Can we eat sprouted chia seeds?

Sprouted chia seeds are a nutritious addition to many foods and provide several health benefits. Chia seeds are a good source of fiber, protein, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. Sprouting chia seeds enhances their nutritional value and makes them easier to digest. Sprouted chia seeds can be eaten raw or added to salads, yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies, baked goods, and more. However, some precautions should be taken when consuming sprouted seeds.

What are sprouted chia seeds?

Sprouted chia seeds are chia seeds that have just begun to sprout or germinate. The sprouting process involves soaking chia seeds in water to kickstart germination. This activates enzymes and makes some of the nutrients more bioavailable. Sprouting causes the seed to break down some of its carbohydrates into simple sugars, while converting proteins into amino acids and fats into fatty acids. The sprouting process lasts 1-3 days, until a small sprout emerges from the seed.

Nutrition facts

Sprouted chia seeds have a slightly different nutritional profile than regular dry chia seeds. Sprouting enhances the bioavailability of certain vitamins and minerals. According to the USDA, a 1 ounce (28 gram) serving of sprouted chia seeds contains:

  • Calories: 139
  • Protein: 4.4 grams
  • Fat: 8.6 grams
  • Carbs: 12 grams
  • Fiber: 10.6 grams
  • Manganese: 15% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 30% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 17% of the RDI
  • Copper: 6% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 5% of the RDI
  • Zinc: 5% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): 7% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 5% of the RDI

The fiber, protein, manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium are slightly higher in sprouted chia seeds compared to dry seeds. Sprouting breaks down some of the carbohydrate content into natural sugars.

Benefits of eating sprouted chia seeds

Here are some of the top benefits of adding sprouted chia seeds to your diet:

More nutritious

Sprouting makes some key nutrients in chia seeds more bioavailable to our bodies. Antioxidants like quercetin and kaempferol become more absorbable after sprouting. The conversion of carbohydrates into sugars also provides a quick energy source.

Easier to digest

Since sprouting breaks down some of the carbohydrates and proteins, sprouted chia seeds may be easier on digestion than dry seeds. The seed coat also softens during the sprouting process. This makes it easier for the digestive tract to absorb nutrients.

May reduce antinutrients

Soaking and sprouting chia seeds can help reduce compounds called antinutrients, such as phytic acid. Phytic acid may interfere with the absorption of some minerals. Sprouting activates phytases, enzymes that can break down phytic acid.

Good source of omega-3s

Chia seeds are one of the richest plant-based sources of omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Sprouting does not decrease the omega-3 content. Just 1 ounce of sprouted chia seeds provides over 5 grams of ALA.

High in fiber

Sprouted chia seeds retain their high fiber content. They provide 10 grams of fiber per ounce, supporting digestive and heart health.


Chia seeds are naturally gluten-free. The sprouting process does not add any gluten. So sprouted chia can be enjoyed on a gluten-free diet.

How to sprout chia seeds

Chia seeds are easy to sprout at home with just a jar, water, and a draining lid or cheesecloth.


  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 cup water


  1. Add the chia seeds to a clean jar or container. Glass mason jars work well.
  2. Fill the jar with water. Use around 3-4 times as much water as seeds.
  3. Place a sprouting lid on the jar or cover the opening with cheesecloth or mesh secured with a rubber band. This allows for drainage.
  4. Let the seeds soak for 8-12 hours. They will absorb the water and plump up into a gel.
  5. Drain off any excess water through the lid. Run water through if needed.
  6. Place the jar upside down at an angle to continue draining. Keep out of direct sunlight.
  7. Rinse and drain the seeds 2-3 times per day for 1-3 days. Tiny sprouts will begin emerging.
  8. Once sprouts are 1-2 mm long, they are ready to eat. Store sprouted seeds in the fridge for up to 5-7 days.

The seeds will be fully sprouted when small splits form at the tips and a sprout emerges. Sprouting times vary based on temperature and humidity but generally take 1-3 days.

How to eat sprouted chia seeds

Sprouted chia seeds have a mild, nutty flavor. There are many ways you can add them to meals and snacks:

Add to yogurt, oatmeal, and cereals

Try sprinkling sprouted chia seeds on top of yogurt bowls, overnight oats, hot cereals, granola, and muesli. They add a boost of nutrients, fiber, and texture.

