Chia Seeds – Health Benefits and Potential Side Effects

Alpa Momaya

March 14, 2023

Chia seeds, also known as salvia hispanica, are known to have several health benefits due to the presence of important minerals and nutrients in them. Their role in assisting weight loss, improving bone health, and improving cardiovascular health, has prompted experts to deem this whole grain option a superfood.

9 Proven Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

The abundance of nutrients in them means chia seeds have a host of health benefits. Here’s a list of 9 benefits of these seeds:

  • Assists in Weight Loss
  • Enhances Digestive Health
  • Full of Antioxidants
  • Great Source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  • High Nutrient Density
  • Improves Dental Health
  • Improves Bone Health
  • Prevents Spike in Sugar Levels
  • Improves Cardiovascular Health

1. Chia Seeds Assists in Weight Loss

When you eat food which is rich in protein and fiber, it will lead to weight loss. Fiber present in chia seeds makes you feel full, as it expands after absorbing large volumes of water from your body. They can absorb water up to 12 times their weight.

Also, these seeds provide high amounts of protein, another nutrient that decreases your appetite. Remember to complement the chia seeds in your diet with a healthy lifestyle, which makes it easier to lose weight.

2. Chia Seeds Enhances Digestive Health

For every 28 grams of chia seeds, you get almost 11 grams of fiber, allowing you to get the required amount of this nutrient from a single serving. The dietary fiber, present in these seeds, has a positive impact on your bowel movement, while giving your stool a healthy appearance.

An interesting thing to note is that chia seeds create a substance which resembles gelatin, after consumption. They form this substance because of the presence of soluble fiber. It improves your digestive health by encouraging prebiotics to grow in your gut.

3. Chia Seeds Full of Antioxidants

Studies show that antioxidants fight free radical production in your body. Free radicals are dangerous, as they damage your cells. As a result of this, they can cause diseases like cancer during the later stages of life. Also, they are responsible for ageing and cognitive decline.

The antioxidant content in chia seeds can protect your cells from these dangers. Keep in mind that obtaining antioxidants from natural sources is better than consuming supplements.

4. Chia Seeds Great Source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Chia seeds are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Therefore, they manage and prevent heart diseases, by reducing blood pressure. It also decreases the fat in your liver, improves joint and bone health, prevents your skin from ageing prematurely, and increases the quality of sleep.

By eating chia seeds, your body gets the required amounts of Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA). Consume fish oil, DHA supplements, or fatty fish along with them so that your body can convert ALA into its more active and useful forms, DHA and EPA.

There was a study published in the Journal of Molecular Biochemistry, which examined the impact of ALA on cervical and breast cancer. The researchers found that ALA destroys cancer cells while keeping the healthy ones out of harm’s way. There needs to be more research on the impact of ALA on other types of cancer. However, it is good to know that it can help fight some variants.

5. Chia Seeds High Nutrient Density

One of the main reasons why chia seeds are gaining popularity all around the world is because of its high nutrient density. By eating two tablespoons of chia seeds, you get calcium, carbohydrates, fat, fiber, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, protein, and vitamin A. It also provides small amounts of copper, potassium, and zinc.

6. Chia Seeds Improves Dental Health

Nutrients such as zinc, phosphorus, calcium, and vitamin A are great for your teeth. The presence of calcium in chia seeds helps strengthen your teeth, making them great for dental health. At the same time, zinc keeps tartar at bay, by preventing plaque from building up. Also, due to its antibacterial effects, the germs responsible for bad breath cannot sustain themselves. Phosphorus and vitamin A keep your mouth healthy and add to the strength of your teeth.

7. Chia Seeds Improves Bone Health

A single serving of chia seeds can account for about 18% of your daily calcium requirements. This mineral is an important nutrient for bone health, as it maintains their mass and strength. They also contain boron, which further improves your bone health. It is responsible for metabolising phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, and manganese, which promotes healthy growth in your bones.

8. Chia Seeds Prevents Spike in Sugar Levels

Chia seeds are a great source of fiber, due to which your body doesn’t need to increase the amount of blood sugar to digest them. As a result of this, your pancreas doesn’t have to increase its production of insulin. When you consume food with high amounts of fiber, it will stabilise your blood sugar.

A study conducted by National Institute of Medicine has shown what happens when you consume a diet which has 14 grams of fiber out of 1,000 calories. There is a considerable reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes. There was another study, which showed the positive effects of these tiny seeds on diabetes patients. For 12 weeks, 20 patients got either wheat bran or chia seeds. The researchers found out that the patients who ate chia seeds were showing signs of improvement in health markers such as vWF, hs-CRP, and blood pressure.

