Chia seed dangers

Written by karen malzeke-mcdonald
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Chia seed dangers
Chia seeds are the size of a pinhead. (seeds image by Jane from Fotolia.com)

Chia seeds are quickly becoming considered the newest "super food." They have numerous health benefits and can be used as a base ingredient or eaten by themselves. Despite their positive attributes, chia seeds can prove poisonous in some situations. In combination with some medications, chia seeds can also exacerbate any negative side effects.

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Background

Chia seeds were first used as the staple of nutrition in 3500 B.C. in Central America. The scientific name of the plant is Salvia Hispanica, and the chia seed itself is the size of a pinhead. In some cases it may be used as an alternative treatment for cancer. It has been shown to boost energy levels and provide essential nutrients.

Nutrients

Chia seeds are a type of sage and a member of the mint family. They are high in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B-17. In addition they are high in protein and boron, and assist in the absorption of calcium. Chia seeds are also valued for their ability to retain their liquid content and electrolytes.

Dangers

Individuals on blood thinners such as Warfarin need to take caution when eating chia seeds. They lower blood pressure and act as natural blood thinners. In combination with prescription blood thinners, this can increase bleeding and present health dangers.

Chia seed dangers
Individuals taking blood thinners should consult their physician before consuming chia seeds. (blood pressure image by Ivonne Wierink from Fotolia.com)

Allergic Reactions

Chia seeds are still being tested as possible allergens. In some individuals, chia seed consumption can cause watery eyes, hives and rashes. More severe reactions include vomiting, diarrhoea, trouble breathing and swelling of the tongue. If you experience any of these reactions after eating chia seeds, contact your doctor.

Possible Dangers

Other dangerous side effects of chia seeds are being studied. Doctors are uncertain how chia seeds affect pregnant or lactating women, and for this reason are not recommended for them. Some studies have proposed that long-term consumption of chia seeds may lead to addiction. Another study has also linked chia seeds to an increased risk of prostate cancer.

Chia seed dangers
Pregnant women should not consume chia seeds. (pregnant #3 image by Adam Borkowski from Fotolia.com)

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