The Difference Between White and Black Chia Seeds

Which Are Healthier: White Chia Seeds or Black Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds on spoon
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Chia seeds are gaining popularity for their nutrient content, including dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. They are available in two colors: black and white. Which color of chia seed offers greater health benefits?

According to Wayne Coates, Professor Emeritus in the Office of Arid Land Studies at the University of Arizona, there is no significant nutritional difference between the two colors of chia seeds.

A long-time researcher on the best ways to grow and harvest chia seeds, Coates writes in his book, "Chia," that black and white chia seeds boast essentially the same nutrient profile.

A Brief History of Chia Seeds

Chia originated in central America, near Guatemala, and also in areas of southern Mexico. It was a staple food, like corn and beans, in the diets of the Aztecs and Mayans. Chia actually got its name from the Mayan word for “strength.” It grows well in these hot, and sometimes arid, regions.  

The chia plant is extremely hardy and adaptable to climate change and, today is grown all over the world. The quality and nutritive values of the seeds are the same no matter in what type of soil or climate they are grown.

Today, they are harvested worldwide and can be found in most grocery and health-food stores available for everyone to try.

Do Chia Seeds Lose Their Nutritional Value When Cooked?

Many people worry about cooking chia seeds thinking that the health benefits of the seeds will be lost when cooked.

 According to the editor of the Chia Seeds blog, studies have shown that chia does not lose any nutritional value when it is baked.

"In fact, it has a very long shelf life because of the antioxidants and omega-3s that are in the seeds, which seemingly also help it maintain its nutritional value regardless of how you cook it," the blog states.

Good-for-You Recipes Using Chia Seeds

While chia seeds are terrific sprinkled raw on all types of foods, they also can be used in combination with other good-for-you ingredients like berries and quinoa to make super foods. Here are some recipes to get you started:

More About Chia Seeds


  • "Chia: The Complete Guide to the Ultimate Superfood" by Wayne Coates, Ph.D. (Sterling Publishing, 2012)
  • Chia Seeds blog

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