“Chia seed water” is the newest health trend making the rounds on TikTok. Chia seeds are tiny flaxseeds that grow in South America and are known as a superfood due to their many associated health benefits, such as improved mood, gut health and skin. The recipe calls for combining 1 tablespoon chia seeds with lemon juice in a glass of water and drinking the concoction 30 minutes before meals. I decided to transform into a human guinea pig and try drinking chia seed water for seven days to see whether it’s worth the hype. Here are my main takeaways from the experiment!
Claim one: Helps keep your bowel movements regular
As one of the most fiber-dense foods, chia seeds are able to absorb up to 15 times their weight in water, thereby facilitating the elimination of waste products in your intestines. In other words, they help you poop. The most obvious change I noticed was that I indeed had to use the bathroom more frequently than before. If you suffer from constipation, then chia seeds might be your new best friend. But if you’re happy with the current state of your bowel, perhaps the addition of chia seed water would add too much soluble fiber to your diet, leading to more discomfort than comfort.
Claim two: Helps prevent overeating
Another benefit of chia seeds’ high fiber content is that the water they absorb causes the seeds to expand within your stomach. If you drink a glass of chia seed water before meals, it supposedly will prevent you from overeating since the seeds’ expansion into a thick gel will make you feel full. However, I personally did not feel like my appetite changed much when I incorporated chia seeds into my water. It felt like I was eating the same amount as before. I also caution people against using supposed “appetite suppressants” — such as chia seeds — to keep from eating. Always listen to your natural hunger cues and eat intuitively!
Claim three: Improves mood
Chia seeds contain a high amount of omega-3 fatty acid, a valuable and healthy fat that is essential for normal bodily function. Researchers have found many other benefits associated with omega-3 fatty acids as well, such as improvements in cardiovascular health, mood and behavior. Chia seeds also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that facilitates your body’s natural production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter linked to mood regulation. Although correlation doesn’t equal causation, I did feel like my mood was more stable and I felt less anxious during the seven-day experiment. However, this could also be attributed to a slew of other personal reasons besides the ingestion of chia seed water, such as therapy.
Claim four: Improves the appearance of skin
Lastly, the combination of the benefits listed above, such as high omega-3 levels, high absorbency of water, the promotion of healthy gut bacteria and the mood-boosting power of chia seeds, supposedly all work to give you glowing skin as well! The healthy fats from omega-3 coupled with the high antioxidant activity of chia seeds work to promote tissue repair and fight free radical damage, thereby keeping your hair, skin and nails strong. High water absorbency also helps keep your skin hydrated and supple. I definitely noticed an improvement in my skin tone and texture during this seven-day experiment, and it was a pleasant surprise to find my skin looking healthier and less blotchy.
Reflecting back on my chia seed water experience, I wouldn’t call the health trend eye-opening or life-changing. Though chia seeds undeniably come packed with a lot of important nutrients that promote health, perhaps just 1 tablespoon added to either your water, smoothies or oatmeal is enough to reap the benefits! Don’t think you need to run to the store and stock up on chia seeds after reading this article. They certainly aren’t a necessity for your overall well-being.