Chia seeds are a good source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. They may help improve digestion and reduce irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms, such as constipation.

IBS is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder that affects the digestive system. Symptoms of IBS include abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation.

One recommendation for managing IBS symptoms is to eat a nutritious diet high in fiber and low in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols or FODMAPs.

This article discusses how chia seeds may benefit people with IBS and how to use them.

A bowl and spoon full of chia seeds.Share on Pinterest
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Chia seeds have many nutritional benefits that can help people manage IBS. They are also more tolerable than some treatments for IBS.

Chia seeds may help people with IBS in the following ways:

Reduce inflammation

Chia seeds are a good source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce inflammation and support healthy digestion.

The omega-3 fatty acids and caffeic acid in chia seeds may reduce inflammation in the gut. This can alleviate symptoms of IBS, such as abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea.

Chia seeds are also low in FODMAPs, making them a safe option for people with IBS.

Learn about the low FODMAP diet.

Improve gut health

A healthy gut has a balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria. Dysbiosis, or an imbalance of gut bacteria, can lead to inflammation and other problems.

Chia seeds are good for gut health because they contain fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients can increase the number of good bacteria, reduce the number of bad bacteria, and improve the gut lining. This prevents harmful bacteria from entering the body.

Prevents constipation

Chia seeds are a great source of dietary fiber, which can help regulate bowel movements and prevent constipation in people with IBS-C.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, a 28 gram (g) [1 ounce (oz)] or 2 1/2 tablespoon (tbsp) serving of chia seeds contains 11.2 g of fiber.

Since chia seeds have such a high fiber content, they likely speed up intestinal transit and help people manage constipation.

Learn about the benefits and nutritional values of chia seeds.

People can eat chia seeds in many ways, including:

  • Sprinkling: Sprinkle chia seeds onto cereals, yogurt, salads, or smoothies for added texture and nutrition.
  • Mixing: Mix chia seeds with water or liquids to create a thickener for jams, sauces, and dressings.
  • Baking: Add chia seeds to muffin or bread mixtures for an extra fiber boost.
  • Egg substitute: Combine 1 tbsp of ground chia seeds with 4 tbsp of warm water as a quick egg substitute.
  • Chia pudding: Mix 2 tbsp of chia seeds with 1/2 cup of milk or a plant-based alternative and let it sit overnight in the fridge.

While chia seeds are safe for most people, eating too many may cause side effects. Excessive fiber intake may lead to digestive issues, such as abdominal cramps or flatulence, particularly for people not used to eating fiber-rich foods.

Excessive fiber intake may also impair how the body absorbs essential minerals from foods such as zinc, iron, and calcium.

The USDA recommends a dietary fiber intake of 14 g per 1,000 calories of food. Getting fiber from a variety of plant foods provides many nutritional benefits. The best sources include vegetables, fruits, beans and peas, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.

Some people may be allergic to chia seeds, but this is rare.

Find recipes for IBS.

Chia seeds may benefit people with IBS due to their high fiber and omega-3 fatty acid content. These nutrients can help regulate bowel movements, reduce inflammation, and improve gut health.

People can eat chia seeds in many ways, including sprinkling them onto yogurt, mixing them into smoothies or dressings, or using them as an egg substitute.