What Are the Benefits of Drinking Chia Seeds

By: Bob's Red Mill | April 4 2018
Chia seeds are one of the trendiest foods on the market these days. You can find them in all kinds of health foods stores and recipes, but as with all trendy foods, the real question is what exactly are chia seeds, and are they truly that good for you? The basic truth is that chia seeds are actually one of the few foods that are packed with nutrients, and very few (if any) negative side effects. We did some research to see if all the hype surrounding chia seeds was worth it, and you will be surprised at what we found! Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about these little seeds and why experts in the health and nutrition world are crazy about them!

What Are Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds originated from a Mexican plant called Salvia Hispanica, and they are tiny, round seeds that can come in black or white. Chia seeds are unique in that they do not have a ton of flavor, so you can add them to almost any meal you want. They absorb water and can expand into a gelatinous substance over time if they are left to soak. The best thing about them though is that the amount of nutrients packed into each little seed is almost unbelievable, and you cannot really go wrong adding them to your diet. The legend says that Aztec warriors and runners would have a spoonful of chia seeds and then be going strong for 24 hours. While we do not recommend doing exactly that, we think the sentiment is definitely still there! Chia seeds will power you through any tough day, whether on the trail or just at the office.

What Are the Benefits of Chia Seeds?

The benefits of chia seeds are plentiful, which is why it is a highly praised ingredient within the nutrition industry. The most surprising thing about chia seeds is how much nutrition is packed into under 140 calories! Each ounce of chia seeds (seriously, only an ounce!) contains about 11g of fiber and 4g of protein, not to mention the omega fatty acids, calcium, zinc, phosphorus, and potassium, just to name a few. A typical serving size is about 1 1/2-2 ounces, so you get even more benefits than this! All of these nutrients can have a positive impact on your body's overall health, so let us explore exactly how chia seeds can help you feel better inside and out! Fiber and Digestion The biggest value you will find in chia seeds is the dietary fiber. One ounce of chia seeds contains 11g of fiber, almost half of the daily recommended value for women, and about one-third of the daily recommended value for men (25g and 38g, respectively). The typical serving size actually contains almost all the fiber you will need for the day, making chia seeds a great addition for a healthy diet. Fiber has been linked to numerous health benefits, but is most commonly known for its assistance with the digestive tract. We talk a little more specifically about this here, but the basic idea is that fiber helps your body absorb the proper nutrients, and also helps your body to expel those nutrients at the right time for maximum benefit. Most of the carbohydrate grams in chia seeds are from dietary fiber, which means that they will not raise your blood sugar levels and are typically easier for most people to digest. This high fiber consumption has been linked to lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. With only a spoonful or two of chia seeds needed to reach your daily recommended value, fighting off disease has never been so easy! Weight Loss Woo-hoo, this heading always gets me excited! Yes, chia seeds can also help with weight loss, some studies suggest! This will, of course, depend on your overall activity levels, diet, and physical makeup, but fiber itself has been linked to weight loss in many cases. The fiber absorbs water in your stomach, which helps curb your appetite. Furthermore, we mentioned that chia seeds contain a good amount of protein as well (about 4g per ounce). This protein serves a similar function with weight loss and has been shown in many studies to help with weight loss more than almost any other nutrient. Chia seeds have more protein than almost any other plant source, so if you are vegetarian or vegan, this is a perfect protein supplement to add to your diet! The protein helps curb your appetite, to help you feel fuller longer and keep you from snacking between meals. The combination of carbohydrates and protein in chia seeds have additional nutritional benefits as well: most notably, this combo helps chia seeds to refuel you throughout the day and give you the extra energy you need to keep moving! Those Aztec warriors were not kidding when they said that chia seeds would keep you going all day, add them to your morning shake or pre-workout drink, and you'll definitely feel the added energy! Benefits Against Aging Chia seeds also provide many natural deterrents to common signs of aging. They are high in calcium, which has of course been linked to better bone health. One ounce of chia seeds contains about 18% of your daily recommended calcium intake. Other nutrients that have been linked to bone strength over time include manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium, all of which can be found in chia seeds. Complement your daily milk intake with chia seeds for a quick boost of bone health without all the side effects of drinking milk! Especially if you are vegan or lactose intolerant, this is a great way to make up for that calcium intake. Another great way that chia seeds prevent signs of aging is through fighting free radicals. Free radicals have been shown to lead to wrinkles, damage in your skin, and more extreme issues such as cancer. The antioxidants in chia seeds help fight against these free radicals, helping you avoid skin problems and, potentially, even cancer. There are a few different types of chia seeds, typically identified by color, and studies have shown that the darker ones are richer in antioxidants than the lighter ones, so keep that in mind. Antioxidants can also help to prevent cardiovascular disease as well. We always recommend keeping a balanced nutritional profile in order to maintain a healthy diet, which is best accomplished by mixing the two colors. However you eat your chia seeds, they will be helpful in keeping your skin and bones feeling young and refreshed.

