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Do Chia Seeds Go Bad?

Do Chia Seeds Go Bad?

Chia seeds date back to Aztek and Mayan cultures. Word ‘chia’ means strength in ancient Mayan, and they valued them for their ability to provide energy and keep the stomach full. 

Not only that but chia seeds are considered one of the healthiest foods on the planet. These tiny black and white seeds are loaded with antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. Only in the past few years, they have become a trendy modern-day superfood consumed by people all over the world.

Regardless, there is a limit when it comes to consuming these powerful seeds – just 1 ounce (28 grams) provides up to half of your recommended daily fiber intake. Moreover, eating too many chia seeds can cause digestive issues.

For that reason, they are not a type of food product that can be consumed that quickly. It takes some time to get through an entire package, so at some point, you’ve probably wondered – Do Chia Seeds Go Bad?

That’s easily one of the most asked questions these days, so we didn’t waste any time and decided to write this helpful guide. We will talk about chia seeds’ shelf life, provide you with some storage tips, and give you some guidelines on how to figure out if the seeds are past their due. 

See Also: Does Flaxseed Expire?

How Long Do Chia Seeds Last?

Technically, chia seeds do go bad, but not as quickly. It’s more likely you will end up with an empty package before they got the time to spoil.

That’s due to the fact that chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants, and they will last longer than most other grains. So, they’re most likely going to stay suitable for consumption for several years before they go rancid. 

To be more precise, whole chia seeds will last 2-3 years in the pantry, and 4+ years in the refrigerator. Of course, you can always add months on the best-before-date, as it is highly unlikely they will go bad right after the expiration date. 

If we’re talking about chia powder and chia meals, they will last for about 1-2 years in the fridge and up to a few months in the pantry.

On the other hand, chia puddings will last for a couple of days in the refrigerator. Some rough estimate that we can provide is about 3-7 days, but that usually depends on ingredients added like milk or other dairy products.

About Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are whole kernel grain food that comes from the plant Salvia hispanica. Nutty and mild flavor allows them to blend in any meal – from cereal and baked goods to vegetables, sauces, yogurt, and even beverages like smoothies and similar. 

They can absorb liquid, so when put in water, for example, they get gelatinous consistency and expand twice their size. Chia seeds are also very nutritious because they provide the right amount of protein, macronutrients, fiber, and healthy fats.

To be more precise, let’s look at the nutritional value of the chia seeds per 1 oz or 28 g (one serving):

Total Fat
Polyunsaturated fat
Saturated fat
Monounsaturated fat
Trans fat
9 g
7 g
0,9 g
0,7 g
0 g
13 % DV
Cholesterol0 mg0 % DV
Sodium4,5 g0 % DV
Phosphorus243 mg35 % DV
Total Carbohydrate12 g4 % DV
Dietary Fiber10 g40 % DV
Protein4,7 g9 % DV
Calcium180 mg17 % DV
Iron2,19 mg12 % DV
Magnesium94 mg23 % DV
Potassium, K115,38 mg2 % DV
Zinc1,30 mg12 % DV
*DV- Daily Intake

Chia seeds also contain a proper amount of manganese, vitamin B2, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B3 (niacin), copper, selenium, and vitamins A, C, and E. They also contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and other antioxidants.

They’re particularly high in fiber (11g per 1 oz), and excessive intake of fiber can cause digestive problems like bloating, gas, abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea. Thus, make sure you eat by recommended daily intake, which is two tablespoons or 28 gr per serving, once a day.

Nevertheless, they have many health benefits, including a healthy digestive tract, low risk of heart disease, potential weight loss, healthy and stronger bones, reduced blood sugar levels, reduced chronic inflammation, etc.

How To Store Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds don’t need much when it comes to storage conditions. Just make sure the package is in a dry, relatively cool, and dark place. Moisture, sources of heat, and direct sunlight will shorten their shelf life, so opt for places like a pantry or cupboard to preserve the seeds.

Most store-bought chia seeds come with sealable packages that are very handy to store. But if you’re not able to seal the package tightly, you can transfer the seeds into an airtight container, glass jar, or even freezer bags to prevent moisture from getting in.

As for chia powder, the rules are basically the same. Please keep it in a dry and dark place, where the temperature doesn’t fluctuate. Always keep the bag or the container with powder sealed tightly to prevent moisture and other contaminants from spoiling the product. 

When it comes to chia pudding or other chia treats (especially the ones with water and dairy), store them in the refrigerator at all times. They can quickly spoil when left at room temperature because the moisture environment is very suitable for bacteria growth.

Additionally, both seeds and chia pudding can be frozen in an airtight container for a longer term. In general, refrigerating and freezing can notably prolong the seed’s shelf life, so that’s always a good idea.

How To Tell If Chia Seeds Are Rotten Or Spoiled?

Even though chia seeds contain a fair amount of antioxidants, they can still go rancid due to the high amounts of oil inside the grain. It would be best if you trust your senses when it comes to recognizing the spoilage, and the first telltale signs are usually rancid smell or taste.

Chia seeds don’t have a very distinct smell, so when the oil inside the grain turns rancid, it won’t show right away. The easy way to find out whether seeds have turned rancid is to crush some seeds and give them a good sniff. If it smells sour stale, it’s time to throw the whole package away and get a new one.

On the other hand, if your chia gel or pudding smells unpleasant or rotten after a few days of storage, throw it away. 

As for the chia powder (flour or meal), there will be bacteria growth in form of mold if the storage was not adequate. If you notice greenish, brown, or black spots, discard the whole package. Scooping the moldy part and saving the rest is not the way to go if you want to avoid foodborne illness. 

Furthermore, if you notice some clumps between the seeds, they have started to rot, and you should not eat that either. The same goes if you notice the seeds have developed rancid or bitter taste.

Can You Get Sick From Rotten Chia Seeds?

It’s not likely you will get sick from a small number of rotten chia seeds. In the worst-case scenario, the flavor won’t hit the spot, and most of the nutrients will be gone.

However, if there’s mold involved, it may cause some foodborne illness but not when eaten in small doses. There could also be some digestive issues, so if you notice any signs of rancidity, discard the seeds, because it is better to be safe than sorry.

Do Chia Seeds Go Bad – Summary

So there you go, we hope we have answered all of your burning questions about chia seeds. If you are determined to eat healthily and include chia seeds in your diet, it is undoubtedly essential to know how long they last, how to spot the spoilage, and how to store them.

A few things are certain – keep the seeds sealed tightly, away from heat, humidity, and light. Pantry or cupboard will work just fine, and an airtight container or a glass jar and freezer bags can be convenient when it comes to storing the seeds. 

Tight silage is the most crucial part, so don’t forget to do that. Also, freezing and refrigerating is always good option when storing chia seeds for longer-term.

If you notice any signs of deterioration like rancid smell and taste or even mold, discard the product immediately. 

In the end, remember the daily intake is only 1 ounce, so be careful if you want to avoid digestive issues. Besides, if you haven’t yet tried chia seeds, don’t hesitate as they are full of nutrients, contain no fat, and have a mild taste that can perfectly blend with any drink or food!