How and Why You Should Soak Chia Seeds Before Eating Them

Soaking Chia is easy and fun plus it helps improve absorption of nutrients. 

Chia Seeds have numerous benefits, but one of the most unique properties of Chia is its ability absorb up to 12 times its weight in water.

What does this mean for you?

Hydrated chia slows digestion and the time it takes for your stomach to empty which means you feel full longer. Soaking chia will activate the seed making it more bio-available to your body, helping to prevent blood sugar spikes, decreasing cholesterol and keeping you hydrated longer!

One of my favorite ways to eat chia is by making a delicious chia seed pudding.

Read on to learn more reasons you should soak your chia before eating it and how to do it properly…

Do you need to soak chia seeds? And do you need to soak them in water overnight?

The short answer is no you don’t need to soak your chia seeds overnight but it does help to maximize the benefits. Not only can you make amazing chia pudding recipes with chia gel, chia’s hydrophilic properties (ability to soak water) makes the seed much more valuable to your body. The only time you should consider eating chia dry is to help ease acid re-flux as it’s more likely to absorb the acid.

Chia gel can be added to your favorite smoothies or protein shakes as a base. I find this creates a mucilaginous effect and really helps aid digestion. Water-soaked chia seeds are easier to digest and the nutrients are better absorbed and assimilated in your body. Also, when soaking the chia it will prolong hydration and retain electrolytes, especially during exercise. This is one of the reasons why the ancient Aztec athletes consumed chia on a regular basis. And this is why chia is “The Runner’s Seed” used by modern-day athletes to sustain peak endurance and stay hydrated.

When you soak these tiny seeds, you can think of chia as an “intestinal broom” sweeping through the digestive track and eliminating build up of waste that will eventually lead to other problems.

How long should you pre-soak your chia seeds for?

This depends on how much of a hurry you are in. If you are a good planner, place your water and chia seeds in a mason jar, shake for about 2-3 minutes and then let sit in the refrigerator over night. You can also get a really good gel consistency in about 2-3 hours with this method.

If you’re in a hurry, simply swish the chia and water around in the mason jar (sealed) for about 5 minutes and let sit for another 5-10 minutes and you should have a good gel-like consistency. This will help prevent the seeds from getting stuck to the inside of the glass which makes for a harder clean up afterwards.

Tip: You can’t soak chia for too long. In fact, I’ve left a mason jar with chia and water in the refrigerator for a few days without a problem.

How much water do you need to soak your chia seeds?

This depends on your recipe. Below are two simple recipes you can make using water and chia as your base:

Basic Chia Gel

  • Organic Chia Seeds
  • Water
  • Mason Jar (I like to buy them in cases which last for a long time and are cheap.)
  • Chia seeds soak ratio: Mix 1/3-cup chia seeds to 2 cups water.
  • If you are using a mason jar, shake for 2-3 minutes or simply stir in a glass. Let sit in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. For best results, leave overnight.

Chia Fresca recipe

  • 2 tsp Organic Chia Seeds
  • 10 oz. Pure Water
  • Juice of one Lemon or Lime
  • Agave syrup or Raw Honey to taste
  • Mix ingredients in a mason jar or stir in a glass. This is still a popular traditional drink in Mexico.

You don’t have to soak chia in just water – try these dairy-free alternatives

Although water is the best liquid to use because water and oil share a special relationship in nature, you can use many of your favorite beverages and foods to achieve the same results:

Here’s some alternatives to soaking chia seeds in water:

-Coconut Milk
-Almond Milk
-Your favorite juice
-Water and Chia for your smoothie base
-Thicken oatmeal
-Thicken soups

Bonus video from Ashley’s Green Life explaining how she makes her favorite chia seed drink every day! Thanks Ashley!

What’s your favorite way of soaking chia? Do you soak chia?

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Happy chia making!

34 thoughts on “How and Why You Should Soak Chia Seeds Before Eating Them”

  1. I’m confused you just posted that you need to soak the Chia seeds for at least 2 to 3 hours or overnight and Ashley’s video shows that she let it soak for 20 minutes which one is it I am confused thank you very much best Evelyn

  2. Natural Nate

    Hi Evelyn! Great question – so technically you can soak for just a few minutes if you are in a hurry. Soak and stir just enough to get the seeds to gel up and create a good gel texture. Then you are good to go. But for chia pudding and other recipes, ideally you want to let it soak in your water or liquid for at least a couple of hours, ideally over night, in the refrigerator. Hope that helps!

  3. Awesome post, Nate! I just bought some chia seeds from Aldi’s and was wondering what the heck I was going to do with them. I’ve been drinking those Mamma Chia beverages and wanted to see if I could make them at home – it looks like the answer is yes! Thanks 🙂

  4. I have just been diagnosed with stage three breast cancer and have been researching what to eat foods to eat to kill the cancer cells, as my “cancer team” know NOTHING about nutrition. They (the oncology doctors, nurses, therapists, etc. on “my team”) seem to arrogantly announce their ignorance of nutrition, stating that “That is not my field of expertise.” HELLO, their field IS oncology, and since NUTRITION does play an EXTREMELY important role in beating cancer AND, better yet, PREVENTING cancer, it SHOULD be part of their expertise. (Though this is a moot point at any rate since they ALL completely lied to me (through omission) about the effects of their prescribed “therapy”, involving chemo(therapy), mastectomy and radiation(therapy). I have told the doctors and nurses on “my team” that because of this I have decided to NOT go through with their plan of aggressive chemo, etc., and to try to shrink (hopefully destroy the bulk of the cancer so that my body’s natural defenses can kill off the rest of it. I LOVE HOW YOU PUT SO MUCH INFORMATION ON YOUR WEBSITE!! KUDOS TO YOU AND YOUR TEAM!! More than 280,000 people are diagnosed with cancer every year, in the United States. (One of the oncology/radiology doctors thought Monsanto was a seed company. The nutritionist, that I had to wait two weeks to see, as there was not one on “my team”, is a dietician at the hospital and did not even know what GMOs are.) I told all of them that not only did they not answer my questions about the treatment and had lied, through omission, that the trust factor was at nearly zero, I no longer had any faith in them, and that I no longer felt that they were “my team”, especially since they laughed at what I had researched on the internet (from doctors, nutritionists, hospitals, etc.). THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!

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