increases the amount of oxygen transported through our blood stream, nourishing cells and organs, and helping to prevent disease. Coates suggests a 2-tablespoon serving of chia seeds, although you can eat as much as you like because they are a food, not a nutritional supplement.
Chia seeds also contain high concentrations of fiber, protein, and many essential vitamins and minerals. When added to liquid, chia absorbs many times its weight and forms a gel. Researchers believe this ability to expand occurs in the stomach, too, creating a full feeling that might help with weight loss. With all its uses and new research heralding the benefits of chia, watch for more about chia seeds in the future.

• Chia easily adds a nutritional boost to a variety of recipes.
• Enrich salads and sandwiches with chia sprouts.
• Sprinkle ground or whole chia seeds on entrees or cereal.
•1 tablespoon chia seeds stirred into 3 tablespoons water will replace one egg as a thickener in puddings and baked goods.
• Soaked seeds make an interesting drink when mixed with a sweetener and citrus juice.

Kay Stepkin is a vegetarian cooking class instructor and former owner of a vegetarian restaurant/whole-grain bakery. Email her at foods@tribune.com.
CHIA SEED is really a good way to improve our nutrition, if we can tolerate them. You are right, certainly when flaring anything with fiber would be a no-no. I find putting a teaspoon to a tablespoon full of chia seeds in juice or tea is an easier way to take them. Have to let it sit for a while, but then they swell up and make a bubble drink.
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Super Moderator
How do they compare to something such as psyllium husks in terms of fiber, ease of digestion, etc? I take a teaspoon of psyllium daily and that has done really good things for me, but if I take more than a teaspoon then I tend to cramp and bloat quite a lot. Do you cramp or bloat if you overdo it on the chia seeds?
I've never taken more than a healthy teaspoon full of Chia seed a day, and not every day either. Boy, and I definitely wouldn't take it if I were having any problems - if bad, I have to resort to a liquid diet for a few days to get my small intestines to calm down.

Here's the package info - says it's "gluten free":
Serving size: 1 Tbsp [12g]
Calories: 60
Total fat: 4g
Total Carbohydrate: 4g
Dietary Fiber: 4g
Protein: 2g
Calcium: 64mg
Iron: 1 mg
Magnesium: 40mg
Omega-3 [alpha-linolenic acid ALA] 2.4g or 150% daily value
mega-6 [linoleic acid LA] 0.8g

Hope this answers your question.


Super Moderator
Thanks for the info! My mother actually has one of those chia pet things so I might try a bit from hers and see how it does on my tummy. I believe she sprouts chia and then eats it on a salad or whatever - do you know anything about the sprouts? I juice a lot of veggies so I might try putting chia sprouts in my juicer too if that would work.
Gee, sprouting sounds interesting! I bet it would be easier to digest that way if the actual seeds were too much fiber for someone. I'll have to read up on the internet and try the sprouting for salads. Sounds good!
I've tried them in smoothies, sprinkled in salads or yogurt, and alone in water - I, um, see them on the way out? Not sure if that means they're doing their job, or not doing their job, or if I'm just still in a flare and seeds are maybe not a wise choice. Either way, they don't cause me any noticeable discomfort. And that part about them turning into a sort of gel when soaked in liquid is kind of fun!
I've been using chia seeds for years, never had an issue. Just start slow and move your way up. I take 1 to 2 tablespoons a day. Just put a spoonful in water and drink it as the day progresses. Just make sure you don't drink it right away, you need to wait 10 - 15mins at least until they swell up. Psyllium husk is okay but chia seeds are more nutritious. Good source of easy fiber, protein, and omega3s. Can't beat it.
Just today I ran into a friend who went on about the benefits of these seeds. He also said a lot about dairy being a bad source of calcium, and calcium supplements being harmful(which I take for osteoporoses), so I kind of thought, I'll read the health info his suggesting, but keep taking my supplements for now. Theses chia seeds sound ok though. Theres so much info that contradicts other info on natural treatments, such as alovera, and such, that I feel like its all too confusing. All these natural supplements are supposed to help our immune system, yet we're supposed to supress it for crohns. I just don't see how acurate health benefit research, on things like this, is, for those of us that take several immune sup, otherwise flare terribly with crohns....
My doctor told me psyllium and chia were the same thing, but further research indicates this is not the case. How funny.