3 Reasons to Put Chia Seeds in Protein Shakes + Who Should Avoid Chia Seeds

Key Points

  • Adding chia seeds to your protein shakes boosts their fiber, calcium, and protein content
  • Foods high in fiber help regulate your blood sugar levels and lowers your cholesterol
  • People with IBS or sensitive digestive tracts may want to be careful with how many chia seeds they consume

Chia Seeds on a Cutting Board

Chia seeds are perfect for adding to protein shakes. The added nutritional value of chia seeds is enough to turn a regular shake into a supercharged protein shake. You can blend chia seeds into a protein shake or sprinkle them on top.

Chia Seeds Nutrition Facts

Chia seeds are full of all kinds of healthy and good things, but how healthy are they? It is incredible that seeds so small can hold so many nutrients. The typical serving size of chia seeds is two tablespoons.

Chia seeds date back to the Mayan and Aztec empires and are known for their nutrition and small size. Amazingly, such small seeds can pack such a nutritious punch. Two tablespoons of chia seeds can supply your body with the following nutrients:

  • Calories – 140
  • Total Fat – 10 grams
  • Potassium – 100 mg
  • Carbohydrates – 14 grams
  • Net Carbs – 2 grams
  • Fiber – 12 grams
  • Sugar – 0 grams
  • Protein – 6 grams

Benefits of Chia Seeds in Protein Shakes

Chia seeds have been consumed since the times of the Mayans and Aztecs for their healthy nutritional value. Medical researchers applaud them for their ability to improve health in many areas. Many different systems of the body can benefit from consuming chia seeds regularly.

1. Boosts Protein Intake

adding chia seeds in protein shakes

Adding 2 tablespoons of chia seeds to your protein shake boosts its amount of protein by 4 to 6 grams, depending on the brand

My husband is lactose-intolerant. So he makes most of his protein shakes using greek yogurt and chia seeds.

Chia seeds are a great dairy-free, vegan-friendly way to increase your shake’s ability to rebuild muscle after a workout.

stephanie wells
Stephanie Wells, RD

Dietician’s Note

Chia seeds are a complete protein, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids the body requires in optimal proportions. Because the body can’t produce these essential amino acids itself, we must get them from food.

However, using chia seeds to replace protein powder completely isn’t the most helpful strategy. To get the 20 grams of protein in a serving of protein powder, you’d have to add more than 6 tablespoons of chia seeds. This would add more calories and fat to your shake, which may not align with your goals.

2. Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight harmful free radicals inside the body. Free radicals are incomplete molecules that damage cells if not neutralized. Free radicals can lead to inflammation, infection, and heart disease and are linked to certain cancers.

Diets rich in antioxidants lead to fewer free radicals inside the body. According to the National Library of Medicine, some of the antioxidants that chia seeds contain are chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, myricetin, quercetin, and kaempferol.

3. High in Fiber

Diets that are high in fiber bestow a number of health benefits, like lower blood sugar, resistance to weight gain, lower cholesterol, and a healthier gut microbiome.

Blood Sugar Control

Chia seeds are naturally high in fiber. Two tablespoons of seeds can contain as much as 10 grams of fiber. Fiber decreases overall blood sugar levels and regulates the highs and lows throughout the day by slowing down how quickly carbohydrates are digested and absorbed into the bloodstream.

Medical researchers have also found that meals incorporating chia seeds cause lower blood sugar spikes than those not. Mixing chia seeds into a protein shake or on top of a meal can help to lower the risks of type 2 diabetes. Chia seeds are also helpful in managing blood sugar for those already living with diabetes.

May Lead to Weight Loss

Chia seeds may lead to moderate weight loss when incorporated into a daily diet. Chia is high in fiber. Meaning that you will full faster. Decreased hunger and increased feelings of fullness are associated with weight loss.

A diet high in fiber can not only lead to weight loss but can also reduce bloating, bowel irregularity, and other digestive issues. Fiber can help to resolve constipation. It is amazing how a small seed can have many health benefits.

measuring waist
stephanie wells
Dietician’s Note

Remember that adding chia seeds to your diet without replacing other less nutrient-dense foods can add more calories, potentially stalling weight loss. Adding chia seeds to a shake or smoothie may help you feel full for longer, however, and may help prevent mindless snacking or over-eating other foods later in the day.

Naturally Lowers Cholesterol

About 1/5 of the fiber in chia seeds is soluble. Soluble fiber traps cholesterol in your gut and prevents it from being absorbed into your body. It also binds to bile acids in the gut, preventing them from being reabsorbed. Bile acids are used by the body to synthesize its own cholesterol, so less cholesterol is produced when bile acids are eliminated from the body.

Boosting your soluble fiber intake can make the difference between going on a statin drug or not. This is not to say that consuming chia seeds is a substitute for a statin drug. Please consult your physician before making any changes to your medication.

