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What are chia seeds?

Chia seeds are the tiny black seeds from the Salvia hispanica plant. A member of the mint family, the plant originates from Central and South America. As an ingredient, the seeds are incredibly versatile. Of particular note is their ability to absorb liquid and form a gel, this means they can be used to thicken sauces, used as an egg replacement and make a sugar-free jam.

Chia seed benefits may include:

1. Rich source of bone-healthy calcium
2. Help to lower blood pressure
3. Useful for balancing blood sugar levels
4. Healthy choice for those with diabetes
5. Packed with fibre

Discover our full range of health benefit guides and also check out some of our favourite chia seed recipes, from vegan pancakes to chia pudding.

Nutritional profile of chia seeds

A handful of chia seeds (25g) contains approximately:

More like this
  • 122 kcal/508KJ
  • 4.1g protein
  • 2g carbohydrates
  • 8.6g fibre
  • 7g fat
  • 158mg calcium
  • 84mg magnesium
  • 93mg iron
  • 15mg zinc
  • 68mg manganese
Chia seeds in a wooden bowl

What are the 5 top health benefits of chia seeds?

1. May promote bone health

Chia seeds are a rich source of minerals, which are known to be beneficial for bone health, including calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. A 25g portion of chia seeds contains approximately 158mg of calcium which makes a significant contribution when compared to the equivalent amount of milk.

2. May be good for your heart and lower blood pressure

Including chia seeds in your diet appears to have cardio-protective benefits, this may be thanks to their poly-unsaturated fat content, high fibre levels and anti-inflammatory properties. Chia seeds and chia flour have also been found to lower blood pressure in those with hypertension, the effects were relevant for both medicated and non-medicated participants. However, it’s worth remembering that any dietary change needs to be accompanied by lifestyle and exercise modifications to have any appreciable benefit on heart health.

3. May improve blood sugar management

Studies examining the effect of chia seeds on blood sugar control in animals showed an improvement in insulin resistance. This was echoed by similar clinical studies examining the effects of bread made using chia seeds, on reducing blood sugar response in humans.

4. May reduce the risk of diabetes

The nutritional make-up of chia seeds, being rich in poly-unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, protein and fibre, makes them especially suited for helping to stabilise blood-sugar levels. Some research has suggested that chia seeds may be beneficial for overweight and obese patients with type 2 diabetes. However, there is no conclusive evidence to suggest chia seeds can directly reduce the risk of diabetes.

5. May improve digestive health

A handful of chia seeds (25g) supplies almost 9g fibre which makes a healthy contribution towards the daily recommended intake of 30g. Adequate fibre in the diet is important for digestive health and for maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. A diet rich in fibre lowers the risk of a number of diseases and also reduces all-cause mortality.

A pot of chia pudding with syrup and fresh fruit

Are chia seeds safe for everyone?

On the whole chia seeds are well-tolerated, however, consuming too many in one sitting may cause abdominal discomfort, constipation and bloating. For this reason, it is important to drink adequate amounts of water, especially if the seeds have not been pre-soaked. Those with inflammatory bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease or diverticulitis may need to regulate their fibre intake and limit their consumption of high fibre foods such as chia seeds.

If you are on medication for high blood pressure or diabetes you may need to moderate your intake of chia seeds because they may enhance the activity of your medication. Refer to your GP or dietitian for guidance.

Although nut and seed allergy are well-documented, allergy to chia seeds is rare.

Overall, are chia seeds good for you?

Yes, chia seeds can be considered a healthy choice. They're rich in plant-based protein, impressively high in fibre and contain good amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Interestingly, a handful of chia seeds contributes approximately 158mg of calcium to your diet. All of this means chia seeds could be helpful for strengthening bones, improving gut health and balancing blood sugar.

If you are considering any major dietary changes, please consult your GP or registered dietitian to ensure you do so without risk to your health.

Chia seed recipes

Coconut quinoa & chia porridge
Vanilla-almond chia breakfast bowl
Apricot & seed protein bar
Raspberry ripple chia pudding
Raw strawberry jam
Protein pancakes

Jo Lewin is a registered nutritionist (RNutr) with the Association for Nutrition with a specialism in public health. Follow her on Twitter @nutri_jo.


All health content on is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

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