Chia Seeds: Recommended Daily Intake And Why

What we need to know about chia seeds

Seeds of Salvia hispanica L, frequently called as chia seeds, have been known for over 5500 years constituting predominant part of diet of the Maya and Aztecs. 1Owing to its high nutritional value, chia seeds may be consumed to complement the regular diet. Recently, these nutrient-rich grains have been declared as a “Novel Food” by the European Parliament, granting their addition to wide variety of food items.2

These highly mineral- and fibre-packed seeds can be used extensively for their medicinal effects, especially in diabetics and hypertensives.

So, if by chance you fall into that rare category who are still not benefiting from the marvellous effects of chia seeds, then it is high time you indulge into the habit. 

Chia seeds nutritional facts

Popularly called as “Superfood”, chia seeds are a magnificent source of fat, proteins, fibre, etc. Researchers have shown the following nutritional components in seeds of Salvia hispanica L.2

Dietary fibre

The health benefits of Chia seeds can be attributed to their high dietary fibre content. Approximately 30-34 g of fibre per 100 g are present in these seeds. Both soluble and insoluble fractions of dietary 

fibres are represented, 7–15% and 85–93% respectively. Nutritional assessment tests have shown that the dietary fibre content of Chia seeds outpaces that of cereals, nuts and dried fruits.3


Fatty acids are the star constituent of chia seeds. Polyunsaturated fatty acids such as α-linolenic acid (ALA) are found at approximately 60% concentration. Small amounts of linoleic, oleic and palmitic acids are also found. Fatty acids, including Omega-3 and Omega-6, exist in generous proportion in these seeds. Researchers have also shown that percentage of Omega-3 is more than in flax seeds. Moreover, the ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids is excellent.4


Chia seeds are jam-packed with protein, and they are one of the top plant-based sources of protein.  Amino acids make up approximately  18-24% by mass and are useful if you are on a weight loss journey. Endogenous amino acids such as glutamic and aspartic acids form major portions of protein in these tiny seeds.5 Around 10 exogenous amino acids also enrich chia seeds, thereby helping curb hunger pangs and build lean muscles.

Minerals and vitamins:

Besides proteins and fatty acids, chia seeds are loaded with minerals and vitamins:6

NutrientAmount (mg per 100 g chia seeds)
Vitamin B10.6
Vitamin B20.2

Owing to the plentiful amount of minerals and vitamins, ground chia seeds promote oral as well as bone health. Data suggest that an ounce of chia seeds either incorporated in a delicious bowl of chia pudding or taken as soaked chia seeds supplies around 18 percent of calcium needed in a day, decreasing the risk of osteoporosis.6

How much chia seed should we eat and why?

Originated from Spanish word “chian” or “chien”, chia means oily. According to some other legends, the word chia denotes “strength”, and thus these tiny seeds are popularly used as an energy booster.7

As per the literature, there are no strict rules when it comes to “How much chia Seed must be consumed daily?” However, according to the guidelines released by Columbia University, consuming 15-20 g or approximately 2 tablespoons (tbs) twice per day can provide the needed micro and macro-nutrients. These amounts will vary according to the consumer’s age, height, weight, and other parameters. The dose for young individuals in the age group of 5-18 years is recommended to be 1.4- 4.3 g per day. For children below 10 years of age, the intake must be restricted to 1 tbs daily.

But one might wonder why these tiny seeds are so much talked about. Chia seeds are known to complement your routine meals, filling you up with a completely balanced diet. Studies have shown that adding chia seeds, which contain the antiodiant chemical quercetin, to your diet may prevent the development of long-term illness.

These tiny seeds can be added to any commercial food item to enhance their nutritional and medicinal value. Some of the health benefits associated with the use of Chia seeds are as follows.

Hypoglycaemic effects 

The incredible combination of essential and non-essential amino acids in chia seeds helps lower blood glucose levels, maintain a good lipid profile and also promote the functioning of the liver and intestine. Alpha-linoleic acid in these herbaceous seeds helps lower the fat storage in the liver and also results in a lower concentration of VLDL and LDL (bad) cholesterol. 8

Moreover, chia seeds are power-packed with Omega-3 fatty acids which help lower triglycerols, thereby protecting the body from multiple health issues resulting from high cholesterol levels. 

