Chia seeds have provided humans with nutrients for decades upon decades, going back to the Bronze Age. It only became a health craze a few years ago, thanks to the huge popularity of chia seed pudding. However, what scientists and nutritionists are still researching is how exactly they benefit us and how we can best absorb their nutrients.

A one ounce serving size contains 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein and 9 grams of fat (5 of which are omega-3s). Chia seeds also provide a loaded amount of antioxidants, protein and fiber-filled carbohydrates. Unfortunately, we may not be getting all they have to offer.

Are these nutrients really being absorbed?

While chia seeds are a great source of fiber and protein and often get linked to weight-loss, studies have shown that the seeds are not nearly as effective when whole as they are ground up. Similar to flax seeds, they must be granulated in order to fully obtain the omega-3. 

In a study from The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, subjects who ingested whole chia seeds everyday for ten weeks found no difference in their omega-3 levels. Meanwhile, subjects who replaced the whole seeds with milled chia seeds saw an increase in both their short-chain and long-chain omega-3 blood levels.

Grinding Chia Could Be the Solution

Several other studies have been done and show similar results — like flaxseeds, chia seeds need to be milled in order for us to absorb all of their nutrients. Luckily, the texture of milled chia seeds is similar to the gooey softness whole chia seeds add to smoothie bowls and pudding (if that's what you're after). 

Why Should We Care About Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Becky Hughes

Omega-3s are vital to a human's good health. Science has linked several different advantages that can come from a person's fatty acid and omega-3 intake, such as helping to improving acne and sleep.

The bottom-line is omega-3s and fatty acids are extremely important for a healthy mind and body. The more we pay attention to our ingestion of them, the better off we will be.

A Little Extra Effort

Grinding chia seeds may be a bit more work, but it helps increase their overall bioavailability. The full health benefits of chia seeds, frankly, require a bit more effort. The seeds can be ground using a clean coffee grinder or small blender, or can just be bought as a ground meal.