The Link Between Chia Seeds and Your Lipid Levels

Chia (Salvia hispanica L) is a type of plant that is a member of the mint family and is mostly grown in countries such as Colombia and Guatemala. The seed derived from this plant is commonly used in many types of foods—including breads, cereals, and other dishes—as well as consumed alone.

Chia seeds in a bowl and a spoon
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Chia seeds have become a popular food in recent years due to a variety of factors. Although chia seeds are mostly known for contributing to the popular gift, the Chia pet, they are also high in many nutrients— including soluble fiber, healthy fats, antioxidants, minerals, and B vitamins. The health benefits of consuming chia seeds have also been looked at in certain medical conditions, such as metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Can including chia seeds in your diet also help keep your cholesterol and triglyceride levels healthy?

Chia Seeds and Your Lipids

There are only a few, small studies out there that have looked at how chia seed consumption affects cholesterol and triglyceride levels. These studies mostly looked at people who had diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or were classified as overweight. These studies lasted anywhere from 10 to 14 weeks in people who were also following a healthy diet—in addition to consuming anywhere between 25 and 50 grams of milled or whole chia seeds daily.

Most studies revealed that including chia seeds did not significantly improve LDL, HDL, total cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. On the other hand, a couple of studies showed that chia seeds were able to significantly lower triglyceride levels. However, one of these studies also used chia seeds in a mixture with soy and oatmeal—two foods that have also been shown to help improve lipid levels.

Should You Include Chia Seeds in Your Diet?

Because of their nutritional value and health benefits, chia seeds have been making more appearances on grocery and health food store shelves. But if you’re looking at chia seeds to help lower your lipid levels, the verdict is still out as to whether or not they can be beneficial in keeping your cholesterol and triglyceride levels in check.

Even though more studies are needed in this area, chia seeds are high in soluble fiber and the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid—both heart-healthy ingredients that can help keep your lipid levels in check. Because of this, chia seeds may be included in a diet to lower your cholesterol and triglycerides. Chia seeds can be included in a variety of foods, including:

  • Mixing chia seeds into whole grain pancakes or muffins.
  • Tossing in a handful of chia seeds into your morning cereal, yogurt, or oatmeal.
  • Tossing chia seeds into your favorite smoothie for breakfast.
  • Adding them to your soup or salad as a delicious topping.
  • Mixing chia seeds into your granola or other healthy snacks

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to include nutritious chia seeds into your lipid-lowering diet. However, along with the healthy fat content that they possess, chia seeds are also a little high in calories—especially if you use a large amount of them. So, as with any type of food, consume them in moderation.

3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Mohd Ali N, Yeap SK, Ho WY, Beh BK, Tan SW, Tan SG. The promising future of chia, Salvia hispanica LJ Biomed Biotechnol. 2012;2012:171956. doi:10.1155/2012/171956

  3. Imran M, Nadeem M, Manzoor MF. Fatty acids characterization, oxidative perspectives and consumer acceptability of oil extracted from pre-treated chia (Salvia hispanica L.) seedsLipids in Health and Disease. 2016;15(1). doi:10.1186/s12944-016-0329-x

By Jennifer Moll, PharmD
Jennifer Moll, MS, PharmD, is a pharmacist actively involved in educating patients about the importance of heart disease prevention.