What is a good amount of chia seeds per day?

Quick Answers

The recommended daily intake of chia seeds is around 15-25 grams (1-2 tablespoons) per day. Chia seeds are a nutritious addition to the diet and provide fiber, protein, healthy fats and micronutrients. Consuming up to 50 grams (around 3-4 tablespoons) is generally considered safe for most healthy adults. Excessive intake may cause gastrointestinal side effects. Speak to your healthcare provider to determine the right amount for your individual needs.

How Many Chia Seeds Should You Eat Per Day?

Chia seeds have become a popular dietary supplement in recent years due to their excellent nutritional profile. But how many chia seeds should you eat per day to reap the health benefits while avoiding potential side effects? Here is a closer look at the recommended and safe daily intake amounts.

Recommended Intake

Most health organizations and experts suggest consuming around 15-25 grams or 1-2 tablespoons of chia seeds per day for general health and wellbeing. This amount provides a good dose of fiber, protein, essential fatty acids and micronutrients without significantly increasing calorie intake.

Some of the potential benefits of eating 15-25 grams of chia seeds daily include:

  • Increased fiber intake, which promotes digestive health and regularity.
  • Extra protein, which supports metabolic health and tissue repair.
  • Essential fatty acids like omega-3s for brain function and heart health.
  • Important micronutrients like manganese, phosphorus and calcium.
  • Enhanced satiety from fiber and protein, which may aid weight loss.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend getting 14 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories consumed. For a 2,000 calorie diet, that equates to 28 grams of fiber. One ounce (28 grams) of chia seeds provides 11 grams of fiber, making it an excellent high-fiber food to include in your meals and snacks.

Safe Upper Limit

Consuming up to around 50 grams or 3-4 tablespoons of chia seeds per day is likely safe for most healthy adults, according to registered dietitians. This gives you more flexibility if you want to experiment with higher doses for potential added benefits.

However, more is not necessarily better when it comes to chia seeds. Exceeding 50 grams per day, especially all at once, may increase the risk of unpleasant gastrointestinal side effects like:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

This is because chia seeds form a gel-like coating when combined with liquid, which can block the intestines if consumed in excessive amounts. This is known as an intestinal obstruction. Chia seeds also contain phytic acid, which may hinder nutrient absorption in very high doses.

For these reasons, it is best to start with 15-25 grams per day and gradually work your way up to 50 grams if you want to consume larger amounts. Pay attention to your digestive symptoms and reduce intake if you experience any discomfort.

Daily Intake Recommendations

Here is a closer look at the daily chia seeds intake recommendations based on age, gender and activity level:


There is limited research on chia seeds for children. As a precaution, most experts recommend:

  • 1-2 teaspoons (5-10 grams) per day for children ages 2-3.
  • 1-2 tablespoons (10-15 grams) for children ages 4-8.
  • 2-3 tablespoons (15-25 grams) for children ages 9-18.

Always consult your pediatrician before giving chia seeds to children. Generally, it is best to gradually increase fiber sources in a child’s diet and monitor for any gastrointestinal discomfort. Grinding chia seeds before consumption can improve digestibility.


  • 1-2 tablespoons (15-25 grams) per day for most healthy adult women.
  • Pregnant women should limit intake to 2-4 tablespoons (25-50 grams) maximum per day and consult their OB-GYN.
  • Up to 3-4 tablespoons (30-50 grams) per day is considered safe for breastfeeding women.

The fiber, omega-3s and micronutrients in chia seeds support women’s health. However, pregnant women should exercise caution since excessive fiber intake can cause intestinal issues. Staying hydrated is key as well to prevent constipation.


  • 2-3 tablespoons (25-35 grams) per day for most healthy adult men.
  • Active men can safely consume up to 4-6 tablespoons (50-75 grams) split into multiple meals or smoothies.

Men generally need more calories than women, allowing them to incorporate slightly larger amounts of chia seeds if desired. The fiber helps support digestive and heart health in men.

Athletes & Active Individuals

Endurance athletes, bodybuilders and very active individuals have higher calorie and nutrient needs. For these groups, safe chia seeds intake may range from:

  • 2-4 tablespoons (25-50 grams) per day for moderately active people.
  • 4-8 tablespoons (50-100 grams) for extremely active individuals.

