Written by Anandini Swaminathan, BSc., MSc. (Human Nutrition) | 
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Smitha S. Dutt, PhD on Jan 19, 2015

What are Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds are tiny black-brown seeds with a nutty flavor. They come from a plant in the mint family and are considered to have the qualities of a super food.

Although chia seeds have been grown for centuries, they have only gained popularity as a health food in the last few years. They are easily available in most departmental and online stores in the whole or powdered form.

Chia Seeds

What is All the Fuss About?

Chia seeds have become a common feature in most homes because of its many health benefits.

  • Chia seeds contain twice the amount of potassium as a banana and three times the iron as spinach. Potassium plays a role in maintaining the blood pressure and electrolyte balance in the body. Iron is vital for the production of hemoglobin.
  • Blueberries have been the superstar in terms of antioxidant content, but chia seeds have stolen their glory. Chia contains three times the antioxidants as contained in blueberries, studies have found.
  • They have a high fiber content that aids in digestion. Blood sugar levels are stabilized owing to the high fiber content of chia. Another added benefit is satiety (feeling of fullness after eating), which helps with weight loss.
  • Calcium and magnesium are important in the process of bone formation and repair. One tablespoon of chia seeds give between 7% and 9% of the required daily allowance.
  • They have a high concentration of the essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6) than flaxseeds. Essential fatty acids have a good impact on the cholesterol profile and heart health.
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

Preparing Chia Seeds

They are a versatile food and can be added to most recipes. Chia seeds absorb water and swell up, when they come in contact with liquids. Chia can be sprinkled on pasta, cereal and toast as well as mixed with juices, soups, and salads.

Research has found that consuming chia seeds can increase the omega-3 fatty acid levels in the blood. Chia seeds have been found to improve liver health. Chia seeds have blood thinning properties, when consumed for a period of three months or more. It is advisable for those on blood thinners to consult with a physician before including chia in the diet.

Seeds, chia seeds, dried

The nutritional values of "Seeds, chia seeds, dried" per 100 grams are:
Nutrition Summary
Total Calories 486
Protein 16.5 g
Fat 0.4 g
Carbohydrate 42.1 g
NutrientsAmount%Daily Value
Calcium, Ca 631 mg 63.1 %
Copper, Cu 0.92 mg 46.2 %
Iron, Fe 7.72  mg 42.89 %
Magnesium, Mg 335 mg 83.75 %
Manganese, Mn 2.72 mg 136.15 %
Phosphorus, P 860 mg 86 %
Potassium, K 407  mg 11.63 %
Selenium, Se 55.2 mcg 78.86 %
Sodium, Na 16 mg 0.67 %
Zinc, Zn 4.58 mg 30.53 %
Vitamin A 54  IU 1.08 %
Vitamin C 1.6 mg 2.67 %
Vitamin B6 ~
Vitamin E 0.5 mg 1.67 %
Vitamin K ~
Riboflavin 0.17  mg 10 %
Thiamin 0.62 mg 41.33 %
Folate, DFE ~
Niacin 8.83  mg 44.15 %
Sugars ~
Fiber 34.4  g 137.6 %
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Water 5.8 g
Carotene, alpha ~
Carotene, beta ~
Choline ~
Lycopene ~
View all +
Data source: USDA Nutrient Database, R25
*Percent Daily Values (%DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie reference diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower based on your individual needs.


  1. Healthy food trends -- chia seeds - (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000727.htm)
  2. The Real Scoop on Chia Seeds - (http://www.nutrition.org/asn-blog/2012/03/the-real-scoop-on-chia-seeds/)

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