Do you or have you had seeds in your poop? Flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, etc.
If you are the type of person that spends a lot of time worrying about their poop then the sight of undigested seeds may stir some worry.
If you aren't the type of person that spends time worrying about their poop, well, you should... after all... healthy poop often means a healthy individual.
So does this mean you are unhealthy if you have seeds in your poop? Did you just try eating a healthy meal with chia seeds, flax seeds, and maybe even hemp seeds... only to find out that you might not be healthy?
The good news is that undigested seeds found in poop is a normal occurrence and there is a perfectly good explanation for this. So don't panic... you don't have to rush to the doctor and this doesn't mean you have something wrong with you.
The bad news is that those undigested seeds aren't doing a thing for you. All of that potential nutrition that they contain went right through you without being absorbed.
Seeds In Poop and The Reason Behind It
As you probably already know, seeds often have a hard outer layer. This is to protect the seeds from an evolutionary standpoint so that they can survive their early days.
This hard outer layer is called the 'seed coat', and its sole purpose is to help protect the fragile embryo with hopes that it will go on to grow and reproduce.
Some seeds, like those in tasty berries, such as blueberries and blackberries, have evolved to withstand the digestion of animals after being eaten.
Chia seeds, flax seeds, etc. may not have evolved hard out shells for this particular reason, but the fact of the matter is that they still have hard outer shells for protection in one way or another, making them difficult for us humans to digest.
Chia Seeds vs Flax Seeds
While all seeds have some general characteristics that are the same, there still can be a lot of difference.
If you put whole flax seeds into water you aren't going to notice anything special. However, if you put whole chia seeds into water you will notice that they form a gel-like substance around them. Flax seeds will get a bit goey on the outside, but not near the level that chia seeds do.
The reason for this is because their outer shells are penetrable by water. They absorb water and soften at the same time.
Soaking your seeds in a liquid before consumption, such as by adding them to a smoothie, will help soften before they enter the digestive system and can help with overall digestion--although the inner portion of the seeds that didn't soften still might not get digested... which leaves us with the same problem of having undigested (or not fully digested) seeds that we aren't getting much nutrition from.
Warning: Don't eat dry chia seeds and then drink water right after. They can absorb 10-12x their body-weight (some sources say up to 27x) and can cause a dangerous blockage in your throat.
Chia seeds and such can be softened through water absorption to aid digestion, are there any better solutions? What if this still doesn't work for you and you still get undigested seeds?
Eat gravel. Some birds, such as pigeons for example, swallow huge amounts of gravel as they eat seeds to help grind the seeds during digestion.
But in all seriousness, birds often do consume rocks, shells, and other hard objects to help aid seed digestion.
Of course us humans aren't going to be doing this however. But we still need to break down that outer shell in some cases to help out our digestion.
The solution is to eat cut or ground seeds... simple as that. These are seeds in which the hard outer shell has already been broken down, by mechanical intervention.
The Best Solution... Which Is Slightly Inconvenient
The easy solution is to simply buy ground seed at the store. It is usually pretty easy to find ground chia, flax, hemp, etc. seed in your local Walmart and other large supermarkets.
However, if you want to get the most nutritional benefit out of your seeds then this might not be the best solution.
Seeds are usually high in fat and this fat can start to oxidize, which will cause loss of nutrition and it will also cause the taste to be bit off.
While most sources state that chia and flax seeds can last for years before 'expiring' (doesitgobad.com suggests up to 2 years for chia seeds), there is some controversy here and others claim they can go rancid quicker than you think... or at least 'semi-rancid' where their nutritional value would decrease.
So this means that you should probably eat your seed as you go--and definitely don't stockpile a bunch just because there is a sale.
The slightly more inconvenient alternative which may be the best of all is to simply grind or cut your seeds yourself. This way you are getting the freshest cut/ground seeds possible.
A coffee grinder can be a quick and easy tool for doing such.
*There is no need to change your life around in order to ensure your chia and flax seed doesn't go bad--but don't store it in the basement for ages like you might canned beans.
- Having undigested chia seeds and flax seeds in your poop is normal.
- This is because the outer layer of seeds is hard to digest, which helps to ensure their survival.
- The problem here is that you are likely eating the seeds for nutritional purposes and if they are coming out whole then this means you aren't getting any of that good nutrition!
- The solution is to cut/grind your chia/flax seed to break down the shell--letting them soak in liquid is another alternative but it won't be as effective.
We appreciate your time and hope you experience the great digestion you deserve! Please leave your comments/questions below...