Does an “indoor shower” drink help you have a bowel movement? The benefits and disadvantages of chia seeds

Picture of a glass of water and chia seeds

Most of us are familiar with the discomfort of flatulence and constipation. TikTok and other social media platforms recently popularized the “indoor shower drink” trend. The drink consists of mixing one or two tablespoons of chia seeds in a glass of water, adding lemon juice, leaving it to allow the seeds to absorb the water, and then drinking it all on an empty stomach.

The drink is called an “indoor shower” because some suggest it can act as a cleansing method to improve regularity and Treats constipation. We know chia seeds can be good for your health, but does the drink live up to the hype?

Does chia seed drink work?

Chia seeds can absorb 12 to 15 times their weight in water, which is why the drink has a gel-like consistency. If you can handle the texture, the theory is that the brew adds fibrous mass and weight to your poop, which helps it pass easily. But is it a good exercise to relieve constipation?

“I personally advise against eating large amounts of chia seeds (as suggested in the drink) regularly,” says nutritionist Jenna Wuebker, MS, RD, LMNT. “There are often many easier ways to get healthy fiber in your daily diet to help with bowel regularity.”

Chia seeds have health benefits, but are they best used in moderation?

If you are new to chia seeds, add them slowly to your diet, using about a half to a teaspoon at a time in food. Try adding chia seeds to foods such as oatmeal, yogurt, soups, or smoothies. Continue to gradually increase to about 1 tablespoon per day. Even small amounts are a healthy addition to the diet. They help your body absorb and digest the fiber slowly.

chia seeds benefits

Chia seeds come from a flowering plant that grows in tropical and subtropical regions and is cultivated for food purposes. It contains about 30% oil and is one of the highest sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids available that the human body cannot manufacture. This health benefit can help our bodies reduce inflammation and protect the heart.

When added to foods in moderation, chia seeds have many benefits that include:

  • A high-quality source of insoluble fiber (about 10 grams per 2 tablespoons)
  • Good source of protein and calcium
  • Additional source of iron, phosphorous, zinc and magnesium
  • Rich source of antioxidants

Disadvantages of chia seeds

While fiber is good for your body, too much of it—especially in the amounts needed in a drink—can cause stools to become too hard or loose.

“Everyone’s digestive system is different,” says Wuebker. “But if you suddenly add a lot of fiber to your diet, it can actually cause constipation, especially if you don’t drink more water. It can also cause gas, bloating, gas or diarrhea in some people.”

People with chronic conditions such as gastrointestinal disease (including inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, or ulcerative colitis) should avoid chia seed drinks. This is especially the case during seizures because too much fiber can be harmful. Additionally, a chia seed drink can cause problems if you have diverticulitis or difficulty swallowing.”

Due to the ability of chia seeds to absorb a lot of water, harmful obstructions in the digestive system and esophagus have been reported after trying a chia seed drink for several days.

What Chia Seed Drink Won’t Do

  • There is no evidence that chia seeds detoxify the body or that they are effective in preventing or treating hangovers
  • High amounts of chia seeds to aid weight loss are not sustainable in the long term
  • Chia seeds can help lower cholesterol when added to food regularly, but large amounts are not a quick fix for lowering cholesterol levels.

Foods That Will Do the Same Job as Chia Seed Drink

While adding chia seeds to everyday foods can be a healthy way to gain their benefits, it is not the only way to aid digestion or relieve constipation.

Eating the right foods and leading a healthy lifestyle will bring the highest benefits to your digestive system. Consider fiber, fluids, and physical activity:

  • Fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts not only help soften the stool, but also help the intestines move food along.
  • Omega-3-rich foods like salmon, olive oil, and avocados provide good sources of healthy fats
  • Whole grains such as oatmeal, quinoa, barley, and whole wheat carbohydrates provide a good source of fiber
  • Staying active and hydrated helps your entire digestive system work better
  • Fermented foods not only help your gut, but also have many other health benefits

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