Ground Chia Seeds vs. Whole – Which is Better?

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For a while, we were soaking our chia seeds, due to the increased health benefits as well as making them easier to eat.  But recently I have discovered the increased benefit of grinding the chia seeds first to make ground chia seeds.

I’ve actually found the process to be easier as well.  Let’s jump into the topic now!

Ground chia seeds vs. whole
Ground chia seeds vs. whole – Which is better?

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Ground Chia Seeds vs. Whole Chia Seeds

I made a quick video to outline why I started eating ground chia seeds before we jump in further.

Let’s look at the comparison of ground chia seeds versus whole chia seeds, and see which is best. We’ll break things down in detail below.

Ground Chia Seeds Benefits

Chia seeds, even in their whole form have tons of health benefits.  This includes tons of fiber, antioxidants, and Omega-3s. (See 35+ Chia Seed Benefits and Health Benefits of Chia Seeds for Women)

The great thing is that ground chia seeds have even more health benefits!  Some recent studies have found interesting results and increased benefits in grinding chia seeds and also in soaking chia seeds before consuming them, instead of just eating them whole (or raw).

Increases in ALA and EPA Levels

Two studies have found that ground chia seeds had a strong effect on increasing both ALA and EPA levels in the body.  And one of those studies found that whole chia seeds, in contrast, had no effect on these levels.  Essentially, the levels were found to increase much more when consuming ground chia seeds, with no effect found from eating whole chia seeds.

This first study found that ALA and EPA levels in the body were highest when consuming ground chia seeds, compared to raw or whole chia seeds. ALA levels increased by 58% and EPA levels by 39%.

A second study on ground chia seeds (called milled chia seeds in the study), found that postmenopausal women who were taking ground chia seeds saw a dramatic increase in ALA levels of 138% after only a week, and also saw elevated levels of 30% for their EPA.

The second-highest increase in ALA and EPA was found in soaked chia seeds compared to raw. These ALA levels were 24% higher in this study when eating soaked chia seeds.  So we see that there is a benefit to eating soaked chia seeds, at least for ALA levels. The greatest benefits, however, seem to come from grinding chia seeds.

Increased Antioxidant and Nutrient Uptake

A more recent study found that chia seeds that were ground, increased the uptake of antioxidants and nutrients compared to whole chia seeds or sprouted (soaked) chia seeds.

The study recommends that chia seeds should be ground if the goal is to increase the uptake of micro and macronutrients.  Chia seeds should be soaked if the goal is to increase protein synthesis.

Ground Chia Seeds Nutrition

Here is the nutritional information for ground chia seeds.

Serving Size: 2 Tbsp

Amount Per Serving% Daily Value
Calories from Fat30
Total Fat3.5g5%
Omega-3 Fatty Acids (ALA)2.2g
Omega-6 Fatty Acids (LA)0.7g
Ground Chia Seeds Nutrition

Ground Chia Seeds Fiber

Ground chia seeds are a great source of fiber.  In fact, chia seeds are one of the highest-fiber foods I’ve found.

Fiber is essential for health and most people are deficient in fiber.  If nothing else, I recommend chia seeds just to get more fiber in the diet.

Also, if you are trying to lose weight, fiber is great because it helps you feel more full and satiated, leading to you eating less.  (See more at How to Use Chia Seeds for Weight Loss)

How to Use Ground Chia Seeds

Ground chia seeds can be used or eaten in a variety of ways. You can learn how to grind them at How to Grind Chia Seeds.

1) Sprinkle Ground Chia Seeds in Food

You can sprinkle ground chia seeds on the existing foods that you are eating.  This will add more nutrients and fiber to these foods.  But understand, this does not turn bad or unhealthy foods into healthy foods by adding chia seeds!

Aim to still eat healthy foods such as salads or smoothies for the best results.  By adding ground chia seeds to your foods, you are making them even better for you!

2) Put Ground Chia Seeds in Smoothies

You can add ground chia seeds to smoothies just like you would add whole chia seeds.  But experiment with this, as this might make the smoothies much thicker than when you use whole chia seeds.

3) Chia Seed Pudding

You could still make chia seed pudding using ground chia seeds.  Just be aware that this changes the consistency and makes it thicker than when you use whole chia seeds.

4) Add Ground Chia Seeds to Oatmeal

I have a recipe for healthy plant-based oatmeal here that I eat every morning.  It’s a great recipe, since it uses both chia seeds and flax seeds together, for added benefits.  I initially used soaked chia seeds in the oatmeal, but after learning all the new benefits of chia seeds that are ground, I’ve switched over to grinding the chia seeds instead.

5) Soak Ground Chia Seeds

You can still soak ground chia seeds, just as you would soak whole chia seeds.  The only difference I’ve noticed is that the gel it creates tends to be thicker and also sticks together more, than when you soak whole chia seeds.

You can learn how to soak chia seeds at How to Soak Chia Seeds or if it’s necessary to do so at Do You Need to Soak Chia Seeds Before Eating?

How Much Ground Chia Seeds Per Day?

I recommend aiming for about 2 tablespoons of ground chia seeds per day if you have a fairly healthy diet. But you can still get good benefits from chia seeds by eating less than this if you find this too much. (Even 1 tsp of chia seeds everyday can provide benefits) For maximum health or if you are not eating enough fiber or other healthy foods in your diet, you might want to eat 4-5 tablespoons a day instead. (But you might want to be aware that this is over the 2 tablespoon amount, so beware of any Dangers of Chia Seeds)

But start with 1 tablespoon first or less, and see how your body reacts to the increase in fiber. If everything is ok then you can increase the amount by one more tablespoon till you get to the desired amount.

Learn more at How Much Chia Seeds Per Day?

Common Questions

What’s the difference between chia seeds and ground chia seeds?

Ground chia seeds are nothing more than whole chia seeds that have been ground up into a powder.  Ground chia seeds have been shown in studies to have more health benefits than whole chia seeds.

Will ground chia seeds still gel?

Ground chia seeds will still gel, but the gel will be different than when you soak whole chia seeds.  The gel from ground chia seeds seems to be a little thicker and will also stick together more.

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See also  Do You Need to Grind Chia Seeds? Exploring the Benefits & Drawbacks

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