Antihypertensive and antioxidant potential

Reactive oxygen species (free radicals) are responsible for almost all chronic diseases and anti-oxidants scavenge these trouble-making free radicals. Consuming either soaked chia seeds or ground chia seeds charge you up with loads of anti-oxidants such as tocopherols, phytosterols, carotenoids, flavonoids, etc, thereby protecting you against the risk of heart disease, cancer, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's, Parkinson’s, etc.9

Anticancer effects

Studies have also emphasized that the presence of Omega-3 and other essential fatty acids inhibits the growth and metastasis of tumor cells.10

Weight loss

The fibre fraction of Chia seeds has a very good water-holding capacity, and as per the documentation, it is even more than soybean, wheat, and maize. This makes chia seeds a good product when it comes to weight management issues.

So, if you are on a weight-loss journey, just add a tbs of chia seeds/powder to shakes, pudding, etc. and it will help absorb and retain water in your stomach, helping curb hunger pangs for longer.

Prevents constipation and promotes gut health

Apart from keeping you feeling full throughout the day, the insoluble fibre in chia seeds aids in bowel motion by converting into a gel, thus keeping constipation at a bay. 

Fighting Diabetes 

Chia seeds are known to slow the digestion process which is linked to their ability to prevent diabetes. Investigators have proved that Omega-3-alpha-linolenic acid canprevent dyslipidemia and insulin resistance. Owing to its beneficial effects, the United States Department of Agriculture has considered Chia as one of the food items that is used as an adjuvant in managing diabetes.11

Elevate energy and metabolism

Zinc, vitamins, iron, and magnesium makes chia seeds an excellent source for boosting energy. Soaked chia seed drinks are so popular amongst gym goers and workout trainers. Simply sprinkling a few of these tiny seeds into your smoothies/shakes can give you an immediate burst of refreshing energy. These seeds also provide you with proteins needed for tissue repair post-workout.12

Mood booster 

If you suffer from regular mood swings, try including chia seeds in your routine diet. Research suggests that this superfood will improve your mood in no time. According to a study done in Pittsburgh, chia seeds have been shown to fight depression.12

Excellent regulator of bone and oral health

Chia seeds are a potent source of calcium as well as phosphorus that are essential for maintaining skeletal health. Moreover, the presence of manganese and phosphorus in chia also help to prevent your teeth from decaying.

Gives younger looking and healthy skin

For those looking for a route to shiny, bright, and healthy skin, chia seeds can be your solution. Loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds not only help shield your skin from harmful UV rays but also increase blood circulation and minimize dryness and inflammation of the skin.

Gluten free diet

Chia seeds are wonderful grains for those who are allergic to gluten. They is also suitable for people with coeliac disease. In the coeliac population, consumption of calcium and fibre is comparatively low. However, chia seeds can be very helpful in supplementing them with essential micro and macro-nutrients.

Potential risks and side effects of chia seeds

Although health benefits of chia seeds make them a very appealing and easy meal option, excessive consumption can have some repercussions as well. So if you are someone who enjoys adding these superseeds to your puddings, shakes, cereals, etc., then you must be aware of the side effects associated with these seeds.

Reports of allergic reactions after consumption of chia seeds have been reported. Reactions such as anaphylaxis, contact dermatitis, etc. have been documented in literature. The first hypersensitivity case from consumption of chia seeds was documented in 2019. 13

Cross-sensitization with seseme seeds have also been reported by researchers, i.e. people who are allergic to seseme seeds will show allergic reactions after consumption of chia seeds. 13

Omega-3 fatty acids in these tiny seeds protect heart health by acting as blood thinners and lowering cholesterol level. However, excessive utilization can cause low blood pressure issues. Similarly, chia seeds can be responsible for decreasing blood glucose level if taken in excess.

Undoubtedly, the dietary fibre in chia seeds aids in digestion process but unrestrained use of chia seeds can disrupt your gut health,  manifesting in the form of constipation, bloating and diarrhoea. Moreover if you suffer from Irritatablen Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and routinely add chia seeds to your meals, then you must keep yourself hydrated during the day.

Form in which you can consume Chia seeds

Whole seeds

The simplest and easiest way to enrich your diet with Chia is by using it in whole-seed form. Just add one tbs of the tiny seeds to your bowl of cereal, and you are set for a day.

You can also try to enhance the goodness of your favorite smoothie or fruit bowl by just sprinkling some of these super seeds. Whole seeds can also enrich soups and lentil bowls.

Powdered form

If you are someone who does not like the crunch of chia, then just grind it to make a paste and you are good to go. The powdered form can be added to any of your dishes. It not only supplements your meal but also acts as a gravy thickener.

Soaked chia

Leaving chia seeds overnight soaking in water enhances their benefits. Soaked chia has a gel-like consistency and is thus considered best for digestive problems. Absorption is also easier in this form, and it only takes 10-15 minutes to get the gel-like consistency.


