Chia - Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Below are some of the common questions about chia seeds. If you can't find the information you're after - either below or elsewhere on this site - please contact us.
Where are your seeds grown and are they treated by Australian customs?
Most of our seeds are grown in Central and South America where they have been grown for hundreds of years. We deal very closely with AQIS (Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service) and satisfy all of the requirements regarding purity standards set by them for importing seeds. No treatment is ever performed on any of our seeds. We have been asked if our imported chia seeds are irradiated or treated with any chemicals and our emphatic answer is NO!
Do I need to grind the chia seeds before I eat them?
No you don’t. We have seen some web sites stating you need to however this is not true. Chia seeds are one of the few seeds that our body can breakdown without needing to grind them.
If you eat whole, raw seeds there may be a few that pass through your digestive system intact, but most will be digested.
Are there any side effects from eating chia seeds?
There are few known side effects from consuming chia seeds*. People with certain bowel conditions - e.g. IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) or Crohn’s disease - should start taking small amounts to become adjusted to the high amount of fibre that chia contains. Then gradually increase the amount you take.
There are reports that some people may have mild allergic reactions to chia seeds, particularly those who are known to be allergic to mustard seeds.
We are available to assist you take the chia seeds correctly, given your individual circumstances. You should also consult your medical practitioners.
Everyone should drink water throughout the day, however this is also important if you consume large amounts of chia - see Eat chia for further details.
(*Note that people with certain medical conditions are advised not to consume large quantities of Omega 3. If you have any concerns please consult your doctor or specialist. Also see below for further details.)
Are there any problems with taking chia seeds with medications?
If you are on any medication you should always consult with your doctor before starting anything new in your diet.
The only issue we are aware of, in relation to chia seeds and medication, is people taking blood thinners like Warfarin, also known under the brand names Coumadin, Jantoven, Marevan, Lawarin, and Waran. Because the high Omega-3 content in chia seeds is a natural blood thinner you should discuss adding the seeds to your diet with your doctor if you are taking any blood thinning medications.
If your health care provider requires any further information we are available to discuss with them the benefits and risks of taking chia seeds - please provide them with our contact details and we will be happy to talk to them.
Is the protein in chia seeds gluten-free?
Yes. Unlike most other grains, chia seeds are naturally gluten-free.
How much chia should I eat? What is the recommended dose?
Chia is a food, not a supplement, so there is no dose amount. However the amount you consume will vary on why you use it, e.g. for arthritis, improved memory or extra energy.
10 grams a day (of high quality chia seeds) will give a person who already eats a healthy diet the added Omega-3 to help balance out their intake of Omega-6.
10 to 25 grams per day will help with aches and pains and also give the right amount to the training athlete.
Since we are all different we suggest starting with around 10 grams (a dessertspoon) a day, then adjusting how much you use after about 3 weeks.
I like how chia seeds give me more energy but I don’t like drinking the gel. Do I have to wait for it to turn to a gel before drinking it?
No. You can drink the seeds straight down before they turn to a gel, but please remember they absorb over nine times their weight in water - so drink plenty!
Can I eat the seeds plain without water?
Yes, as long as you drink plenty of water with the seeds. Chia seeds absorb nine times their weight in water so they can soak up the water from your system and cause you to dehydrate. Prevent this by drinking lots of water.
How does chia seed protein compare to soy protein?
Comparisons can only be made between the two as whole seed. On the amino acid score soy gets a 118 and chia gets a 115 so both are a complete protein.
How will chia seeds help me lose weight?
Using chia seeds in a weight loss program helps in a number of ways. Slowing the conversion of carbs to sugars is one and the energy it gives to aid in exercising is another. Chia seeds also give your body the nutrition it needs, unlike most diets that starve you. You can also use chia gel to reduce calories in what you eat.
What’s the difference between the Omega-3 in fish oil and chia seeds?
In fish oil the fish has already converted what it eats into EPA and DHA - two metabolites of alpha-linolenic acid that all species convert in the body.
The human body converts the alpha-linolenic acid to EPA and DHA, the Omega-3 found in fish and algae supplements.
Chia seeds are a renewable source for the Omega-3s we need. By using chia rather than fish oil we’re reducing pressure on diminishing fish stocks - and there's no fishy after taste or the dreaded fish oil burps!
(Note: Just because fish oil comes from a fish this does not mean it should smell or taste like fish. When Omega-3 oxidizes it gives off a fishy smell and flavour which means it has gone rancid and is doing more harm than good. All Omega-3 will have this fishy smell and taste when it goes off - just nature’s way of letting us know it’s past it's "use by date". )
Omega-3 is very sensitive to heat and oxygen, both of which we have in our bodies. The Omega-3 in chia seeds is heat tolerant up to 180°C (350°F) and the high antioxidants protect it from oxidizing in our system which is why people feel chia working when they use it correctly.
Should I stop taking fish oil while I'm using chia?
This will depend on your diet and why you take fish oil. We need to balance our Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio from what the standard western diet is now, around 25:1. Ideally the ratio of these two omegas should be closer to 1:1.
The best way to take fish oil is by eating the fish and not from a capsule.
If you already eat healthily you can stop the fish oil as long as you discuss this with your health care practitioner. Using 10 g to 25 g a day of chia seeds will give you the Omega-3 you need to notice it working in your body. Remember our body converts the plant based Omega-3 to the long chain Omega-3 DHA and EPA that the fish has done for us.
I've read that the white seeds are superior to the dark seeds. What's the difference?
Both white and dark chia seeds are from the salvia hispanica plant, with the white seeds producing white flowers when grown and the dark seeds producing purple flowers.
The difference in nutrition is the dark has more protein than white and the white seeds have more linolenic acid (Omega-3) than dark seeds. These differences are very slight amounting to less than 1 or 2 points in each protein and Omega-3.
The main reason for using the black over the white is the black chia seeds contain more of the antioxidants that protect the essential fatty acids.
Are your seeds grown organically?
Our seeds are not certified organic, however chia can be grown with fewer chemicals than many other crops.. Due to the oils in the chia plant it is grown very easily using organic methods. Insects don’t like the plant oils and leave it alone, and once it has established the canopy shades out weeds from growing so herbicides are not required.
Our Central and South American chia seeds are grown under GAP (Good Agriculture Practice) and HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) and likewise packaged here in Australia under HACCP as well.