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How to Eat Chia Seeds: Whole, Ground, Soaked or Raw?


How to eat chia seeds - Dr. Axe

What’s the best way to eat chia seeds? There are actually many ways! You can eat chia seeds whole, soaked or ground. Chia seeds taste somewhat nutty with a mild flavor overall and can easily be added whole to most dishes as a garnish. They can also be soaked to create all kinds of delicious recipes such as chia pudding, which is so tasty it’s hard to believe it’s healthy too.

These tiny yet mighty super seeds are loaded with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients that add a major boost to your diet. How much chia seeds should you eat a day? To take advantage of the unique health benefits of chia seeds, start slow with one ounce — or about two tablespoons — per day and increase your intake slowly to assess your tolerance.

Are you ready to find out how you can incorporate this powerful ingredient into your diet starting today, including how to eat chia seeds for weight loss?

How to Eat Chia Seeds

How is the best way to eat chia seeds? You have several options to choose from:

1. Whole

Do you need to soak chia seeds before eating? Can you eat chia seeds dry? You can eat them whole and dry. Unlike flax seeds, you don’t have to grind chia seeds to add tons of nutrients to your diet. You can eat them whole and still get a punch of extra energy and nutrients. If you’re wondering how to eat chia seeds raw, you can just eat a spoonful straight, but beware that they do tend to stick in your teeth. It’s also important to note that if you do choose to eat chia seeds whole, they can absorb water from your body during digestion, so be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated.

You can also add whole chia seeds to yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies and shakes as well as granola mixes, waffles and muffins. Whole chia seeds also make a great addition to a healthy dessert recipe to amp up the nutritional value of your final product. Making homemade bread? Try throwing in some whole chia seeds!

2. Soaked

There seems to be much debate as to whether you need to soak chia seeds before eating. Can you eat chia seeds without soaking them first? It won’t hurt to eat them straight, but if you soak them, then you “sprout” them, which releases the enzyme inhibitors that are used to protect the seed.

Not only does this make them much easier to digest, but it also helps increase the amount of nutrients your body is able to absorb. To get the most nutrients out of your food and to maximize the potential benefits of chia seeds, try soaking them before adding them to a recipe or smoothie. Either way, though, they’re still an excellent source of nutrition.

How to Soak Chia Seeds in Water

To soak chia seeds, simply mix them in a 1:10 ratio of chia to water and let them sit for between 30 minutes to two hours. This equates to about one and a half tablespoons of chia seeds in one cup of water, and although it doesn’t have to be exact, you do want it to gel all the way and not be too watery. Soaked chia seeds can typically last for up to five days refrigerated.

How to Eat Chia Seeds with Water

Since chia seeds can hold up to 12 times their weight in water, soaking your chia seeds in water is a great way to prevent dehydration. You can combine chia seeds with water to make a natural energy drink like this No Sugar Lemon Chia Fresca. You can also mix chia seeds with water to create a vegan-friendly egg substitute for your baked goods and recipes.

Combining chia seeds with water and fruit is also an effective and healthy way to create a homemade jam!

How to Eat Chia Seeds with Milk

Many chia seed recipes give you some great ideas for how to eat chia seeds with milk. For example, you can combine chia seeds with whatever milk you prefer, such as goat milk or coconut milk, to create a delicious chia seed pudding. There are many variations on chia seed pudding using various milks and other nutrient-rich as well as tasty ingredients such as fresh fruit and vanilla extract. Combing chia seeds with a healthy milk results in such a satisfying and decadent final product that it’s hard to believe you’re eating something that is so good for you.

3. Ground

Another option is to grind chia seeds in a coffee grinder or blender to break down the hard outer shells before eating them. When pulverized, ground chia seeds can be used as a flour in most gluten-free recipes like pancakes, muffins, breads and even pastas. After grinding omega-3-rich seeds, it’s best to store them in a sealed, glass container in your refrigerator or freezer.

How to Eat Chia Seeds for Weight Loss

A top benefit of chia seeds is their potential ability to help with weight loss efforts or to maintain a healthy weight. Of course, they are not a magic ingredient that instantly makes you lose extra pounds, but their nutrition profile certainly lends them to be a smart addition to a diet aimed at a healthy waistline.

What is it about chia seeds that can make them helpful for weight loss? For starters, chia seeds are a top source of plant-based protein. Research shows that higher-protein diets have desirable effects on both appetite and body weight management. When is the best time to eat chia seeds for weight loss? You can eat them whenever you like, but including them at breakfast may be an especially helpful choice. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that consumption of a high-protein breakfast rich in foods like chia seeds may decrease levels of ghrelin, the hormone responsible for stimulating hunger.

Chia seeds are also loaded with healthy fats and fiber too, which both help to keep you feeling full longer. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2015 demonstrates how making one dietary change — eating 30 grams of fiber each day — can boost weight loss while also lowering blood pressure and improving insulin response. If you’re wondering, “How much chia seeds should I eat to lose weight?” There is no well-studied or go-to amount, but two tablespoons contain about 12 grams of fiber which is 34–48 percent of many people’s daily fiber needs.

Final Thoughts

  • Chia seed nutrition includes protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and important minerals like manganese, calcium and phosphorus.
  • When it comes to how much chia seeds to eat a day, about two tablespoons is a good place to start.
  • Regardless of whether you opt to enjoy these super seeds whole, ground, soaked or raw, there are so many delicious chia seed recipes to choose from, and it’s also easy to add chia seeds to granola, yogurt, oatmeal and smoothies.
  • Soaking chia seeds in water or some type of milk (such as coconut) creates a gel-like final product that is delicious, rich and satisfying.
  • Chia seeds are an awesome superfood addition to a healthy diet and may help with weight loss efforts.

Read Next: Top 10 Benefits of Flaxseed + How to Add Flaxseeds to Your Diet

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