What’s the Difference Between Chia Seeds & Flax Seeds?
Nutrition

What’s the Difference Between Chia Seeds & Flax Seeds?

Posted

2 August 2019

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If you’ve been dabbling in the health and wellness scene for a bit, chances are you’ve heard of the superfoods flax seeds and chia seeds. These two seeds have gained a lot of popularity over the last few years for their versatility and dense nutritional profile. Maybe you’ve even played around with them in your morning smoothies but ultimately found yourself wondering which one is the better option?

With both seed varieties being rich in fibre, healthy fats and protein, it’s safe to say that by adding either—or both—of these into your diet you’re helping your body thrive, but let’s put them to the test. 

What’s the difference between chia seeds and flax seeds?

Flax seeds and chia seeds both include a good amount of fibre and protein, which is why the health community is such a big fan of them. They both also have a substantial nutrient profile and provide a type of omega-3 fatty acids called ALA (Alpha-linolenic acid) which helps to combat depression, boost brain health, and help to balance hormones.

Chia seeds, sometimes called Salba seeds, are black and white and have very little taste. Chia seeds form a gel during digestion, which helps to rid the body of excess toxins. Both seeds have a high fibre content—11g for fibre in chia seeds compared to 8g in flax—but chia seeds are rich in soluble fibre, which attracts water to the colon to promote healthy digestion while also helping to keep you fuller for longer. Chia seeds are easily digestible and unlike other seeds can be consumed either in whole or ground form. They also have a healthy amount of manganese and phosphorus, which are the building blocks to bone health.

Flax seeds are the number one plant-based food for omega-3 fatty acids, which helps to combat inflammation and help to fight off chronic diseases. They come in either brown or golden and have more of a nuttier flavour than chia seeds. Flax seeds are a great source of lignans, also known as phytochemicals. These antioxidants help give you that glowing skin, while also helping to reduce blood pressure. Flax seeds are great for those seeking to balance hormones as they bind to excess estrogen in the body, something women that are approaching menopause or coming off of birth control struggle with. 

Chia Seeds vs Flax Seeds Nutrition

Chia seeds and flax seeds have a rich nutritional profile—here’s a breakdown: 

Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain approximately:

  • 137 calories
  • 12.3 grams carbohydrates
  • 4.4 grams of protein
  • 8.6 grams of fat
  • 10.6 grams of fibre
  • 0.6 milligram manganese (30% DV)
  • 265 milligrams phosphorus (27% DV)
  • 177 milligrams calcium (18% DV)
  • 1 milligram zinc (7% DV)
  • 0.1-milligram copper (3% DV)
  • 44.8 milligrams potassium (1% DV)
And two tablespoons of whole, unground flax seeds contains approximately:

  • 110 calories
  • 6 grams carbohydrates
  • 4 grams of protein
  • 8.5 grams of fat
  • 6 grams of fibre
  • 0.6 milligram manganese (30% DV)
  • 0.4 milligram thiamine/vitamin B1 (22% DV)
  • 80 milligrams magnesium (20% DV)
  • 132 milligrams phosphorus (14% DV)
  • 0.2 milligram copper (12% DV)
  • 5 milligrams selenium (8% DV)

The verdict?

Both chia seeds and flax seeds are high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fibre and protein. They both support healthy skin, promote digestive health and boost cardiovascular health, while also helping to prevent cancer, reduce the risk of heart diseases, and keep blood sugar levels balanced.

Clearly, both seeds are very nutritious so it’s up to you. If you’re looking for the richer source of antioxidants and omega-3s, go with ground flax seeds. If you’re seeking the highest amount of fibre, gut-loving, and bone-strengthening minerals, pick chia seeds. Or if you’re a stressed-out, bloated worker bee, choose both! 

So, how can you use these superfoods?

These superfoods are super versatile to use in the kitchen. You can add both types of seeds to your morning smoothies, homemade baked goods, sprinkled on top of salads or tossed into an afternoon spritzer.

Some things to keep in mind when consuming these seeds are:

  • Grind your flax seeds before you consume them because their outer shell is hard for the intestines to break down. Grinding them allows them to be easily digested and absorbed, but chia seeds are fine whole. 

  • You do not want to buy “flax meal” as flax seeds do go rancid quickly, so you’ll want to only grind them when you plan to use them in that week and store them properly. 

  • Soaking chia seeds and flax seeds will allow them to “sprout”. This is easier on digestion and also allows for better absorption of the nutrients. You can do this by soaking them the night before or just allowing them to sit for 10 minutes before consuming. 

  • It’s totally ok to eat these seeds together! They are quite similar but they are also very much different, so a mix of the two makes for a gut-loving combo!

Try some of these recipes below:

Resources:

Chia Seeds vs Flax Seeds: Which Is Healthier?
Chia Seeds vs Flax Seeds — Is One Healthier Than the Other?


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