Diarrhea is defined as "excessive watery evacuations of fecal matter," but can be easily alleviated by consuming the chia seed. The water-absorbing properties of the chia seed make it an excellent remedy for diarrhea. Other uses include as an energy booster and treatment for constipation and other intestinal problems. Chia seeds help the body maintain its fluid and electrolyte balance, which are thrown off when the body is suffering from diarrhea. Only a small amount of chia seeds are necessary to cure the discomfort of diarrhea.
Chia seeds were used for centuries as a staple food by the Native Americans of Mexico and the Southwest as well as the Aztecs and Mayas. Named "the running food," the seed was celebrated by the Aztecs as a "high energy endurance food." It is said that Aztec warriors consumed only chia seeds during battle. Native Americans of the Southwest would eat a teaspoonful of the seed before embarking on a 24-hour march. Native Americans who ran from the Colorado River to the coast of California trading turquoise for seashells ate only the chia seed.
Chia seed is extremely rich in fiber and absorbs up to 12 times its weight in water, making it an excellent treatment for constipation and intestinal problems as well as diarrhea. There are 7 g of fiber in 2 tbsp. of chia seed. The outer layer of the seed is rich in mucilloid fiber, which is also found in blond psyllium seeds that are also used for intestinal issues. This outer layer absorbs more than seven times its weight in water.
Chia seed controls diarrhea when it is mixed with stomach juices (or water). The seeds form a gel called hydrophilic colloid, a watery, glue-like, gelatinous substance. Because chia seeds as a whole can hold up to 12 times their weight in water, body fluids work more efficiently in the body and electrolyte balance stays normal and healthy. Diarrhea causes the body to lose large amounts of fluids and also causes electrolyte imbalance. Chia seeds work extremely well in even the severest cases of diarrhea.
When consuming chia seeds to treat diarrhea, it is best to eat them in powdered or seed form. Use a nut grinder for turning the seeds into powder. Soaking them in water before consumption is not necessary. You want the seeds to absorb what is causing your diarrhea. Feel free to soak the seeds before consumption if you are using the seeds for something else, otherwise the seeds will absorb all the water in your stomach. It is always best to start out slowly when trying a new remedy, so start with 1 tbsp. of the powdered seed and move on to 2 tbsp. when you are comfortable. Also try sprinkling the powdered seed on oatmeal or adding it to smoothies.
Chia seeds can cause allergic reactions in some people. Those with allergies to mustard seeds should not consume chia seeds. Allergic reactions include watery eyes, vomiting, hives, skin rashes and swelling of the tongue, mouth and throat. They can also cause breathing difficulty. The high fiber content can also cause gas and bloating. Consult with your doctor if you are taking other medications or supplements before taking chia seeds. Do not take chia seeds before bedtime because they are an energy-producing food.
Kent Page McGroarty has worked as a writer since 2006, contributing numerous articles to various websites. She is a frequent contributor to the health and fitness sections of the online magazine EDGE Publications and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Saint Joseph's University.