Chia seeds are a complete vegan protein!

Chia seeds are 18% protein. They’re one of the few plant-based foods with a complete protein, containing high amounts of BCAAs. Protein in chia seeds is highly bioavailable with a great amino acid profile!

How much protein in chia seeds?

Chia seeds are an excellent dietary source of protein. They’re 18% protein, 42% fat, 29% carbs, and 7% water. Chia seeds have 18.3 grams of protein per 100g. A cup has 31 grams of protein, 1/4 cup has 7.8 grams of protein, while a tbsp has 2.6 grams of protein.[1]

How much protein do we need per day?

Most people need only 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (or 0.36 grams per lbs). Only athletes and active people have higher protein requirements. You should increase your daily protein dose, depending on your activity level:

Activity levelProtein dose
(g/kg BW)
Daily intake of protein.

So, a tbsp of chia seeds can provide 2-5% of the required daily intake of protein!

What’s the amino profile of chia seeds?

Chia seeds are a high-quality complete protein. They contain all 9 essential amino acids:

protein (g)
per 100g
Chia seeds are a complete protein.[2]

Actually, there are only a few plant-based sources of complete protein. Chia seeds, buckwheat, quinoa, spirulina, soybeans, amaranth, hemp, and pumpkin seeds are the only plant-based foods with a complete protein!

Does chia protein contain BCAAs?

There are 3 amino acids that are particularly important for building muscle mass. Athletes require high amounts of isoleucine, leucine, and valine. They’re known as BCAAs. Chia seeds contain all BCAAs. Chia seeds contain about 3.12 grams of BCAAs per 100g!

We can consume BCAAs from animal as well as vegan dietary sources.

Is protein in chia seeds bioavailable?

Chia seeds have a low-to-moderate bioavailability of protein. They are not a quality source of protein as compared to protein from animal sources. Chia seeds have a protein digestibility score of 79.8%.[3]

The best protein sources are eggs, beef, and milk. They have a protein digestibility score of nearly 98%.

Can I depend on protein in chia to meet my daily needs?

Chia seeds have a low protein content. We can’t depend on chia seeds to get the required daily amount of protein. We have to consume many other protein-rich foods to meet our daily needs. After all, chia seeds have many calories. We should only eat reasonable amounts. Otherwise, chia seeds can make us fat!

Do chia seeds have more protein than other seeds?

Actually, chia seeds are the seeds with the lowest content of protein.

Chia seeds have about 72% less protein than hemp seeds, which are the richest seeds in protein, with 31.6 grams of protein per 100g. Pumpkin seeds are also rich in protein, with 30.2 grams of protein per 100g.

protein (g)
per 100g
hemp seeds31.6
pumpkin seeds30.2
sunflower seeds20.8
sesame seeds20.4
flax seeds18.3
chia seeds18.3
Protein in common seeds.

Chia protein vs hemp powder

Another great source of plant-based protein is hemp powder. Hemp seeds are also a complete protein. Hemp seeds contain more protein, iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, and phosphorus than chia seeds. On the other hand, chia seeds contain more omega-3s, fiber, and calcium.

Certainly, both seeds are great plant-based sources of protein.

chia seeds
per 100g
hemp seeds
per 100g
protein (g)18,2931,6
fat (g)42,1648,7
fiber (g)27,34
sugars (g)1,551,5
iron (mg)5,737,95
magnesium (mg)392700
potassium (mg)8131200
zinc (mg)4,349,9
phosphorus (mg)6421650
calcium (mg)25570
copper (mg)1,221,6
Nutritional value of chia vs hemp seeds.

Chia protein vs whey protein

Whey protein is the golden standard in the fitness industry. It’s the cheapest source of protein. Just 1 scoop contains about 24 grams of protein and only 130 calories. Chia seeds contain only a small fraction of the protein content found in whey protein.

chia seeds
whey protein
whey protein
32g or 1 scoop
protein (g)18,297524
fat (g)42,167,82,5
fiber (g)27,300
sugar (g)1,556,252
calcium (mg)255438140
iron (mg)5,731,250,4
Nutritional value of Chia seeds vs Whey protein.

You can find a wide variety of whey or other plant-based protein powders on iHerb.

Why should I regularly eat chia seeds?

Chia seeds are more than protein. They’re particularly high in omega-3s, minerals, and antioxidants.

chia seeds
per 100g
total fat (g)42,16
fiber (g)27,3
sugar (g)1,55
calcium (mg)255
iron (mg)5,73
magnesium (mg)392
phosphorus (mg)642
potassium (mg)813
zinc (mg)4,34
copper (mg)1,22
selenium (mcg)25,4
lutein & zeaxanthin (mcg)651
omega-3s (g)22,8
Nutritional value of chia seeds.

Share to...