Chia seeds: Healthy Superfood or overpriced Hype?

Under the Chia seed is the tiny, flat oval seeds of the Chia Plant. The coloration of the seeds varies from black, white, or black-and-white polka dots.

Originally sourced Chia seeds from South America and were already in the Mayans and the Aztecs are known. For the small grains were gifts of not only food, but also a sacrifice to the gods.

“Chia” means as much as power or strength, according to legend, because the seeds were already appreciated at the time, as a source of energy. Even today you can grow Chia seeds in Central and South America, but in Australia and South East Asia.

Chia seeds are gluten-free and nutrient-rich

Chia seeds are not Cereal, but a pseudo-grain, as they are not of the family of grasses count. However, the seeds can be used similarly to cereals. Since they are gluten-free are suitable for people with a gluten intolerance.

Chia seeds are rich in nutrients such as unsaturated fatty acids (especially Omega-3 fatty acids), proteins, fiber, vitamins and minerals. The small grains are also rich in calories.

Compared to other plant foods have Chia seeds have a very high content of plant-based Omega-3 fatty acids (Alpha-Linolenic, ALA). However, the body can use these Readily – the seeds must be chewed for this purpose, either very good or kibbled.

The protein content of Chia seeds is about the size of wheat, Maize, oats, barley, or Amaranth. The seeds are a good plant source of protein.

Table: ingredients and nutritional values of dried Chia seeds (selection)

(Source: U. S. Department of Agriculture, food data Central)

How to use Chia seeds?

No matter, whether it be dry on the cereal or salad scattered, swollen as a Pudding, in yogurt, spread on Bread or Smoothie Chia seeds are versatile to use. The rather mild, slightly nutty taste goes well with many dishes, and even drinks.

Chia seeds need not be ground but can be either dry or swollen eat. Here, you should make sure to note that the seeds very quickly and greatly swell: Chia seeds bind to the 25-fold in water. Anyone who regularly uses Chia seeds in his diet, you should make sure to drink a lot.

What you try never to do: a larger amount of dry Chia seeds at once to swallow. In the case of a man in the USA dry Chia to swell after eating a tablespoon seeds and a glass of water down to rinse the grains in the esophagus and had to be removed with medical assistance.

Ideally consumed Chia seeds, therefore, already swollen, unpleasant consequences to be avoided. Once you get water on the small body, they begin to swell and within a few minutes, a gel-like consistency. Vegans can use the seeds of Chia as a practical Egg substitute, because the swollen you lend a dough similar to a good bond.

What is the effect of Chia seeds on health?

Whether on the Internet or in magazines – Chia-to be awarded to seed various positive effects. Thus, the consumption of the seeds to help with weight loss, or a favorable effect on several cardiovascular factors (such as blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar values) have an impact.

These statements, however, for the people, not scientifically proven, which is why Chia products, not advertised to be. Only in animal studies, Chia seeds have had, for example, a positive effect on the level of cholesterol and facilitating losing weight.

The high fiber content , however, the chair volume increase and intestinal transit time is reduced. For constipation the can may help – at least, if you drink too much. Because without adequate hydration, Chia can promote seed blockages quite well, because they bind water very well and a lot of swelling.

As a Chia seed consumption, the impact on duration is not known. According to the recommendations of the European food safety authority (EFSA) should therefore be better per day not more than 15 grams of Chia seeds – to-take – the is about a tablespoon full.

From Chia seeds alone, one should expect, therefore, no miracles in terms of health. The small grains, however, can the dining plan to enrich and together with a balanced diet to a healthy life style contribute.

Possible problems with Chia seeds


Chia seeds are very rich in fiber – this advantage can also be a disadvantage. Who a high fiber content in the food you are not used for regular human consumption under certain circumstances with digestive complaints such as flatulence to fight.


Who blood thinning medication as, for example, the active substance Warfarin or acetylsalicylic acid (Asa), should, when taking Chia capsules be careful, since interactions possible are. The blood thinning effect may increase under certain circumstances. Without doctor consultation one should refrain, therefore, better of taking.


Allergic reactions to Chia seeds are not excluded. Those who already responded on plants from the group of Lamiaceae like mint, thyme, sage or rosemary allergic, should Chia seeds be careful. Because the Chia Plant is also one of the lips blütlern. Caution also applies if you respond to mustard allergic to it – because it may lead to cross-reactions.


Due to the lack of growing regulations, the consumption of Chia seeds are not yet exclude the possibility that it absorbs potentially harmful substances. So the seed often with plant hormones treated, so they grow better.

To protect against weed use, farmers also tend to Trifluralin, a herbicide used in Europe for over ten years, is prohibited. The maturity to accelerate comes Paraquat to use, a controversial herbicide.

In addition, there are always notifications on aflatoxins in Chia seeds – a toxin from fungi, the cancer can.

Life cycle assessment

For the environment and the climate of growing Chia Trend is also not entirely unproblematic. The transport routes and the associated CO2emissions are weakening the seeds, therefore, in terms of life cycle assessment.

Who grows Chia seeds, have less income than other crops. The Chia Hype in Europe and the United States to support, are basically acreage blocks, with other planting and more people saturate could.

What are the Alternatives to Chia seeds?

Chia seeds are considered as Superfood because that’s not a good market, which is why appropriate food is not necessarily cheap. A similarly good content of vegetable Omega-3 fatty acids but also, for example, in Flaxseed, walnuts or canola oil. These seeds are, in many cases, cheaper than Chia: The also fiber-rich Flaxseed costs about in some cases only one-tenth as much.


Chia Seeds. Online information from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health: (retrieval date: 15.11.2019)

The Chia seeds. Online information of the German Federal centre for nutrition: (retrieval date: 15.11.2019)

Chia seeds: healthy effect is questionable. Online information from the Department for evidence-based medicine and Evaluation at the Danube University Krems as well as by Cochrane Austria is: (status: 6.11.2019)

Chia seeds – how healthy is the alleged Superfood really is? Online information of the consumer: (status: 30.7.2019)

Seeds, chia seeds, dried. Online information from the Food Data Central of the U. S. Department of Agriculture: (status: 1.4.2019)

Chia seed: birdseed is sold as a “Superfood”. Online information of the Germany radio culture: (status: 29.1.2016)

Reactions: Aldi Süd’s Organic Chia Seeds. Online information from Ökotest: (status: 25.5.2016)

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Last content review: 15.11.2019last Modification: 28.01.2019

*The article “Chia seeds: Healthy Superfood or overpriced Hype?” published by Onmeda. Contact with the executives here.