Supports the Gut Microbiome

The gut microbiome is a term that refers to the billions of bacteria living in the large intestine. These bacteria can be beneficial for our health or pathogenic, promoting inflammation and poor gut lining integrity.

Dietary fiber serves as food for beneficial bacteria, helping their numbers to grow and crowding out pathogenic bacteria. Rich in fiber, chia seeds are a great way to improve your gut health.

Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Chia seeds are rich in a specific type of omega-3 fat called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the type of omega-3 found in plant-based foods. The other two types, EPA and DHA, are found primarily in seafood.

A major benefit of omega-3s is that they are anti-inflammatory and may help reduce the risk of diseases related to inflammation, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.

According to a 2018 systematic review, ALA may also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease events and slightly reduce arrhythmias and deaths related to coronary heart disease.

Most people don’t get enough omega-3s in their diet, so adding chia seeds is a great way to get the benefits of this healthy fat.

Consult Your Physician

This information is not intended to be medical advice. Everyone’s health needs are different. Please consult your physician before making any changes to your medication.

How Much Chia to Add to My Protein Shake?

Chia seeds are packed full of nutrients, but how many servings of seeds should you use? One and a half to two tablespoons of chia seeds twice daily is the recommended serving size for chia seeds. Three to four tablespoons per day of chia seeds will boost nutritional value without overdoing it.

Consuming more than four tablespoons of chia seeds is not recommended daily. According to one Carleton University researcher, chia seeds can absorb up to twelve times their weight in water. If too many seeds are eaten at once, the expanding seeds can cause stomach pain, bloating, or nausea.

Can I Mix Chia Seeds with Protein Powder?

Absolutely! Chis seeds can be mixed with almost anything. Mixing chia seeds with protein powder can give your drink the extra punch it needs. There is no need to mix the chia seeds with the protein powder before adding water. Chia seeds can easily be added to an already mixed smoothie or shake.

Chia seeds absorb water. Allowing chia seeds to sit in a shake or smoothie for longer than fifteen minutes is not recommended. Seeds may begin expanding or clumping in the bottom of the drink if left for too long.

chia seed and protein powder
There is no reason you can’t put both protein powder and chia seeds in a protein shake.

Be Careful Not To Consume Too Much Protein

You can put too much chia seeds in protein shakes. Most people can only utilize about 25 – 30 grams of protein at a time for building muscle. The rest will either be burned as energy, used to produce enzymes or hormones, or stored as fat if eating too many calories overall.

Forty grams of protein powder + 2 tablespoons of chia seeds won’t hurt you but is unnecessary for most people (even bodybuilders). Overdoing it on protein can also lead to an unbalanced diet if you aren’t careful.

Obviously, everyone’s bodies are different. But the above is sound advice for most body types.

Chia Seeds and Bodybuilding

female bodybuilder

Chi seeds are wildly popular in the bodybuilding community. Bodybuilders consume chia seeds as they are a one-stop shop for nutrients, minerals, and weight management. The versatility of chia seeds also attributes to their popularity. Seeds can be added to anything, including protein shakes, smoothies, and other recipes.

Chia seeds offer natural nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. Bodybuilders and workout enthusiasts can turn to chia seeds as an all-natural and healthy nutrition source. Seeds offer nutrition in its rawest form, where supplements and vitamins have been refined and processed.

Protein powders can be a useful supplement to help meet the high protein needs of bodybuilders, but many like to consume chia seeds as well for a whole food option.

Are Chia Seeds Good for You?

Chia seeds are an excellent source of all kinds of nutrition. The versatile seeds can be added to almost any recipe or diet plan. Chia seeds have been shown to lead to weight loss. The seeds have also been linked with reduced cholesterol, diabetic sugar control, and cardiovascular health.

Chia seeds should be phased into a diet slowly. Two tablespoons contain between 8 and 10 grams of fiber. A sudden increase in fiber consumption can lead to gas, bloating, or an upset stomach. Slowly incorporating extra fiber into a diet and drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help avoid unwanted side effects.

Who Should Use Cation With Chia Seeds

There are very few people who should not eat chia seeds. The seeds are packed with nutrients and can be enjoyed by most people. People who are allergic to chia seeds should not consume them. Others that should be cautious when adding chia seeds to protein shakes are those who suffer from digestive issues, people with type 1 diabetes, and people on blood thinners.

1. People With Sensitive Digestive Issues

People with sensitive digestive systems should be cautious when eating chia seeds. Seeds can be difficult to digest and can cause bloating and irregular bowel movements. If you suffer from an irregular digestive tract, ground chia seeds may cause digestive discomfort.

To help prevent digestive issues, slowly add them to your diet in small amounts or consume them infrequently.

