Sunday, April 25, 2010

White Chia Seeds - How Do They Compare?

Regular chia pudding on left and white chia pudding on right.

What a Difference a Year Makes
A year ago, shortly after I started my blog, I posted my first of many chia seed recipes. When I'd see a friend or relative that I had turned on to chia seeds, I'd usually have to give them some of my "stash". They were so hard to get, you would think they were an illegal substance. Since that time, however, they have become much more popular. You can easily find them in health food stores and on countless internet sites. The rapid acceptance of this product is due to its high percentage of omega 3 fatty acids and high quality protein. It promotes endurance, stabilizes blood sugar and is gluten free. I use chia seeds to make tapioca-like puddings that require no cooking, raw smoothies, salad dressings, vegan muffins and raw crackers. Check out all my Chia Seed Recipes.

What are White Chia Seeds and How Do They Compare?
Recently, I discovered white chia seeds. They have similar nutritional claims as the more common darker ones but white seeds are presently more expensive. It's also more difficult to find organic white chia seeds.
Just for fun, I did a side by side comparison with the regular chia seeds. I wanted to know if they are worth the extra $1 to $2 a pound. Here's what I did:
My Experiment
I took two jars and filled them both with 1 cup of unsweetened hemp milk, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and 8 drops of liquid stevia. I placed 2 1/2 tablespoons of regular chia seeds in one jar and 2 1/2 tablespoons of white chia seeds in the other. I vigorously stirred both jars, waited 15 minutes and vigorously stirred them again. After waiting another 15 minutes, I stirred them one more time and put them in the refrigerator over night.
Here's What I Found
* White chia seeds are smaller, more delicate and a little easier to chew after hydrated.
* White chia seeds absorb liquids more slowly than the regular seeds so they take longer to thicken.
* Pudding made with white chia seeds comes out a bit lighter in color, though the difference is subtle.
* Both sugar free, vanilla puddings were delicious.

* I prefer the look and delicate texture of white chia seeds in chia pudding recipes.
* I like the way regular, darker chia seeds look in raw salad dressings and muffins as they resemble poppy seeds.
* In raw crackers and smoothies the color doesn't matter as much so you might as well use the less expensive regular, darker chia seeds.
* If cost is more important to you than color or texture, spend your extra dollars on buying seeds that are pesticide free, organically grown or certified organic.

How to Shop For Chia Seeds
You can find chia seeds in your local health food store or Whole Foods. There are many internet sites that offer chia seeds. Just do a google search and many will come up. I bought chemical free white chia seeds from Raw Food World. They delivered promptly and I was satisfied with the product. They charge for shipping so it's more economical to buy 5 pounds or more at a time and share them with friends. They offer chemical free white and regular chia seeds but only the regular chia seeds were available in certified organic. I've also purchased chia seeds from Their service and product quality was also very good. Although I haven't personally used these sites for chia seeds, other sites that sell them include:, Natural Remi-Teas, Nutsonline and others. Before you select your vendor, make sure you take into account the shipping costs. Some companies charge more per pound but offer free shipping.


Anonymous said...

I’ve recently began a weblog, the data you present on this website has helped me tremendously. Thanks for your whole time & work.

Anonymous said...

I just made chia pudding (it was great!), but the consistency of the gelled seeds really tiny - not like the big seeds in your picture. Yours looks more like tapioca pearls. What did you do to make them so big?

Dr. Joanne L. Mumola Williams said...

Maybe they just look big because I took a closeup. They aren't as big as tapioca. Don't worry about the size as long as yours came out soft and creamy - they are perfect!
Glad you enjoyed them - they are soooo good for you!!

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to incorporate "healthy" into my diet after breast cancer. Do I want regular, organic...will the local health food store have the preferred kind? Most recipes I've seen has the seed ground, does that have just as much benefit? Sorry for so many questions.

Dr. Joanne L. Mumola Williams said...

Organic is always better but honestly, I'm not sure how much pesticides are used in growing chia.
Grinding them and soaking them will both give you omega 3 benefits although grinding them may make them a bit more bioavailable. If you use ground, grind them yourself. Don't buy them (or flaxseeds) already ground.
Get a little coffee bean grinder that you can dedicate to seeds. Keep the chia or other seeds in the freezer for storage. Grind them when they are cold so that they don't get too hot in the grinder.
For a full list of foods that have the most pesticides and therefore should be bought as organic see
Take care and be well,