Chia seeds are tiny, black and white seeds that are known for being rich in nutrients like protein and fiber. They come from the Salvia hispanica plant.
Many people enjoy using chia seeds in baked goods, to make vegan “eggs” and pudding, or sprinkled on top of salads. Some people also like drinking chia seed water.
When you drop chia seeds into water, they absorb the liquid. Their absorption capability is so impressive that chia seeds can actually become up to 12 times their original size when soaked (1).
The end result is a gelatinous mixture with a slightly chewy texture, similar to that of miniature tapioca pearls.
Chia seed water is an emerging health trend. Made popular on social media, chia seed water is a simple beverage some people use to help stave off hunger and support weight loss goals.
This article examines whether there are actual benefits to drinking chia seed water as well as some potential downsides to consider. We also look at how to make chia seed water and use it as part of a healthy lifestyle. And we suggest a few alternatives.
There are only two ingredients in chia seed water: chia seeds and water.
Chia seeds have many research-supported health benefits, so they can be a great addition to your diet.
They’re a good source of fiber, protein, unsaturated fats, and antioxidants. They also include several important micronutrients, including (
- B vitamins
6 potential health benefits of chia seeds and water
There are no studies on the health benefits of chia seeds and water specifically. However, consuming chia seed water may have the following health benefits that have been found for consuming chia seeds and water individually.
- May help reduce high blood pressure. An antioxidant compound in chia seeds called chlorogenic acid may help reduce high blood pressure (
- May help reduce inflammation. The antioxidant in chia seeds called caffeic acid may offer anti-inflammatory effects (
- Benefits for heart health. Chia seeds are rich in fiber and contain an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which may offer benefits for your heart health (
- Support for bone health. ALA may also play a role in supporting strong, healthy bones (
- Blood sugar control. There’s also some research showing that chia seeds may help support healthy blood sugar management (
- Potential skin benefits. The fatty acids in chia seeds may help relieve irritated skin, and drinking water may support skin hydration. However, there are no direct studies on the skin benefits of drinking chia seed water itself, so more research is needed (
8, 9, 10).
You can get these benefits in other ways, too
Despite all these benefits, chia seed water is not a magic food. You can also get the potential benefits of drinking it by eating a variety of other healthy, nutrient-rich, and hydrating foods — or simply by eating chia seeds and staying hydrated with water.
So if you don’t like chia seed water, that’s okay. And if you do, you can use chia seed water in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet.
What’s the best time to drink chia seed water?
The best time to drink chia seed water depends on your personal preferences.
Drinking it in the afternoon may help prevent you from overeating later in the day, and drinking it in the evening could help reduce your appetite before bed.
However, if you’re hungry and haven’t eaten in a while, consider refueling your body with a nutrient-dense meal rather than filling up with chia seed water.
Chia seed water contains chia seeds and water. While there’s no research on chia seed water itself, chia seeds contain nutrients that may support heart health, skin health, and inflammation. You can incorporate it into an overall healthy diet.
And they don’t just absorb water in your glass. After you consume chia seed water, the wet seeds will continue to expand in your stomach by absorbing water and gastric juices.
Plus, the soluble fiber in chia seeds helps slow the actual digestion of the seeds, keeping you fuller for longer.
This takes up space in your stomach and helps reduce your appetite. As a result, the filling effect of chia seed water can help prevent hunger and reduce your overall energy intake, leading to weight loss (
Currently there is no research investigating the potential weight loss benefits of chia seed water, and these benefits are anecdotal. Thus, more research is needed.
Chia seeds are very absorptive and high in fiber. This helps you feel full and may prevent overeating, which can support weight loss goals. However, there’s currently no research on weight loss and chia seed water itself.
The main thing to remember about chia seed water is that no single food, including this one, can take the place of a healthy and well-balanced diet.
One of the keys to healthy, sustainable weight loss is a diet that prioritizes a wide variety of minimally-processed, nutrient-dense foods. This results in a slow rate of weight loss, but it’s less likely than extreme diets to result in regaining the weight later.
While chia seed water can be a part of a healthy diet pattern, it’s important not to rely on it for weight loss or any single health goal.