How to Drink Chia Seeds

It’s very simple to make a chia seed drink! The best way is to add 3 tablespoons of chia seeds to a cup of water. Stir the water until it’s completely mixed in. Put it in the fridge and the next morning the chia seeds will grow in size become a gel-like texture that’s easy to drink! Negative Effects of Eating Chia Seeds In addition to all of these positive effects, most foods will have a few negatives to watch out for as well. Everything in moderation, as we like to say. However, when it comes to chia seeds, one of our favorite traits is that these edible seed superfoods have very few if any, negative side effects reported. Obviously, this does not mean you can live off of chia seeds alone, but as long as you are mixing them in with an otherwise balanced diet, you should be fine to consume them regularly. You should always proceed with caution when adding a new food into your diet for the first time: some people have reported stomach discomfort when they first add chia seeds to their diet. This is most likely a side effect of the high fiber content. If you are not used to eating a high fiber diet, then adding a lot suddenly can be troublesome. We recommend adding the chia seeds slowly to avoid this discomfort, but after a few days of adding chia to your diet, you should be ready to go! The only other possible side effect comes if you have trouble swallowing, or a condition called dysphagia. Because chia seeds expand when wet, there have been a couple instances of people with trouble swallowing getting chia seeds stuck in their esophageal tract. This should only be an issue if you have a history of dysphagia or trouble swallowing, though! Overall, experts agree that adding chia seeds to your diet is a low-risk food, especially when compared to all the amazing health benefits we have discussed above. We recommend upping your water intake as well when you first start eating chia, because chia seeds do absorb quite a bit of water, and you may start to feel dehydrated if you do not compensate correctly. In general, referring to chia seeds as a superfood seems not too far off from the truth. They are tiny, but packed with a ton of amazing nutrients! Chia seeds are perfect sprinkled on top of yogurt or smoothies, and they also serve as a completely vegan binding agent in cooking or baking if you need a substitute for eggs! These superfood chia seeds are practically magical in all the anti-aging and disease-fighting nutritional benefits that they provide to your body, not to mention their effect on curbing your appetite to help with weight loss. Check out all of our favorite chia seed recipes as well as our very own Organic Chia Seeds and let us know what you think!   Sources:
  1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds
  2. https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/truth-about-chia
  3. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-chia-seeds

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  1. Betty Daniels
    Where do I find Chia seeds? We went to a health food store, where they had Chia tea, but no seeds. There was only 1 box of tea also.
    1. Sarena Shasteen
      Hi Betty, here's a link to our store finder to help you find chia seeds locally, but you can also order them from our website if you don't find them at your local store. https://www.bobsredmill.com/store-finder.html
  2. Kathy
    For some reason the Chia seed recipes are not showing up...
    1. Sarena Shasteen
      Hi Kathy, the recipes are in the tab at the top of the page. When you click on that, it takes you to all of our recipes that have chia seeds in them.
  3. May groot
    Hi I found the chia seeds in the local lidls and for 1.99 euros, much more expensive in health food shops and exactly the same
  4. Ravinder
    Whats the recommended quantity of Chia seeds for men ?
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Ravinder - the recommended serving size is 2 Tbsp.
  5. Roberta
    I heard from a family member about chia seeds in water... but I got so excited about it because I been battling with my weight... I was diagnosed recently with Diverticulitis and went bought a bag but 1st 2 bottles and it flared up my diverticulitis...so this no good for me
  6. Lauri
    Why don't I see magnesium on the nutrition facts on your whole chia seed bag that I just bought?
    1. Elisabeth Allie
      Hi Lauri! Thank you for asking. With our packaging, according to FDA regulations, we can only list nutritional info for nutrients we have specifically tested for. We did not test our chia seeds for magnesium.

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