Learn how to make Chia Fresca at home! This quick and easy chia drink recipe is the perfect healthy hydration beverage. 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 chia drink: 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. Related: 10 Simple Ways to Stay Hydrated This Summer.
Chia drink for the win!
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:
Cucumber Mint Slushie
Pear Ginger Smoothie
Berry Fennel Smoothie
Chocolate Black Bean Brownie Smoothie
- 2 cups cold water
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- ½ small lime juiced
- ½ teaspoon 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.
This recipe was originally published August 7, 2014. It was retested, rephotographed, and updated on July 12, 2018.
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So good! I didn’t have any lemon or lime, but I DID have store bought margarita mix, so I just added a splash of that for flavour. So refreshing. I’m having a chia Fresca daily now!
Can you make this drink in advance? Overnight? Or have the seeds soak in water and then stain and put in mixture when ready?
I've never done that because it's so quick to make, but I don't see any reason why it can't sit in the fridge overnight. Just give it a good stir or shake before serving.
I am so late to this post! This sounds absolutely delicious! I love that you're using honey (or other liquid sweeteners ????). Do you think carbonated water could work the same? Just a different variation but I'm about to try this one now. Tfs! ????
I mean, you could try it for sure. Personally I don't think I'd enjoy carbonated water with all the chia floaties up in there, but I don't see why it wouldn't work!
I tried carbonated water- the chia floated and created a layer on top of the drink.
Is it possible to have too much chia?
Also, what do you suggest as an algae oil supplement for DHA?
I'm sure that one *could* have too much chia, but a few tablespoons per day, such as in a chia pudding, certainly isn't too much. I don't have a specific recommendation for an algae oil brand at this time. I've tried a few different ones and they all seemed fine, but as I'm located in Sweden I'm certain the brands are different.
This dish is South American. Though technically American, it is better to give credit to original cultures, than to appropriate their goods and imply ownership to the adoptive culture.
Hi Ester, if you read the body of the post, the credit is there. First: "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." And later: "Chia originates from Central and South America, and has been used for thousands of years as a source of food and energy." This is essentially the same info provided by the Spruce Eats, if not a little bit more. The recipe card defaults to "American" for cuisine, and I have updated it to "South American. Thanks for pointing that out.
Just tried this... loved it (thank you!) but I want to make up and take into work to drink through the morning- would that be okay as says drink immediately? Kim
Hey Kim - I think that would be ok. I make chia pudding and leave it overnight, so I can't think of any reason you couldn't drink this throughout the morning.
Is there a time of day that's preferred for this drink? Early morning ?
Anytime you're in the mood!
I would never have tried a recipe like this in the past but I am finally starting to come round to chia seeds and I truly do notice their benefits.
It doesn't get more easy and refreshing than this!
Thank you, Katie!
I have been travelling a ton internationally for work lately and I always really struggle with flight dehydration and adjusting to new diets. Thank you so much for reminding me about chia drinks! I'll have to be sure and pack some for my next trip.
Yes! And it would be so easy to pack a little bag of chia seeds along for your trip. You could even throw them into a water bottle and add water once through security or once on board. Hydration here we come!
Hi There, just come cross your brilliant site. Would you grind your chia seed first - I have half a tbsp each morning in a protein shake with some 'green powder' for a really fast breakfast, an hour after lemon juice and hot water. kr, claudia
I don't grind my chia seeds. That's one of the benefits of chia vs flax is that you don't need to grind it to unlock its nutritional value. Sounds like a great breakfast you've got in your line up!
Mmm. I do a watermelon and hibiscus tea aqua fresca but chia would practically make it a meal!
Ooooh, watermelon and hibiscus sounds great!
cooking with audrey
i love chia drinks! i make mine with lemonade all the time!
Oooooh, lemonade is a great idea! I'll have to try that right away.
I do use chia seeds but never thought of them this way before. Thanks!
You're welcome! Chia Fresca is one of my favourite ways with chia seeds. I hope you like it!