Spreading intake throughout the day and drinking plenty of fluids is particularly important for active populations to prevent digestive issues. The protein, healthy fats and nutrients in chia seeds make them an excellent addition to a pre or post workout snack or smoothie.

Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

At an intake of 15-50 grams per day, adding chia seeds to your diet provides many science-backed health benefits. Here is an overview:

Rich in Nutrients

Chia seeds are loaded with important vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Just two tablespoons (28 grams) provides:

  • 139 calories
  • 4 grams protein
  • 9 grams fat
  • 11 grams fiber
  • 18% RDI for calcium
  • 15% RDI for iron
  • 30% RDI for magnesium
  • 42% RDI for phosphorus
  • 95mg omega-3 fatty acids

They are one of the richest plant sources of omega-3s and provide ample protein, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and B vitamins. The high fiber content supports regularity and healthy cholesterol levels as well.

Improves Digestive Health

Multiple studies show that eating 25-50 grams of chia seeds per day can increase stool weight and frequency in those with constipation. The viscous fiber in chia seeds acts as a prebiotic to feed beneficial gut bacteria. This enhances regularity and gut health.

Supports Weight Loss

Research finds that chia seeds may support weight loss in overweight adults when consumed as part of a calorie-controlled diet. The fiber makes you feel full, while the protein helps build and maintain lean muscle mass. One study found enhanced weight loss from eating 25 grams of chia seeds two times per day.

Regulates Blood Sugar

In studies of patients with diabetes, eating 15-50 grams of chia seeds per day lowered blood sugar levels, long-term glucose control and risk factors for heart disease. The soluble fiber slows digestion and helps regulate insulin response after meals.

Reduces Chronic Inflammation

The omega-3s and antioxidants in chia seeds exhibit powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Studies indicate daily chia intake reduces inflammatory markers in patients with diabetes, obesity and heart disease – conditions linked to chronic inflammation.

Supports Heart Health

Human and animal studies show that adding 25-50 grams of chia seeds into the daily diet for 4-12 weeks reduces blood pressure, LDL “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides. The omega-3 fats help improve cardiac risk factors.

Increases Exercise Endurance

Chia seeds are a popular pre-workout snack for athletes. The carbs, protein, healthy fats and nutrients provide sustained energy. Some small studies indicate improved exercise performance and endurance after eating 25-50 grams of chia seeds per day.

Potential Side Effects

When consumed in moderation, chia seeds are likely safe for most healthy adults. However, eating too many may cause adverse effects in some individuals, including:

Gastrointestinal Discomfort

Excessive chia seed intake can cause unpleasant digestive side effects due to the high fiber content. Soaking chia seeds before eating can improve digestibility and tolerance. Starting with small doses and drinking plenty of water is key as well.

Increased Prostate Cancer Risk in Men

Some experts theorize that the alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in chia seeds could raise prostate cancer risk in men, like other omega-3s. However more research is needed and ALA likely only causes issues in extreme excess.

Allergic Reactions

Chia seeds are considered hypoallergenic but can still trigger allergic reactions in those with sensitivities to mustard, sesame or poppy seeds. Discontinue use if any itching, hives, swelling or breathing difficulties occur.

Blood Thinner Interactions

Due to their omega-3 content, chia seeds may increase bleeding risk in those on blood thinner medications. Check with your doctor before consuming large amounts of chia while taking anticoagulant or antiplatelet drugs.

As with any dietary supplement, speak with your healthcare provider before adding chia seeds to your routine – especially if you have an underlying medical condition or take any medications. Pay attention to your body’s response.

How to Add Chia Seeds Into Your Diet

Chia seeds have a mild, nutty flavor that makes them easy to incorporate into recipes and meals. Here are some simple ways to add 15-50 grams of chia seeds into your diet each day:

Chia Pudding

Combine 2-4 tablespoons (25-50 grams) of chia seeds with 1 cup dairy or non-dairy milk and your choice of flavorings like cocoa or vanilla extract, cinnamon and fresh fruit. Refrigerate to allow the chia seeds to absorb the liquid and take on a fun, pudding-like texture.

