Chia seeds are a superfood that is packed with plenty of nutrients, from fiber for good digestion to calcium for greater bone strength.
But are there good and bad chia seeds? And what do you need to look for when buying chia seeds? Good chia seeds should be either fully black or white.
In this chia seeds guide, we explain everything you need to know about chia seeds, if they can go bad and how long they last.
What Are Chia Seeds?
Let’s start with a closer look at what chia seeds are. Chia seeds are small, black seeds that come from the Salvia hispanica plant.
While these seeds have become more popular recently, they have been around for centuries.
Chia seeds are full of nutrients that are beneficial for your health. These seeds are often used to boost energy levels. That’s why, they are known as a superfood.
You can use them for many cooking and baking recipes. Chia seeds also work well in sweet desserts.
Black And White Chia Seeds
There are a couple of different types of chia seeds: black and white. The black variety is much more common but they don’t differ much in their nutrient profile.
White chia seeds contain a greater amount of Omega-3, whereas black chia seeds have more protein.
If you ever spot brown chia seeds, then you should avoid them. They are not true chia seeds and they lack the same nutrients as the white or black seeds.
Can Chia Seeds Go Bad?
Yes, chia seeds can go bad. While these small seeds can last for years when they are stored in a cool, dry place, they don’t keep forever.
If you store chia seeds in the wrong way or for too long, then chia seeds can turn rancid after some time and you will need to dispose of them.
What’s The Difference Between Good And Bad Chia Seeds?
If you think that your chia seeds are past their expiry date, how can you tell if your chia seeds are bad (see also “How Can You Tell If Asparagus Is Bad?“)?
Here are some of the signs to look out for.
Good chia seeds are packed with antioxidants. This helps these small black seeds to resist any moisture or going off for some time.
However, even fresh chia seeds can go racing if they are exposed to direct sunlight, fresh air or warm temperatures.
The seeds will also develop a rancid smell and texture when they are stored for too long.
Just like other seeds, chia seeds attracts bugs and vermin if they aren’t stored in a sealed container.
This being said, even if your chia seeds are sealed, the air and moisture trapped inside means that bacteria and pests could grow.
This means, if you spot any eggs or bugs in your chia seeds, it’s time to toss them out.
You may also need to check your other food that’s stored nearby to make sure that the bugs haven’t spread.
Mold Or Moisture
It’s almost impossible to remove any air and moisture from storage containers. This means that you may find wet clumps or mold in your chia seeds after some time.
While this rarely happens, it’s still essential to store your seeds in a dry place with a low humidity level.
Bad chia seeds smell like chemicals, such as nail polish remover. They also have a bitter taste.
On the other hand, good chia seeds that are still fresh have a mildly nutty aroma with a subtle earthy flavor.
While the nutritional benefits aren’t obvious immediately with good and bad chia seeds, experts say that bad chia seeds have a lot less nutritional value than fresh, good chia seeds.
What To Look For When Buying Chia Seeds?
When you are shopping for chia seeds, then you should make sure that all the seeds are uniformly white or black.
There should not be any brown seeds in the bag. Brown chia seeds are immature seeds.
They have a bitter taste and a much lower nutritional value than the properly mature black and white seeds.
Can You Eat Bad Chia Seeds?
It’s best to dispose of bad chia seeds when you notice mold, moisture or a rancid smell coming from the seeds.
Bad chia seeds also have a lot fewer nutritional benefits than fresh seeds. Plus, they may also cause stomach upsets and diarrhea.
In addition, bad chia seeds also don’t taste very pleasant. While good chia seeds have a nutty flavor, bad chia seeds taste rancid and bitter.
How Long Can Chia Seeds Last?
Chia seeds can last for up to 5 years when stored in a cool, dry place. This is only possible because good chia seeds have a large amount of antioxidants.
Make sure to keep your chia seeds in a sealed container away from direct sunlight and high temperatures.
It’s a good idea to label your chia seeds container with the best-by date, so you know exactly when you need to check if your chia seeds have gone bad.
However, chia seeds can last for years if they aren’t exposed to moisture or high temperatures.
Good Chia Seeds: Health Benefits
Each small chia seed contains a large amount of nutrients. Good chia seeds are rich in protein, calcium, antioxidants, fiber and healthy fats.
The antioxidants help chia seeds to stay fresh for longer, and retain their health benefits for years.
As one of the most popular superfoods, chia seeds also contains a high amount of Omega-3, Omega-6 and Omega-9.
The large levels of vitamins and minerals in chia seeds can help to reduce the risk of heart diseases, lower cholesterol and blood pressure and keep bones healthy.
Chia seeds are a super healthy addition for every meal. You can add them to your breakfast, lunch, dinner and even desserts.
This being said, you need to make sure that you only use good chia seeds that are fully brown or black.
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