Researchers that have looked into the possible differences in the health benefits of chia seeds based on their color have found few results. This hardy South American plant, which has grown in popularity in recent years, is one of the most excellent sources of nutrition, be the seeds white or brown or black.
Chia seeds are small brown, white or black seeds harvested from South American Salvia hispanica plants. Most seeds from a single plant will retain a solitary color, based on the region where the plant is found. These seeds are popular with health-conscious consumers for their natural insecticidal properties that allow for easy organic gardening. Chia seeds are also known for high levels of protein, fiber, antioxidants and many other nutrients that the body requires.
For thousands of years, chia seeds were harvested by Central and South American cultures and were considered a perfect source of food in these ancient civilizations. Most notably, the Aztecs used the seeds as medicines, oil and flour. Today, chia seeds have re-emerged in the "superfood" commerce market for their many well-documented health benefits. Both brown and white seeds are grown mostly in Argentina and sold to health food markets around the world.
Seed Color Differences
Chia seeds grow naturally in various shades of brown, gray, black or white. Commercial cloning has resulted in the darker seeds becoming more common, creating controversy around their superior nutrition. Independent researchers have not explored this area very much, but according to Wayne Coates, author of "Chia: Rediscovering a Forgotten Crop of the Aztecs," it is commonly accepted by experts that all forms of chia seed are identical nutritionally. The difference is relevant only in the production locations and growing regions, rather than within the seeds.
Chia seeds, both brown and white, are used much like flaxseed: sprinkled on yogurt and cereal and used in flour. Unlike flaxseed, chia seeds don't have to be ground to get their nutritional value. The darker seeds are more available and known for their lack of flavor, allowing for easy addition to a variety of foods. They are documented as one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world.
Brown and white chia seeds are often consumed by world class athletes looking to enhance their energy levels naturally. The seeds are said to prevent a number of medical conditions, and to provide balanced omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, fiber and protein, as well as renewable energy, without harmful side effects.