Chia seeds are gaining popularity because of their extraordinary therapeutic effects. Packed with multiple micro and macronutrients, these supersedes are considered the best way to supplement routine meals. Proteins, free fatty acids, Omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, and antioxidants all make these tiny seeds “a must” in your meals.  Chia seeds are a gluten-free source of nutrients that helps combat diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and even cancer. People who are on a weight loss journey or who dream of having that glowy and Dewey skin can surely rely on chia seeds for miraculous changes.

There are rare side effects related to the consumption of chia seeds, allergic reactions, hypoglycemia, and low blood pressure. Thus, it is always advised to consume it in moderation.


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  2. Melo D, Machado TB, Oliveira MBPP. Chia seeds: an ancient grain trending in modern human diets. Food Funct [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2022 Dec 3];10(6):3068–89. Available from:
  3. Marineli, R.; Lenquiste, S.A.; Moraes, E.A.; Marostica, M.R., Jr. Antioxidant potential of dietary chia seed and oil (Salvia hispanica L.) in diet-induced obese rats. Food Res. Int. 2015, 76, 666–674. Available from:
  4. Nitrayova, S.; Brestensky, M.; Heger, J.; Patras, P.; Rafay, J.; Sirotkin, A. Amino acids and fatty acids profile of chia (Salvia hispanica L.) and flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) seed. Potravinarstvo 2014, 8, 72–76. Available from:
  5. Bushway, A.A.; Belyea, P.R.; Bushway, R.J. Chia seed as a source of oil, polysaccharide, and protein. J. Food Sci. 1981, 46, 1349–1350. Available from: 
  6. Jin, F.; Nieman, D.C.; Sha, W.; Xie, G.; Qiu, Y.; Jia, W. Supplementation of milled chia seeds increases plasma ALA and EPA in postmenopausal women. Plant Foods Hum. Nutr. 2012, 67, 105–110. Available from:
  7. Coates, W. Whole and ground chia (Salvia hispanica L.) seeds, chia oil—Effects on plasma lipids and fatty acids. In Nuts & Seeds in Health and Disease Prevention; Preedy, V., Watson, R.R., Patel, V., Eds.; Academic Press: London, UK, 2011; Volume 1, pp. 309–315. Available from:
  8. da Silva BP, Dias DM, de Castro Moreira ME, Toledo RC, da Matta SL, Della Lucia CM, Martino HS and PinheiroSant’Ana HM: Chia seed shows good protein quality, hypoglycemic effect and improves the lipid profile and liver and intestinal morphology of Wistar rats. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition 2016; 71: 225-30. Available from:
  9. Orona-Tamayo D, Valverde ME, Nieto-Rendón and Paredes-López O: Inhibitory activity of chia (Salvia hispanica L.) protein fractions against angiotensin Iconverting enzyme and antioxidant capacity. LWT-Food Science and Technology 2015; 64: 236-42. Available from:
  10. Pilkington SM, Watson REB, Nicolaou A, Rhodes LE. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids: photoprotective macronutrients: n-3 PUFA in photoprotection. Experimental Dermatology [Internet]. 2011 Jul [cited 2022 Dec 3];20(7):537–43. Available form:
  11. O’Keefe JH, Bergman N, Carrera-Bastos P, Fontes-Villalba M, DiNicolantonio JJ, Cordain L. Nutritional strategies for skeletal and cardiovascular health: hard bones, soft arteries, rather than vice versa. Open Heart [Internet]. 2016 Mar [cited 2022 Dec 3];3(1):e000325. Available from:
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  14. García Jiménez S1 , Pastor Vargas C2 , de las Heras M3 , Sanz Maroto A2 , Vivanco F2 , Sastre J3, Allergen Characterization of Chia Seeds (Salvia hispanica), a New Allergenic Food, J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2015; Vol. 25(1): 55-82. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Surangama Lehri

Masters - Oral Medicine and Radiology, India

Dr. Surangama Lehri is a practicing Oral Physician and Maxillofacial Radiologist with a strong passion in the field of Medical Writing. She has 3 years of clinical exposure and experience in working with Oral Cancer patients.

Dr. Lehri actively works in the field of Tobacco Cessation in her country and believes in creating awareness regarding importance of Oral Health.

She has been writing Scientific Research papers since past 3 years and has published around 18 articles to her credit in Indexed Journals. She is also part of Editorial Board at “International Journal of Drug Research and Dental Science” and is currently working as full-time Assistant Professor in a Dental
College in India. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
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