It's been quite the year for wellness trends. From daily lemon water, mint water, and chia water, to the ever-popular apple cider vinegar gummies, TikTok seems to promote a new trending thing to try every day. That's where we come in - connecting you with some of the best experts in the business to help you decipher which trends are scientifically proven to be beneficial and therefore worth your time and money and which ones - well, aren't.
I'm Sofia, a Health Writer and Producer here at MC UK, and as a regular TikTok user, I've become all too familiar with the social media app's love of nutrition trends. Its latest, chia water, claims to boost your health in a number of ways - and, as a Mexican who's heard my parents and grandparents bang on about how great chia water is my entire life, I was naturally keen to test it.
At home, we enjoy it as a lunchtime drink mixed in with lemon (my Dad drinks this daily) and even use chia seeds as a crunchy addition to summer-time ice lollies. The healthy-fat packed seeds have always been a part of my life, partly because of how easy they are to use, but also because of their high nutritional value. The tiny seeds are high in minerals, omega-3 fat, antioxidants, and fibre, with one 2015 animal study concluding chia seeds have the potential to beneficially impact cholesterol levels, weight loss, and satiety.
I've always shrugged my family's love of chia water as another old wives' tale. That said, after the #chiawater hashtag amassed 40.9 million views on TikTok, Senior Health Editor Ally Head asked me to check in with some of the industry's top nutrition experts, give it a go, and then report back. While users in the app have been raving about the benefits and even sharing their own recipes and reactions, I was sceptical. Could chia water really boost my health in the ways they claimed?
Good question. To see how I got on testing it over the period of a week - plus what the experts had to say - keep scrolling.
Chia water is trending on TikTok as a simple way to boost your health - so I tried it
What is chia water?
In short, chia water is a drink where you mix - yep, you guessed it - chia seeds with water.
Some like to add lemon or lime to give the drink a bit more taste, too.
How do you make chia water?
In order to prepare it, simply add the seeds in water and allow for around ten minutes for them to soak. This gives the seeds the chance to form a more gelatinous texture.
Do note here: it's important to make sure to add in the recommended amount of chia seeds. Not sure what the recommended serving is? As Rhian Stephenson, founder of natural supplement brand ARTAH explains, aim for around two cups of water to one tablespoon of chia. She also advises you not to drink your chia water too quickly, as it can overwhelm your digestive system. Good to know.
What are the health benefits of chia water?
Before we get into what our experts had to say, it's important to note that at current, there are no clinical trials that definitively conclude the full benefits that chia water. That said, there are several papers on the benefits of chia seeds alone.
A recent study conducted by the Department of Food Science at Government College University Faisalabad found that chia seeds are a good source of vegetable protein, unsaturated fat, and carbohydrates. Not just that, but the seeds include components helpful in cardiovascular disease that can work to reduce blood pressure, platelet aggregation, cholesterol, and oxidation.
According to Caroline Mason, nutritionist at Baldo and Mason nutritionists, soaking chia seeds in moisture holds some particular benefits. “ Chia seeds are rich in alpha-linolenic acid, an outstanding source of omega-3 fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory and supportive of heart health,” she says. “They are super hydrating when added with water as they are hydrophilic, which means they absorb 10x their weight and retain the water effectively." (This is why they swell up and become gel-like, in turn promising to ensure longer hydration.)
Mason also notes that chia seeds are a great source of fibre, which helps regulate bowel movements. When mixed with water, chia seeds form a gelatinous texture that can aid your gut lining and strengthen the integrity of your gut wall.
Stephenson adds: "Chia seeds can help support a balanced diet as a bolster of fibre content and satiety - one tablespoon alone has over 5g of fibre, which is great. Considering most adults in the UK aren't hitting fibre recommendations, they could be an easy way to boost your intake."
In combination with Mason and Stephenson's feedback, I concluded that despite the lack of recent clinical backing chia water specifically, there are certainly plenty of health benefits to be seen from including more chia seeds in your diet. With this in mind, I started my week-long test.
Days one to three
I’m a huge fan of chia pudding for breakfast, and for some reason, I was convinced that having my chia water in the morning was going to taste the same. Spoiler alert: stick to chia pudding, kids.
On day one, I followed Stephenson’s measurements and allowed the seeds to soak in a glass of water for about ten minutes while I finished getting ready for the day. I was surprised when I took my first sip - I expected the seeds to mimic the popping sensation of tapioca pearls in bubble tea, but they tasted very different. The water had made the seeds gelatinous and thick giving them a hard, pulpy texture that was not particularly enjoyable to swallow. As someone who eats mindfully and loves to savour their drink, I'll be honest: I was disappointed with how it tasted.
Additionally, I didn’t notice anything other than a slightly more satiated feeling after breakfast, but it's worth noting that as someone who usually snacks before lunchtime, I didn't feel the need to do so on the days I tested,
For days two and three, I was determined to make it a more pleasant experience. After phoning my Dad - as the self-appointed King of Chia Water, I knew he'd know what to do - I made some tweaks. He recommended making the soak time shorter if I wasn't a fan of the gelatinous texture (the longer you leave the seeds to soak, the more gelatinous they will taste).
Halving the soak time definitely made the taste more palpable. Was it great? Not really, but I was able to enjoy it slightly more than the days prior.
Days four to seven
Come the end of the week, I decided to try another great tip that both my Dad and Stephenson had suggested: adding lime. Now this was a real game-changer. I love acidic flavours, and this really made the chia water experience, dare I say it - enjoyable?
So, did it make any difference to how I felt? I definitely felt mentally good knowing that I was upping my fibre intake. The main physical benefit I noticed was a slight improvement to my digestive system - I was less bloated - but this could have been down to other aspects of my diet or even stress levels.
Come the end of the week, I'll be honest: I wasn't too impressed by this experiment, despite my Dad's love of the trend.
Will I continue drinking chia water?
In short, no. Here at MC UK, we're all about opting for health hacks that work for you and your body, and this one gets a firm no from me. I'll definitely continue to use chia seeds as part of the meals that I enjoy, like my trusty chia puddings or as a salad topping, but I won't be drinking them in water any time soon.
It's purely personal - I just didn't like the taste or flavour and would much rather enjoy drinking plain water and taking my vitamins. That said, it did make me more mindful of my fibre intake, so I'll be adding other sources of fibre - like leafy greens, avocado, lentils and oats - to my diet to tick that nutrition box.
As Stephenson notes, chia seeds are not a magic cure-all but simply another great seed to incorporate into our diets. "If you're drinking chia water, it's still important to eat healthily," she says. Will you be giving them a go?
Shop chia seeds now:
Marie Claire Newsletter
Celebrity news, beauty, fashion advice, and fascinating features, delivered straight to your inbox!
Sofia Piza is the Producer and Writer at Marie Claire UK.
Born in Mexico and raised in five countries, Sofia finally decided to settle down in London after three years at London College of Fashion, studying Fashion Journalism. With over two years of experience in the fashion and beauty industry, you can now find Sofia organising shoots and scouring the internet for the latest fashion, beauty, and wellness trends. When she's not sourcing inspiration from social media, you will most certainly find Sofia anywhere from a local vintage market to busy central London streets people watching - the possibilities are endless.
I went to the BAFTAs for the first time - here’s what it’s like when you’re not a celebrity
An exhaustive account of everything you need to know about the 77th British Academy Film Awards
By Mischa Anouk Smith
Leo Woodall’s hilarious anecdote about Jennifer Coolidge is going viral
By Jenny Proudfoot
Taylor Swift has described her upcoming album as a “lifeline for me”
By Jenny Proudfoot