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Updated April 2022
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Buying guide for Best chia seeds

Chia seeds are teeny tiny seeds that pack a densely nutritious punch. Originating in Mexico and South America, where they were highly valued by the ancient Aztecs and the Maya, these seeds are nowadays championed as a superfood. They are full of omega-3s, fiber, protein, antioxidants, and essential vitamins and minerals.

Chia seeds can be black, white, or brown, but it’s generally the black or white granules that are added to smoothies, acai bowls, protein bars, salads, soups, and more to provide texture, mild flavor, and nutrition. They carry a host of health benefits, including improved heart health, stronger bones, better skin, and balanced blood sugar. And because these little seeds expand once they hit your stomach, they can help keep you feeling fuller longer.

If you’ve never heard of this superseed, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

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Chia seeds are derived from a species in the mint family called Salvia hispanica, which was originally grown in Central and South America, where they were once thought to provide strength and stamina to warriors.

Nutritional value of chia seeds

Although these flattened oval seeds measure about 2.1 millimeters in length, they are rich in protein, fiber, and calcium, making them attractive to those on a plant-based diet. They are also a great source of planted-based omega-3 fatty acids called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). They have high levels of manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus, all essential minerals the body needs. Chia seeds are also high in antioxidants, which fight free radical damage.

In addition, chia seeds are also a good source of vitamins A, B, D, and E and minerals like iron, copper, zinc, niacin, potassium, and thiamine.

Health benefits

Packed with all these phytonutrients, chia seeds provide a host of health benefits.

  • Antioxidants provide anti-aging (especially with the skin) and anticancer properties.

  • High fiber content helps digestion and aids weight loss.

  • Omega-3s may reduce the risk of heart disease.

  • Calcium and manganese reduces the risk of osteoporosis and builds strong bones.

  • ALA and fiber help balance blood sugar.

  • High-protein, low-carb profile boosts energy, stamina, and athletic performance.

  • Amino acid content (they contain all nine) promotes muscle building.

Other reported health benefits may include reduced inflammation, better oral health, hydration support, and protection against diabetes.

Expert Tip
Add a teaspoon of chia seeds to a cake batter to boost its nutritional content. Any more than a teaspoon may affect the fluid content of your batter and change the crumb, so keep in mind your liquid-to-dry ingredient ratios if you decide to experiment.
BestReviews Cooking and Baking Expert

Uses of chia seeds

Hopefully by now you’re convinced chia seeds are good for you, so how the heck do you eat them anyway? Because these seeds are so miniscule and quite bland to the taste, they’re actually very easy to incorporate into your diet.

  • Quick bites: They can be eaten raw or mixed into water to form a gel that’s great as a snack or before workouts.

  • Mix it up: Most commonly, chia seeds are blended into smoothies or sprinkled on top of yogurts, salads, cereals, or rice dishes. Chia pudding recipes are also popular.

  • Get baking: They can be used in baking, and can be switched in as an egg substitute for vegan recipes. Because they absorb water, they’re great for thickening sauces. Also, did we mention they’re naturally gluten-free?

  • Experiment!: You can toss a spoonful of these superseeds into almost any dish to give it a nutritional boost and a little crunch.
Expert Tip
If you make jams, try swapping chia seeds for the typical pectin. The seeds absorb 10x their dry weight in water, so you can thicken jams without adding the bitterness of pectin. Less bitterness means less sugar needed to balance the flavor.
BestReviews Cooking and Baking Expert



Chia seeds are sold in two colors: white and black. There is no nutritional difference between the colors. You may find that a recipe calls for a certain color merely for aesthetic purposes.

Brown chia seeds should be avoided as their color is an indicator that the seeds didn’t develop fully (possibly due to a lack of sunlight or other factors). They lack the high nutritional value of white and black seeds and often have a bitter taste.


Chia seeds come in plastic bags or jars. Jars may be easier for some to access the seeds. When selecting bags, check for a resealable, Ziploc-like opening for better storage.

Expert TIp
Try your chia seeds in something savory. Use 1 tablespoon in a stir fry, or try it as a crispy crumb coat for meat or fish.
BestReviews Cooking and Baking Expert


Many manufacturers offer chia seeds that were cultivated without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and other chemicals that aren’t awesome for your health.

Chia seed prices


Low-priced chia seeds cost about 21 to 37 cents per ounce. Even though they’re cheaper, you can still find organic and non-GMO options in this price bucket.


Mid-priced chia seeds range from 48 to 54 cents per ounce.


High-end chia seeds range from around 67 cents to more than a dollar per ounce. These are premium brands that are certified organic.


  • Unlike flaxseed, you don’t need to grind chia seeds before use to unlock their nutritional value. Chia seed powder (ground or “milled” chia seeds) is sold mostly for culinary purposes.

  • To add crunch to your morning oatmeal or porridge, sprinkle in some chia seeds. Be aware they will swell when they absorb liquid from wet dishes.

  • Soak one-fourth cup of chia seeds in 1 cup of water or nut milk for 20 minutes to make a tapioca-like pudding. This concoction can be refrigerated for taste.

  • To use chia seeds as an egg substitute, mix 1 tablespoon of ground chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water per egg in the recipe.

  • Remember ch-ch-ch-chia pets? You can make your own by sprouting these seeds in dirt in an animal-shaped pot (don’t forget to water). Chia sprouts are also edible and great for salads.

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Chia seeds are high in soluble fiber and can absorb 10 to 12 times their weight in water; they become an expanding, gel-like substance in your stomach that makes you feel full.


Q. How much chia seed should I eat to receive their health benefits?

A. The recommended amount is 1.5 tablespoons twice a day. Be aware that increasing your fiber intake can lead to digestive upset, like loose bowels, so we recommend starting at a lower dose and gradually increase. As always, when increasing your fiber, be sure to drink plenty of fluids.

Q. Is it necessary to soak chia seeds before consuming them?

A. Some nutrition experts recommend soaking chia seeds before eating to make them more digestible. The trend to soak grains, seeds, and legumes (also known as “sprouting”) is believed to make them more digestible by releasing enzyme inhibitors that are designed to protect the seed. This process is also believed to increase the amount of nutrients available. However, this is a topic up for debate, and it certainly won’t hurt you to eat chia seeds raw.

Q. What’s the best way to store my chia seeds?

A. Chia seeds are best stored in a plastic or glass container with a tight-fitting lid. It’s best to store them in a dark, cool place like a pantry. You can also store them in the fridge, although it’s not necessary. Chia seeds can last two to four years without going rancid if stored properly.

Q. What’s the deal with gel made from chia seeds?

A. Due to chia seeds’ soluble fiber content, and the fact that their outer shell can absorb ten times their weight in liquid, when mixed with water, chia seeds form a gel. This gel was used by natives of Central and South America as “the running food” to give hydration and endurance for conquests and for running long distances between settlements. When ingested, researchers believe that this gel creates a barrier between carbs and enzymes in the stomach and slows the conversion of carbs to sugar, giving you an energy boost.

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