Blend into smoothies

Add a tablespoon or two of sprouted chia seeds into your favorite smoothies. Their gelling action helps thicken up the smoothie naturally.

Fold into baked goods

Fold sprouted chia seeds into muffin, bread, cake, or cookie batter before baking. They add extra nutrition without affecting the texture.

Use in puddings

Sprouted chia seeds make great chia pudding. Simply mix the seeds with milk or nondairy milk and refrigerate overnight until thickened. Customize with fruits, nuts, spices, or chocolate.

Make energy bites

Combine sprouted chia seeds with sticky ingredients like nut butter, honey, and dried fruit to make portable energy bites or bars.

Add to salads

Sprinkle sprouted chia seeds onto green salads, grain salads, chicken salads, and pasta salads for added crunch.

Mix into granola bars

Stir sprouted chia seeds into homemade granola bars for extra nutrition and texture.

Precautions when eating sprouted seeds

While sprouted chia seeds make a healthy addition to many recipes, some precautions should be taken:

Increased risk of contamination

The warm, moist conditions needed to sprout seeds can also encourage the growth of harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella and E. coli. Make sure to follow food safety guidelines when sprouting and consuming the seeds.

Higher allergy risk

Those with allergies to chia seeds should avoid sprouted chia seeds since sprouting does not reduce allergenic proteins. In fact, sprouting may increase the allergy risk in some cases.

Phytates may still inhibit mineral absorption

While sprouting helps reduce phytic acid, some may still remain. Individual tolerance varies. Those with mineral deficiencies may need to limit intake.

May interact with medications

Due to their high fiber content, sprouted chia seeds may reduce the absorption of some medications. Check with a doctor about medication interactions.

Not recommended for infants

Sprouted chia seeds and other sprouted seeds are not considered safe for babies and young children due to contamination risks.

Bottom line

Sprouted chia seeds provide a more easily digestible, nutritious option compared to regular chia seeds. The sprouting process enhances the bioavailability of nutrients like antioxidants, protein, and minerals. Sprouted chia seeds can be safely enjoyed by most people in moderation as part of smoothies, oatmeal, salads, yogurt, baked goods, and other dishes. However, some people should exercise caution when consuming sprouted seeds, including those at high risk for food contamination, with medication interactions, mineral deficiencies, or allergies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you eat raw sprouted chia seeds?

Yes, sprouted chia seeds can be eaten raw. Many people enjoy their texture and mild nutty flavor sprinkled on yogurt, oatmeal, salads, and more. Raw sprouted chia can also be blended into smoothies.

Do sprouted chia seeds go bad?

Sprouted chia seeds have a slightly shorter shelf life than dry chia seeds. They can be stored in the fridge for 5-7 days. Look for signs of spoilage like mold, sliminess, or a rancid smell before consuming.

Are soaked chia seeds the same as sprouted?

Soaked and sprouted chia seeds are slightly different. Soaked seeds have absorbed water but have not yet begun to sprout. Sprouted seeds have started splitting and growing an emerging root/sprout. Sprouted seeds are more nutritious and easier to digest.

Can you eat chia seeds while pregnant?

Chia seeds and sprouted chia seeds can be part of a healthy pregnancy diet. They provide nutrients like omega-3s, fiber, protein, magnesium, and iron. However, sprouted seeds may carry an increased risk of bacterial contamination. Pregnant women should take precautions when consuming.

Do you have to soak chia seeds to eat them?

It’s not necessary to soak or sprout chia seeds before eating them. Most people eat dry chia seeds by sprinkling them on foods or mixing them into recipes. But sprouting does enhance their nutrition, texture, and digestibility.


Sprouted chia seeds offer a crunchy, nutritious addition to the diet. The sprouting process causes the seeds to break down into more digestible components while unlocking beneficial nutrients. Sprouted chia seeds can be eaten raw or incorporated into smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, baked goods, salads, and snacks. Just a small amount provides a boost of protein, fiber, antioxidants, minerals, and omega-3s. However, sprouts may also come with some increased risks. Proper handling and storage of sprouted seeds is important to reduce the likelihood of contamination. Overall, sprouted chia seeds are a healthy option for most people when eaten in moderation as part of a balanced diet.


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