It’s a mixed bag of information on TikTok. There are some truly helpful hacks and, dare we say it, life-changing nuggets of information - how to make the green goddess salad, is prime fodder - a healthy salad that went viral on TikTok and now the rest of the world is making and eating. Wondering what is skin cycling? That's another TikTok trend we're happy to get behind. But there’s also a lot of stuff that’s not great - skincare hacks that doctors say no to for example. The latest one that’s got everyone talking? The internal shower. No, it’s not some new sex fetish - this is a three-ingredient drink that is meant to cleanse and detox your insides, reducing bloating along the way. With just three ingredients it’s meant to keep you regular. We get a nutritionist to tell us whether TikTok’s internal shower drink is healthy and, of course, we try it for ourselves.
The trend has seen a huge increase in engagement over the last few weeks, which is mainly being put down to ‘inventor’ of the drink, Daryl Gioffre - a certified chiropractor turned celebrity nutrition adviser and him sharing the #internalshower recipe on the Skinny Confidential podcast. It contains three ingredients - the star of the show being fibre-rich chia seeds.
What are chia seeds?
They’re very similar in look and feel to poppy seeds and linseeds - teeny, tiny black seeds that don’t look like they do a great deal if we’re being totally honest. But looks can be deceiving. “Chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse,” says nutritionist, Kim Pearson. “They are a fantastic source of fibre providing around 35g per 100g and fibre is well known for its gut health benefits and can help to get things moving if you're struggling with constipation. Many of us don't get the recommended 30g a day but adding chia seeds to your diet will help boost your intake. They're a source of protein and unlike many seeds which mostly provide omega 6, chia seeds provide a good amount of Omega 3 essential fats. They're also a source of the vital minerals magnesium, calcium and iron.”
What is the internal shower drink?
According to Gioffre, the recipe for the internal shower drink is:
- Add 2 tbsp of chia seeds to a full glass of water, he recommends at least 8oz if not 16oz.
- Add freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste - you can add up to 1 whole lemon
- Add 1/8 tsp of salt if needed
- Stir and let the chia seeds absorb the water. After 15 minutes, stir once and more and drink on an empty stomach
Is the internal shower drink good for you?
So long as it's part of a healthy diet and then yes. “As much as I hate to say it, yes. This is one TikTok trend that’s worth doing!” says Kim. “It’s low in calories - as a tablespoon of chia seeds only contains about 60 calories - and mixed into water, will provide a good dose of fibre and help support gut health and motility.”
There is one slight downside, but it’s not health-related, “most chia seeds are produced in central and south America,” says Kim. So in terms of carbon footprint, there could be better alternatives such as UK-grown chia from Hodmedods or Kim recommends trying flaxseeds from The Linseed Farm which provide similar benefits.
First thing in the morning, I head downstairs and stir in two tablespoons into a glass of water. The volume of seeds seems quite excessive. They are tiny and tablespoons are quite big. I’m now thinking that a lot of the TikTok videos I’ve seen with the #internalshower are not putting in anywhere near as much as me - have they done the classic of mistaking tbsp for tsp? Anyway, being the conformist I am, two tablespoons it is. I give it a stir, as that seemed like the right thing to do – add the juice of half a lemon and leave it to stand for 15 minutes.
When I come back to it, half of it has sort of congealed at the top and the other half has congealed at the bottom. The seeds have puffed up slightly and gone slightly jelly-like - which is what chia seeds do however you serve them. To be honest it looks like a glass of early hatching frogspawn and not a patch on my usual morning cup of tea. Anyway, I take a gulp and….I’m sort of OK with it. The volume of water does mean that it sort of just slides down my throat without me noticing too much. A few chia seeds get stuck in my teeth and they’re a slightly grim mix of slimy and crunchy at the same time. The lemon is a nice addition and probably makes the whole thing more palatable.
But my overriding feeling is it feels like quite a lot to drink - I can’t finish the entire glass and if I were to do it again I’d probably halve the ‘recipe’. I can’t say I notice any difference with bloating or going to the toilet but then I don't have any real issues with either of those things anyway. However, if you do and you’re looking for something new to try then what I would say about the #internalshower is that it's not anywhere near as disgusting as I thought it was going to be, it’s not expensive to make so it's definitely worth a go.