2 People with Type 1 Diabetes

Those who suffer from type 1 diabetes should consult their healthcare provider or registered dietician before having chia seeds in protein shakes. Chia can lower blood sugar by introducing fiber into the digestive system. Irregular blood sugar can become dangerous if uncontrolled over time, so it’s important to consider how chia seeds fit into your overall blood sugar management plan

3. People on Blood Thinners

The Omega 3 fatty acids found n chia seeds can cause one’s blood to thin. Those who take blood thinners or have bleeding issues should consult their healthcare provider before consuming chia seeds regularly.

Chia Seeds Benefits for Women

Chia seeds may be of particular interest to women due to their numerous health benefits. While chia seeds are healthy for all humans, women can benefit from higher levels of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, fiber, and antioxidants.

Just placing a tablespoon of chia seeds in your protein shakes are a great way to obtain these benefits.

Reduced Cancer Risks

Omega 3 Fatty Acids have been shown to reduce the risk of certain types of cancers. Breast and ovarian cancers are very serious threats to women. The high levels of Omega 3 Fatty Acids found in chia seeds may help women avoid serious cancer diagnoses. 

Studies have also shown that high levels of fatty acids may even help improve overall cancer survival, although more research is needed.

Improved Skin Health

Female with healthy skin

Free radicals are constantly waging war against skin cells. Chia seeds are packed full of antioxidants that combat free radicals. Adding chia seeds to a regular diet can help speed up the skin’s healing process. Repaired and healthy skin will have a healthy glow and nourished appearance.

Stronger Bones

Chia seeds can contain up to 20% of the daily allowance of calcium for women. Increased calcium consumption can help to prevent osteoporosis. Many women face osteoporosis later in life. Consuming at least two tablespoons of chia seeds every day can prevent one from suffering from osteoporosis.

Chia Seed Banana Protein Shake

Look out bland protein shake recipes; a new rockstar is on the scene. Bananas and chia seeds are usually found in smoothies, but they can also take your protein shake to the next level. Bananas and chia seeds are packed with nutrients and vitamins that can enhance your diet and workout routine.

  • 95 calories
  • 13 grams natural sugar
  • 13 grams of Vitamin C
  • 3 grams fiber
  • 410 grams of Potassium
  • 30 grams carbs

Bananas are high in potassium, a vital electrolyte. Potassium is essential in muscle function and contractions, which is important to exercise. Potassium can be lost through sweat and urination while working out. Adding a banana to your protein shake will help to replace some of the potassium lost during an intense exercise session.

It is easy to see why adding chia seeds to a protein shake is a no-brainer. The nutrition found inside chia seeds almost reads like a protein shake itself. Once again, chia seeds provide some protein and are high in potassium which can help you to recover faster from extreme physical activity.

Another fantastic quality of chia seeds is that they absorb water quite well. When the seeds begin to take on water, they expand in size. When fully expanded, chia seeds can make you feel full and reduce hunger cravings. Eliminating hunger pains and the urge to snack may be necessary to take your weight loss or fitness plans to the next level.

Chia seeds are relatively cheap and tend to blend and mix well with protein powders. It is recommended to consume no more than four tablespoons of chia seeds in one day. I suggest introducing chia seeds into your diet slowly and increasing the amount over time. Begin with adding chia seeds in a morning protein shake for a fullness that will last several hours.

Need a Blender?

Want to blend chia seeds in protein shakes but don’t have a blender? We’ve got an entire post that goes over the Best Blenders for Protein Shakes. Check it out!

Chia Banana Protein Shake

Recipe by Brooke ShoupeDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking timeminutes




  • 1 Banana

  • 1 Scoop of Vanilla Protein Powder

  • ¾ Cup Milk

  • 2 Tbsp Chia Seeds


  • Place all ingredients in blender
  • Blend away!
  • Enjoy

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How much protein is in one tablespoon (tbsp) of chia seeds?

One tablespoon of chia seeds contains approximately 2.5 grams of protein. Different varieties and brands of seeds can contain varying amounts of protein. Consuming two tablespoons daily can provide the consumer up to 10 grams of protein.

How much fiber is in one tablespoon (tbsp) of chia seeds?

One tablespoon of chia seeds contains up to 5 grams of fiber. Fiber is essential in regulating digestion, blood sugar, and heart health. The USDA recommends consuming about 28 grams of fiber per day for a 2,000-calorie diet. Chia seeds can definitely help you meet this recommendation.

What do chia seeds taste like?

Chia seeds are mild in flavor. The seeds tend to taste earthy and like poppy seeds. The mild taste of chia seeds makes them easy to incorporate into sweet and savory dishes. If chia seeds taste bitter, they may have spoiled and should be discarded.

Do chia seeds make protein shakes gritty?

Chia seeds are crunchy and can make a shake or smoothie gritty. Even if the seeds have been appropriately blended, they may leave a coarse texture to the drink.

How much chia seed can I eat per day?

It is recommended to consume no more than four tablespoons of chia seeds in a day. Four tablespoons of chia seeds can provide immense nutritional value. Excessive chia seed consumption can lead to irregular bowel movements, bloating, nausea, and headaches.

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