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What's the Difference Between White Chia and Black Chia Seeds?

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

A lot of people are curious about chia seeds' health benefits when it comes to choosing the color. If you've never seen this grain, you might not even know that it's available in more than one color. But it is - you can get black chia or white chia.

The first time I spotted chia seeds at the grocery store, I was in the health aisle looking for something completely different - I don't even remember what. I saw a bag of black chia seeds and picked it up. "Do you know what these are?" I asked my husband.

"Chia? Nope, never heard of it," he responded. "Get it - we can try it out!"

Both of us are pretty adventurous when it comes to foods, so it was a pretty normal response for him. The instructions on the bag didn't really say how to use the chia seeds, so when I got home I started educating myself through various websites and books. I learned that you can eat chia raw, cook with it, add chia to smoothies, and so on. My husband and I quite liked the flavor of the black chia, so next time we went back to the grocery store, chia was on the list!

But much to our disappointment, the black chia was all sold out. "Oh, well, we'll just have to check next time - hang on, there it is!" My husband pointed to a different shelf.

I picked up the bag. "Wait, this is white chia. I wonder what the difference is?"

As you might expect, we bought it and headed home to try it out - and to hit up Google for some answers. :)

After doing some research, I learned that there's actually a bit of a controversy around black vs. white chia seeds. Some people say that white chia is better for you. But the people saying this actually seem to be the people producing and selling white chia...so I wasn't convinced. I dug a little deeper and learned that both colors are natural variations. If you pick up a handful of black chia seeds and sift through them, you'll spot white chia seeds in there.

So how do you suppose the white chia seeds are cultivated? All they do is separate the white and black chia seeds and then grow the white ones separately. To me, that is clear evidence that there is no difference in the health benefits. They are the exact same seeds, just differently colored.

I use both colors of chia seeds now - it just depends on what I'm making and my mood. Of course, if you decide you want to stick with the white chia seeds "just in case," they do turn out to be healthier, go ahead! Whichever color you choose, chia seeds are packed with nutrients and will give you a boost of energy, so do please add this great little health food to your diet. You won't regret it!

In my research, I also came across a book that goes into more depth about chia seeds health benefits and compares black and white chia seeds. It's called Chia: Rediscovering a Forgotten Crop of the Aztecs. It's by an agronomist, Ricardo Ayerza, and an agricultural engineer called Wayne Coates. I recommend the book if you are a dorky health nut like me and actually enjoy learning all the details about what you're putting into your body. :)



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