Furthermore, don’t consume an enormous amount of it. Instead, make it part of an overall healthy diet. Generally, one serving of chia seeds is 2 tablespoons (20 grams).
If you don’t drink enough water, the high fiber and absorptive quality of chia seeds could potentially increase your risk of constipation if you’re consuming large amounts.
Note that constipation related to high fiber intake is usually associated with not drinking enough water. If you’re new to chia seeds, or any high-fiber foods, be sure to stay hydrated (13).
Plus, the fiber in chia seeds may cause an upset stomach for people who aren’t used to numerous sources of fiber in their diet already. If you’re new to chia seeds and chia seed water, it may be helpful to start with small amounts and increase from there (
Chia seed water is high in fiber, which could cause an upset stomach. Staying hydrated is important when you’re consuming it. This helps avoid constipation. Lastly, it can’t replace other nutritious foods for weight loss or other goals.
Making chia seed water is easy. All you have to do is gently mix 1–2 tablespoons (12–24 grams) of chia seeds into 1 cup (237 mL) of water.
Once you give the seeds a light stir, let them sit for up to 2 minutes.
Chia seeds begin to absorb water and turn the water into gel fairly quickly after that, so don’t let them sit too long unless you don’t mind drinking a firmer gel.
You might also choose to mix your seeds in and drink your chia seed water right away, rather than letting them sit.
If you’ve never had chia water before, or don’t otherwise consume chia seeds, you may want to start with a smaller amount in your water at first and build up your tolerance.
Finally, if you want to add flavor to your chia seed water, you could add a squeeze or two of lemon or lime juice.
You can make chia seed water simply by gently mixing together chia seeds and water and allowing it to sit briefly to begin to gel. You might also want to flavor it, like with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.
If chia seeds themselves are what you’re interested in, but you’re not a huge fan of chia seed water, there are other ways to use chia seeds that you might enjoy.
Bake with chia seeds
You can add chia seeds to the batter of recipes like banana bread and muffins, as well as pancakes and waffles, for extra nutrients and texture.
If you don’t eat chicken eggs, chia seeds make a great plant-based alternative for baking. To make one “chia egg,” all you have to do is mix 1 tablespoon (12 grams) of chia seeds with 2.5 tablespoons (40 mL) of water. You can then add this to the batter to help it stick together.
Sprinkle chia seeds as a topping
You might also enjoy chia seeds sprinkled on top of:
- green salads
- vegetable dishes
Try chia pudding
Lastly, the gelatinous effects of chia seeds can be put to good use in a vegan pudding.
Just mix together 1/2 cup (80 grams) of chia seeds with 2.5 cups (300 mL) soy milk, plus other flavorings like lemon juice, maple syrup, vanilla, or fresh fruit, and set it in the refrigerator to gel.
If you’re seeking another fluid option to help support your weight loss goals, plain water is your best bet as it’s free from added sugar and other unnecessary ingredients.
Staying hydrated is important for overall health, and drinking water throughout the day can also help prevent overeating.
If you don’t want to drink chia seed water, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy chia seeds in your diet. For example, you can add them to baked goods, sprinkle them onto salads and pasta dishes, or use them to make vegan eggs for baking.
Chia seed water is an emerging trend, made popular through social media. It’s a simple health hack in which you mix chia seeds with a glass of water to make a slightly gelatinous beverage.
Chia seeds and water each offer their own health benefits, but there’s no current research on the health effects of chia seed water itself.
Because of the fiber content of chia seeds and their ability to absorb water, drinking chia seed water may help promote feelings of fullness, reduce appetite, and prevent overeating, which could support weight loss.
You might enjoy chia seed water on occasion to help get through an afternoon craving or stay full after dinner. You can also add chia seeds to your diet in other ways, like on salads, in baked goods, and mixed into oatmeal or yogurt.
Just one thing
Try this today: Curious how else to use chia? Try making homemade low-sugar jam.
Purée 1/2 cup (80 grams) of chia seeds with 1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) of vanilla, 3 cups (420 grams) of thawed frozen raspberries, and 1/4 cup (30 mL) of orange juice. Set in the fridge to gel.