Life Extension Magazine®

Spoonful of the super food chia seeds

Superfoods: Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are an important plant source of omega-3s, packed with protein and fiber. Studies show they improve blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, bone mineral density, and weight loss.

Scientifically reviewed by: Holli Ryan, RD, LD/N, in July 2023. Written by: Laurie Mathena.

Thousands of years ago, chia seeds were offered to Aztec gods in religious ceremonies. The whole and ground version of chia seed with its oil was part of diet, folk medicine, and ancient cosmetics in Aztec communities.1

Just 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of chia seeds packs in over 4 grams of protein, 11 grams of fiber, and 7 grams of unsaturated fat. It also provides 18% of the RDA for calcium, and trace minerals including zinc and copper.2

They contain all nine essential amino acids that can’t be made by the body.2

Chia seeds are a great plant source of omega-3 fatty acids, as they contain high amounts of an omega-3 called alpha linolenic acid (ALA). Sixty-five percent of the oil in chia seeds is from omega-3s.1

Along with their impressive nutritional profile, studies have shown that chia seeds provide a variety of impressive health benefits.

For example, research has established that chia seeds can play a role in helping to manage diabetes, dyslipidemia, and hypertension. They also have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-blood clotting, immune-boosting, laxative, antidepressant, and analgesic properties.1

Chia seeds could be especially valuable for type II diabetics. Studies have shown that consuming 40 grams of chia seeds per day for 12 weeks helps reduce systolic blood pressure in people with hypertension and type II diabetes.3

In another 12-week clinical trial, subjects were randomized to hypertensive drug-treated, hypertensive untreated patients, and placebo groups. Subjects consumed 35 grams per day of chia flour or a placebo. After 12 weeks it was concluded that Chia flour has the ability to reduce blood pressure in both treated and untreated hypertensive individuals, while no change was observed in the placebo group.4

Chia seeds have also been shown to promote increased feelings of fullness and reduced food intake, which can promote weight loss.5

In a study of obese type II diabetics, adding chia seeds to a reduced calorie diet led to significantly greater weight loss than in those who received a placebo.6

Chia seeds can be added to smoothies or baked goods, used as a thickener for sauces, or mixed with your choice of liquid (ex: almond milk) to make a chia pudding. Top it with cacao nibs, shredded coconut, or fruit for a delicious treat. •


  1. Ullah R, Nadeem M, Khalique A, et al. Nutritional and therapeutic perspectives of Chia (Salvia hispanica L.): a review. J Food Sci Technol. 2016 Apr;53(4):1750-8.
  2. Available at: Accessed April, 27, 2023.
  3. Alwosais EZM, Al-Ozairi E, Zafar TA, et al. Chia seed (Salvia hispanica L.) supplementation to the diet of adults with type 2 diabetes improved systolic blood pressure: A randomized controlled trial. Nutr Health. 2021 Jun;27(2):181-9.
  4. Toscano LT, da Silva CS, Toscano LT, et al. Chia flour supplementation reduces blood pressure in hypertensive subjects. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2014 Dec;69(4):392-8.
  5. Ayaz A, Akyol A, Inan-Eroglu E, et al. Chia seed (Salvia Hispanica L.) added yogurt reduces short-term food intake and increases satiety: randomised controlled trial. Nutr Res Pract. 2017 Oct;11(5):412-8.
  6. Vuksan V, Jenkins AL, Brissette C, et al. Salba-chia (Salvia hispanica L.) in the treatment of overweight and obese patients with type 2 diabetes: A double-blind randomized controlled trial. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2017 Feb;27(2):138-46.