Learn how to make Chia Fresca at home! This quick and easy recipe is the perfect healthy hydration drink. Made with just chia seeds, lime juice, honey, and a pinch of salt, it’s a natural energy drink you can pull off in a matter of minutes.
Maybe you’re trying to drink more water this summer and are tired of boring old plain water. Maybe you’re struggling to stay hydrated in the heat. Maybe you struggle with constipation? Or maybe you’re looking for a natural alternative to an energy drink.
Whatever the case may be, let me introduce you to this weird and wonderful beverage: The Chia Fresca.
Chia Fresca is actually nothing new. Legend has it that ancient Aztec warriors in Mexico would use chia seeds to keep their energy up for long periods. Mixing chia seeds with water is like a home-made all-natural energy drink!
What’s in a chia fresca?
A chia fresca essentially requires only two ingredients: chia seeds and water. I like to fancy mine up a bit more than that, however. Here’s what we’re using today:
- Water: obviously
- Chia seeds: can’t make a chia fresca without chia seeds!
- Lime juice: for tartness and a boost of vitamin C
- Honey: for a little bit of sweetness and antioxidants
- Pink Himalayan salt: For minerals and electrolytes
This is my usual formula, but you can totally make your chia fresca the way you like it. Add a splash of fruit juice or some chunks of fresh fruit if that’s how you roll. Skip the sweetener if you please. Dial up or down the amount of chia seeds you use. The world is your chia fresca oyster!
What’s the deal with chia seeds?
Chia seeds are the tiny seeds from the Salvia hispanica plant, which is actually a member of the mint family. Chia originates from Central and South America, and has been used for thousands of years as a source of food and energy.
I’m not someone who advocates for so-called superfoods, but I do believe that chia seeds live up to the hype. Not only are they loaded with minerals including calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium, but they’re incredibly high in dietary fiber.
When it comes to fiber, chia seeds have an ideal balance of soluble and insoluble fiber, which means they can help regulate your bowel movements whether your stools are too loose or too firm. These fibers also act as prebiotics, which means they help feed the beneficial bacteria in our intestines.
You may have noticed that when you add chia seeds to a liquid, a little layer of gel forms around the chia seed (they end up looking kinda like a tomato seed). This gel holds on to water as the chia seeds move through your digestive tract, which helps to normalize digestion.
Chia gel also helps to slow how quickly carbohydrates are both digested and absorbed, which helps to regulate blood sugar. Taking some chia seeds before a meal has been shown to be beneficial for blood sugar regulation.
Because chia seeds hold up to 10x their weight in water, these little fiber bombs enter your system already hydrated. This means that rather than absorbing liquid from your digestive tract, the Chia Fresca provides liquid. This is incredibly helpful with hydration, which is great for athletes pre or post workout, or any of us on a hot day.
How ’bout them omega-3’s?
While it’s true that chia seeds are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, they are not a reliable source of DHA, the omega-3 that our brains depend on. Chia seeds and other plant-based sources of omega-3 such as flax seeds and walnuts tend to be rich in EPA, which our bodies are extremely inefficient at converting.
If you don’t include animal products in your diet that are reliable sources of DHA, such as eggs, dairy, and fatty fish, I recommend taking a daily algae oil supplement, which is the only plant-based source of DHA.
That’s not to say there aren’t incredible benefits of chia seeds! Re-read all of the points above if you need reassurance that including this super-seed in your daily diet is incredibly beneficial.
Alrighty, should we make some Chia Fresca?!
Other tasty drinks you might enjoy:
Make Chia Fresca at home! This quick and easy recipe is the perfect healthy hydration drink. Made with just chia seeds, lime juice, honey, and a pinch of salt, it's a natural energy drink you can pull off in a matter of minutes.
- 2 cups cold water
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds
- 1/2 small lime juiced
- 1/2 tsp honey or other liquid sweetener
- pinch pink Himalayan salt
In a large glass combine the water, chia, lime juice, honey, and salt.
- Stir well to avoid clumps, and set aside for 10-15 minutes.
You will have to stir again as the chia seeds will settle with time - this is totally normal.
- When the seeds are well hydrated (they should look sort of like a tomato seed with the jelly layer around it), give the glass a final stir.
- Drink immediately.
Nutrition values are an estimate only.
This recipe was originally published August 7, 2014. It was retested, rephotographed, and updated on July 12, 2018.