Oatmeal and Yogurt

Stir 1-2 tablespoons (15-25 grams) of chia seeds into oatmeal, yogurt, cottage cheese or cereal to add protein, healthy fats and a crunchy, poppy seed-like texture.

Baked Goods

Add 2-3 tablespoons (25-35 grams) of chia seeds into muffin, bread, cake, pancake or waffle batter. You can replace up to 1 egg with 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of chia seeds combined with 2-3 tablespoons of water.


Blend 1-4 tablespoons (15-50 grams) of chia seeds with fruit, vegetables, leafy greens, milk and protein powder for a nutrition-packed smoothie with a thick, creamy consistency.

Granola and Cereal Bars

Incorporate 2-4 tablespoons (25-50 grams) of chia seeds into homemade granola bars, energy bites or other baked cereal bars to add valuable nutrients without changing the texture.

Soups and Stews

Whisk 1-2 tablespoons (15-25 grams) of chia seeds into soups, stews, sauces and gravies during the last few minutes of simmering to add nutrients without impacting taste or texture.

Salad Topper

Sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons (15-25 grams) of chia seeds onto your salad for extra crunch and a nutritious boost. The neutral taste won’t overpower the other ingredients.

Are Ground Chia Seeds Better Than Whole?

Chia seeds can be purchased either whole or pre-ground into a fine powder or flour. Here is how the two forms compare nutritionally:

Nutrition Content

Whole and ground chia seeds have the exact same number of calories, macronutrients, vitamins and minerals per serving. Grinding simply decreases the size of the seeds.

Fiber Content

Since the hard outer shell of the seeds is broken down, some research shows ground chia seeds have slightly higher bioavailability and absorption of nutrients like fiber. However, the difference appears relatively small.


Ground chia seeds don’t need to be chewed and are more rapidly absorbed by the body. This makes them easier on digestion. Soaking whole chia seeds before eating can make them just as digestible.


Ground chia has a smooth, flour-like consistency you can blend into liquids. Whole chia seeds act more like a thickener with a gel-like crunch. It comes down to personal preference for your recipes.


Ground chia seeds are often more expensive than whole, given the extra processing. However, you can easily grind whole chia seeds yourself in a coffee grinder. There is minimal difference.

Either whole or ground chia seeds can provide you with very similar health benefits. Ground may have a slight edge for nutrient absorption but takes away the enjoyable crunchy quinoa-like texture that makes chia fun to eat.

Chia Seed FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about chia seeds:

Do chia seeds need to be ground?

Chia seeds don’t need to be ground to reap the nutritional benefits. Whole chia seeds are digestible for most people. However, grinding, milling or soaking can increase digestibility even further.

Do you need to soak chia seeds before eating them?

Soaking chia seeds for 15-30 minutes before consuming helps them absorb more water, forming a gel. This can improve their digestibility and nutrient absorption. Soaking is optional but recommended, especially when eating larger doses.

Can you eat too many chia seeds?

Yes, eating too many chia seeds can cause gastrointestinal issues. Stick within the recommended daily intake of 15-50 grams. Be prudent if consuming at the higher end of this range and reduce intake if you experience cramping or diarrhea.

When should you eat chia seeds morning or night?

Chia seeds can be eaten anytime. Some people prefer taking them first thing in the morning for an energy boost. Others like them as a nighttime snack for the release of nutrients and fiber during sleep. The optimal timing comes down to personal preference.

Are chia seeds Keto friendly?

Yes, chia seeds can definitely be included in a ketogenic diet. They are very low in carbohydrates with only 4 net carbs per ounce (28 grams). Chia is high in fiber and healthy fats, making it ideal for keto. The omega-3s provide extra benefits for mind and body.

The Bottom Line

Chia seeds provide important nutrients like fiber, protein, omega-3s, iron, magnesium and calcium. The recommended daily intake is around 15-25 grams (1-2 tablespoons) per day for general health, but up to 50 grams can be safely consumed by most healthy adults. Consuming excess chia seeds may cause gastrointestinal issues so increase intake gradually while paying attention to your body’s response. Add chia seeds into smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, baked goods and other dishes to take advantage of their many benefits and versatile poppy seed-like texture. Speak to your doctor or dietitian to help determine the right amount of chia seeds to incorporate into your individual diet and fitness routine.

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