Chia seeds and flaxseed are the two most popular seed varieties due to their versatility, nutritional composition and wealth of health benefits. But when it comes to choosing which chia seeds or flaxseed are better, comparison will not be easy.
There is good news – both of them are a fantastic addition to a healthy diet. Saturated with fiber, protein, and healthy fats, chia and flaxseed can help improve your digestive, cardiovascular, and cognitive health.
If you compare by the content of nutrients per 100 grams, then, chia seeds will definitely win before flaxseed. But in any case, adding both one and the other seed to the diet will only benefit you.
Chia seeds vs flaxseed
The nutritional composition of chia seeds and flaxseed includes a large amount of fiber and protein. They both also have an extensive nutrient profile and contain omega-3 fatty acids, a type of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
Chia seeds contain more fiber and are especially rich in soluble fiber, which can help lower cholesterol, reduce appetite and promote regular stool. Chia seeds are also easy to digest, and unlike other types of seeds, they can be consumed whole or ground. In addition, they boast a large number of other trace elements, including manganese and phosphorus.
Flaxseed contain more omega-3 fatty acids per serving, which is important to reduce inflammation and prevent chronic diseases. Flaxseed are also rich in lignans, which are plant compounds. They act as antioxidants and reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease ( 1 ). However, unlike chia seeds, flaxseed must be minced before use to maximize potential health benefits.
For comparison, consider the nutritional value of flaxseed and chia per serving of 30 grams.
- Calories – 137 kcal
- Carbohydrates – 12.3 gr.
- Proteins – 4.4 gr.
- Fats – 8.6 gr.
- Fiber – 10.6 g.
- Manganese – 0.6 mg (30%)
- Phosphorus – 265 mg (27%)
- Calcium – 177 mg (18%)
- Zinc – 1 mg (7%)
- Copper – 0.1 mg (3%)
- Potassium – 44.8 mg (1%)
- Calorie content – 110 kcal
- Carbohydrates – 6 gr.
- Protein – 4 gr.
- Fats – 8.5 gr.
- Fiber – 6 gr.
- Manganese – 0.6 mg (30%)
- Thiamine / Vitamin B1 – 0.4 mg (22%)
- Magnesium – 80 mg (20%)
- Phosphorus – 132 mg (14%)
- Copper – 0.2 mg (12%)
- Selenium – 5 mg (8%)
Use of chia seeds and flaxseed
The nutritional characteristics of chia seeds and flaxseed allow them to be used in different ways. Both types of seeds are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and protein. Both of them are good for skin health, promote digestion and strengthen the cardiovascular system.
Flaxseed are the richest dietary source of lignans, which help maintain hormonal balance and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and possibly even hormone-associated cancers, such as breast cancer ( 2 ).
Flaxseed are also a good source of thiamine, which helps the body utilize the macro elements contained in the seeds and turn them into useful energy. Thiamine also supports cognitive health, and its consumption can help prevent neurodegenerative diseases ( 3 ).
Chia seeds, on the other hand, contain more calcium and phosphorus per serving. Calcium is known for its ability to improve blood pressure and maintain healthy bones. And phosphorus is necessary to maintain energy levels, and also contributes to detoxification.
Both chia seeds and flaxseed are good for digestion and help get rid of constipation. Both form a gel when they combine with the liquid during digestion. It blocks the fiber in the seeds from the release of sugar and complete destruction. This helps increase stool volume and flush the digestive tract. Fiber, both in chia seeds and in flaxseed, also acts as a prebiotic, which helps stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines.
Although adding any type of seed will benefit your digestive health and reduce constipation, chia seeds contain more fiber per serving, so you can notice a greater effect.
Both chia seeds and flaxseeds contain healthy fats, proteins and fiber, which makes them useful products for weight loss and bodybuilding. Both types of seeds can also be used to increase exercise performance. But chia seeds are often used by athletes to load carbohydrates. This strategy is used to increase stamina to help maximize muscle and liver glycogen accumulation.
Chia seeds and flaxseeds contain protein, which can help build muscle and increase strength. It can be especially helpful to eat chia seeds and flaxseeds after a workout to support muscle recovery, help build new muscles, and speed recovery between workouts.
How to eat chia seeds and flaxseed
There are many ways to consume chia seeds and flaxseed. You can add both types of seeds to your homemade pastries, such as bread, waffles, muffins, and cookies. You can also add seeds to your daily breakfast, cocktail or yogurt. A great option is to make homemade granola, which includes both flaxseed and chia seeds.
Here are some simple tips to consider when eating chia seeds and flaxseed:
- You must grind whole flaxseed before adding them to your recipes, but you can eat whole chia seeds. To grind whole flaxseed, you can use a coffee grinder just before you plan to eat them. You can also buy pre-shredded flaxseed, often called flaxseed meal.
- Soaking chia seeds and flaxseed before use will facilitate their digestion. It also increases the amount of nutrients that your body can absorb. To soak the seeds, just leave them in warm water for 30 minutes. You can also leave them overnight, which creates a gel-like consistency.
- Mixing flaxseed and chia seeds with water will allow them to become a gel-like substance. You can then use the soaked seeds to create your own jam or pudding.
- You can mix chia and flaxseed with water to create an egg substitute that can be used in baking recipes.
What is better to add to smoothies
Comparing chia and flaxseed to determine which seed is best to add to the smoothie, note the following. Both chia seeds and flaxseed are a great addition to any smoothie. They will improve nutritional value and make smoothies more full due to their fiber content.
Is it worth eating chia seeds and flaxseed together
Yes! Eating chia seeds and flaxseeds together will provide a range of nutrients. To include seeds in your daily regimen, start by taking one tablespoon of each type of seed per day. If you’re not used to eating that much fiber, start with half a tablespoon of each so your digestive system can adapt.
- When it comes to chia seeds and flaxseed, the comparison will not be in favor of one or the other. Both are excellent sources of fiber, protein, and healthy fats. In addition, they supply a number of trace elements, including manganese, phosphorus and thiamine.
- You can use both chia seeds and flaxseed to support digestion. And also to improve the cardiovascular system, increase energy levels, reduce weight and build muscle. To relieve constipation, chia seeds contain more fiber. Therefore, adding them to your diet may be more beneficial.
- The best way to benefit from both chia seeds and flaxseed is to add half a tablespoon to one full tablespoon of each water in a smoothie, cocktail, pastry, yogurt or breakfast plate.