Looking and feeling your best is a universal goal most people hope to achieve. The unfortunate reality, however, is that going to the gym is a luxury not everyone can afford—money or time-wise. For the average person who isn’t a gym junkie, get-fit-quick hacks may hold a ton of appeal. With a plethora of wellness content readily available online, it is easy to see why many gravitate towards viral diets or recipes created by self-proclaimed health gurus on TikTok.
As tantalising as it is to jump on the latest health trend, quick fitness hacks may not always be a step in the right direction. We have seen countless fads come and go—from the fat-rich keto diet to puzzling recipes for soda alternatives (the latest version is a startling combination of balsamic vinegar and sparkling water).
What exactly is an ‘Internal Shower’?
The latest viral trend to hit the ‘for you’ page on TikTok is the ‘Internal Shower’. The aptly-named chia seed-based drink has quickly soared in popularity, with numerous videos attesting to the recipe’s effectiveness in aiding weight loss and preventing bloating. The drink is essentially meant to be utilised as a laxative, helping to relieve constipation by inducing bowel movements. The recipe itself is unusually simple—calling only for a tablespoon of chia seeds, a glass of water and some lemon or lime juice. All you have to do is stir the ingredients together and let the mixture sit for 10 to 15 minutes until it turns gelatinous.
Be warned, the recipe may seem easy, but a result is a drink that isn’t the most pleasing to the tastebuds. It sounds promising—if you can ignore its taste—but still the question remains: does the ‘Internal Shower’ really work?
The science behind the trend
According to registered dietitian Samar Kullab, chia seeds are nutritional powerhouses that hold a multitude of health benefits. “Beyond being rich in calcium, magnesium, copper and iron, the superfood is also a great source of healthy fats and fibre,” says Kullab.
For those who are keen on incorporating chia seeds into their diets, Kullab shares a tip: “If your diet is typically low in fibre, you want to increase your fibre intake slowly to avoid bloating and constipation. The recommended amount of fibre per day is 25 to 30 grams.”
Creators on TikTok have also suggested that this drink can help to eliminate parasites or improve kidney function—much loftier claims which according to Kullab, are not supported by research. As such, while it may be tempting to take several ‘Internal Showers’ daily to keep your gut problems at bay, it is best to stay mindful of your intake.
If you are looking for a quick weight-loss method, this drink may not be answer, either. Instead of alleviating constipation, over-consumption can risk upsetting your bowel. “If you are experiencing any of the following: not passing stool for several days, abdominal pain, bloating, nausea or vomiting, please do not try this trend and see a doctor immediately,” Kullab warns.
This isn’t to say that you should write off chia seeds completely. On the contrary, there are many enjoyable ways to consume the ingredient while reaping its benefits. Kullab recommends adding chia seeds to smoothies or mixing them into your oatmeal, yoghurt and even salads. Alternatively, you can swap them out for other high-fibre foods such as leafy greens, lentils or berries.
To see chia seeds at their best, try Kullab’s take on Kim Kardashian’s chia seed pudding recipe for a hearty breakfast. Top it off with your favourite fruit for a touch of sweetness and to further amp up the nutrition quotient. Alternatively, opt for a decadent chocolate chia mousse recipe, perfect for dessert.