Black Vs White Chia Seeds – What’s The Difference?

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between black and white chia seeds?  Does one colour contain more health benefits than the other?  I was out grocery shopping the other day, chia seeds were on my list, and as I went to grab some off the shelf, I suddenly wondered if I was buying the right kind.  Is black better than white?  Is white better than black?

What Are Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are the edible seeds produced by a flowering plant of the mint family native to Central America and Southern Mexico.  Originally, grown in tropical and subtropical climates, nowadays, it is grown all over the world, but mainly in Argentina, Peru, Paraguay, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Guatemala and Australia. In Europe, chia is grown in greenhouses.

chia seeds

Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

Thousands of years ago chia seeds were an everyday food being eaten by pre-Columbian peoples living mainly in Central America. Chia contains high amounts of dietary fibre and proteins, and is rich in many exogenous amino acids. It also has high amounts of  omega-3 fatty acids. They are a good source of many minerals and vitamins, as well as antioxidants, particularly polyphenols and tocopherols. Research indicates that there are many health benefits linked to chia seeds.

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There are two colours of chia seeds – black ones and white ones.  They taste exactly the same, and both colours have similar nutritional value. There can be some extremely minor nutritional differences between black and white chia, and between one batch of chia to another, but this relates to where the plants were grown and the climate rather than the actual colour.

If you come across yellow, tan or brown chia seeds, these are immature chia heeds or not chia seeds at all, and some type of weed seeds.  These contain less minerals, proteins vitamins and omega-3 and will not provide you with the same nutritional benefits.  To get the full benefits make sure you purchase the mature black or white ones which contain minimal immature or weed seeds.

The Difference Between Black and White Chia Seeds

But there is one main difference between the two.  Aesthetics.  Which ones look better.  White ones look better in light coloured foods, black ones look better in dark coloured food.  I prefer to use white ones to make chia puddings, and I really quite like a sprinkle of black chia seeds on top of a smoothie bowl to give a great colour contrast. 

Whichever you choose, make sure to purchase those that are not or minimally contaminated with immature or weed seeds to you get the full health benefits that chia seeds provide.


1. Axe, Josh. “9 Chia Seeds Benefits, Chia Side Effects Chia Seeds Recipes.” Dr. Axe, 12 Sept. 2017, Available Here

Image Courtesy: 1. “Seed of chia (Salvia hispanica)Salvia hispanica group” By Keegan Fields – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia

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