9. Chia Seeds Improves Cardiovascular Health

According to certain recent studies, dietary fiber can help regulate the immune system and inflammation. Therefore, eating more chia seeds could decrease the risk of inflammation-related conditions such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

A higher fiber intake has been known to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. A review consisting of 67 different controlled trials showed that a modest 10-gram increase in fiber intake everyday reduced LDL or “bad cholesterol”, as well as total cholesterol levels in the body. Therefore, the consumption of chia seeds can help bring cholesterol levels under control.

How to Eat Chia Seeds?

There are several ways you can consume these healthy seeds. To ensure that your body can absorb all the nutrients, you should soak or grind them, before consumption.

Although there is a lot of debate about whether you should eat them raw or soaked, there is no difference in either. However, when you soak the seeds, it removes the protective “enzyme inhibitors.”

If you plan on soaking them, mix one and a half tablespoons of chia seeds with a single cup of water. By following this procedure, the mixture doesn’t become watery. Allow the seeds to settle in the water for at least 30 minutes before consuming them. If you grind the seeds, make sure that you store it in a sealed container, kept inside the refrigerator. Here are a few things you can do to consume chia seeds:

Add it to Muffins, Waffles, Homemade Granola Bars, and Pancakes

If you find it hard to stay away from food such as pancakes, homemade granola bars, muffins, waffles, and pancakes, you can add chia seeds, and make them nutritious. Its neutral flavour ensures that these dishes remain just as delicious.

Combine it with Vegetables, Meat, or Fish

Improve the nutritional value of vegetables, meat, or fish, by simply adding chia seeds to them. This would also result in an extra layer of crunchiness.

Make a Jam

You can replace pectin with chia seeds, as they can soak up water from your jam. At the same time, pectin is quite bitter, due to which, you have to add a lot of sugar, to make your jam sweet. For example, heat water and blueberries on a pan, till they become soft. Pulverise the berries with the help of a potato masher, before adding cinnamon, honey, and lemon juice.

Stop heating the mixture and add chia seeds. Transfer the mixture into a bowl and store it in the refrigerator till it gets the consistency of a jam. If you don’t like blueberries, you can replace them with plums, peaches, or any other fruit of your choice.

Make a Pudding

As chia seeds can absorb large quantities of liquid, you can soak them in milk or water overnight. The next day, they will transform this mixture into a pudding-like texture. You can convert this into a delicious pudding by adding cacao/cocoa powder, maple syrup, almond milk/regular milk, and vanilla extract.

Blend all these items together till the texture becomes creamy and smooth. Store this pudding in the refrigerator for at least three to five hours, before consumption.

Top off Oatmeal or Yoghurt

Adding chia seeds to oatmeal would require minimal effort. You can also add it as a topping for your yoghurt. If you find the gelatinous texture weird, add the chia seeds just before you consume these dishes.

Make a Smoothie

You can also choose to drink these seeds in the form of a Green Chia Smoothie. Simply put together 2 cups of spinach, 1.5 cups of water, and 2 tablespoons of chia seeds, and blend them.

You can then add a peeled orange, a cup of frozen blueberries, and one cup of strawberries, before blending again.

Side Effects of Chia Seeds

While they are a predominantly healthy snack, a few health risks have been observed to be associated with this superfood. A few potential side effects of consuming chia seeds are listed below:

  • While fiber is important for one’s health, excessive intake can cause abdominal pain, constipation and bloating. Eating too many chia seeds can lead to digestive problems if not consumed correctly. However, these negative symptoms can be prevented or regulated by increasing fiber intake slowly, and drinking a lot of water to help it pass through the body.
  • While they may be safe to most people, the consumption of chia seeds comes with the risk of choking. One must always consume these seeds carefully, especially if they have problems swallowing. This risk is due to the fact that chia seeds swell up and can absorb 10-12 times their weight when they are exposed to water.
  • Chia seeds are known to contain a good amount of Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA). Some studies say that excessive ALA intake may be associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer.
  • Although uncommon, people have been known to be allergic to chia seeds. Symptoms of the allergy may include vomiting, diarrhea and itching of the lips and the tongue.


Chia seeds have several incredible benefits, ranging from aiding weight loss to improved bone and cardiovascular health. Include these tiny seeds in your favourite dish, or have them as a part of dessert. Simply make sure that chia seeds are a part of your diet in order to reap their many benefits.

