Prized by the Aztecs and Maya for their ability to provide long-lasting energy, chia seeds have long been used as a superfood. Native to Mexico and Guatemala, chia seeds are related to mint and come from the Salvia hispanica plant. And yes, they are the same chia seeds sold in “Chia Pet” kits.
Chia seeds have become a common ingredient in healthy recipes, from pumpkin spice muffins to overnight oats to TikTok famous chia seed water. But many people wonder just how many chia seeds they can eat on a daily basis, what the best way is to make chia pudding and whether there are any downsides to eating the tiny seed. We break this wellness trend down for you right here!
Spiced Pumpkin Muffins by Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN
The health benefits of chia
There’s a reason why so many health and nutrition pros keep chia seeds on hand. They’re a good source of protein, high in fiber and gluten-free. Plus, they’re rich in alpha linolenic acid (ALA), a type of plant-based omega-3 fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory benefits. A 2-tablespoon serving (which is a TON of seeds) has 150 calories, 10g of fiber, 6g of protein and 10g of fat, most of which is the healthy polyunsaturated variety.
In terms of how much chia to use each day, it’s smart to stick to the 2-tablespoon serving size. You’ll probably want to break this up throughout the day, adding a teaspoon or two to your smoothie, another teaspoon in your mid-morning yogurt, and the rest in recipes like chia pudding.
Chia and hydration
The diminutive seeds can absorb up to 10 times their weight in water. This means that when you eat chia pudding or chia gel, you’re also getting the liquid they absorbed along with it. Consuming liquids via chia can be smart for times when you don’t want to drink a lot of water, like before a race or a run, or even before bed.
Chia’s hydration benefits mean that the ingredient is also beneficial for healthy, glowing skin. Because chia include healthy fats, they’re also a smart ingredient for anyone dealing with dry skin.