About the Author

As the holder of a Post Graduate Diploma in Dietetics from the University of Mumbai, Alpa Momaya has always understood the value of good nutrition in an individual's life. She is a Registered Nutritional Practitioner (Canada) with over 15 years of experience in the field. Specializing in Clinical Nutrition, Pre & Post Natal Diets, and Weight Management, Alpa found her calling as a Sr. Nutritionist with HealthifyMe. Alpa's love for cooking and good nutrition has seen her contribute several recipes to the HealthifyMe database over the years. Additionally, she takes a keen interest in reading and painting.

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44 responses to “Chia Seeds – Health Benefits and Potential Side Effects”

    • Yes. Chia seeds include fibre and can hold a good amount of moisture, which can help relieve constipation, however, this is still a point of controversy with regard to pregnancy. Other ways to relieve constipation during pregnancy are by increasing fresh fruit and vegetable intake while amping up water consumption and doing moderate levels of daily physical activity.

    • Simply add them to your warm milk first, let it rest for 5 minutes and then add the coffee decoction. Or if you are having a black coffee, wait for it to become less hot, then add and drink.

    • Cover the underside of an earthenware dish with a skinny coating of chia seeds. Place the earthenware dish on a much bigger plate crammed with water. Cover with a second plate. because the earthenware dish absorbs water from the plate underneath, it’ll give just the proper amount of water for the chia seeds to sprout.

    • It is possible that the seeds didn’t appear to be swollen. While the seed seems to be the identical size, the “swelling” is caused by the fibre absorbing moisture and producing a gelatinous “blob” around each seed pod.

    • The chia plant grows during a tough and arid high-altitude environment. The gelling action is an adaptation that enables the seeds to stay on sandy weak soil or hard surfaces, allowing them to sprout when ordinary seeds would just blow away. Their high nutritional level is additionally related. Each seed must begin with a decent supply of nutrients so as to sprout strongly and quickly and stabilize within the surroundings.

    • Consuming chia seeds in the morning, especially on an empty stomach, is believed to provide optimal results. Since they boost metabolism and aid digestion it is better to have them before you start your day.

    • Chia seeds have a skinny surface that easily breaks apart when exposed to moisture, hence they’re frequently prepared with liquid dishes. So, unlike flax seeds, they’re well absorbed and digested in their full form.

    • Chia seeds, like milk, contain tryptophan, which increases melatonin and serotonin levels, promoting restful sleep. Chia seeds when soaked in milk and had at bedtime can help induce good quality sleep.

    • Drinking chia seed water may help induce feelings of fullness, and avoid overeating. This is because of the fibre content of chia seeds and their propensity to soak up water.

    • Chia seeds, because of their high antioxidant content, last longer than most other seeds, like sesame seeds. This means that if properly stored, they will readily endure several years.

    • The daily consumption of chia seeds can be up to 1-2 tbsp. Chia seeds that are soaked have a gel-like texture and provide several health benefits.

    • There is insufficient research on the security of consuming chia seeds during pregnancy. As a result, before taking/consuming chia seeds during pregnancy, visit your doctor.

    • Chia originated in Mexico, where it had been a staple of the Aztec diet. Chia seeds were a staple diet for the Aztecs and Mayans, who valued them for its capacity to supply long-term energy. Despite their long history as a nutritional staple, Chia seeds have only recently been acknowledged as a superfood.

    • Yes, they are gluten-free. Due to its high nutritional value, chia is right for people following a diet. It is vegan-friendly since it includes an honest source of plant protein and will even be wont to substitute eggs in baking.

    • It’s extremely unlikely, but it’s possible. Individuals who are allergic to sesame or other members of the salvia family, like sage, are more likely to react to chia seeds as well.

    • Chia seeds are available in two colours: white and black. However, the difference between the 2 colours is insignificant. They both have roughly the identical amount of omega-3, protein, fibre, and other nutrients.

    • These little mighty seeds are the powerhouse your nails need to be strong and chip-resistant. Chia seeds facilitate an alkaline (Ph > 7) formation, which is a source of calcium and protein that supports nail growth and collagen production in the body

    • This depends on the list of medicines you are taking, their side effects and any allergies that might come along with. So, before consuming Chia seeds, please consult your doctor/ healthcare professional.

  1. It’s great information we have got. Thank you for such a post like this. I will definitely try this pudding recipe. will refer many friends of mine.

  2. Chia seeds have many nutritious qualities and it is being used in many recipes such as pancakes, pudding, parfaits, and many more.

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