Chia Seed vs Flax Seed: Battle of the Super Foods
Recently I posted a question on Twitter and Facebook asking my friends and followers if they preferred chia seed vs flax seed and why. The question prompted a huge conversation and debate and I decided to do some research and tackle this topic more in depth on this battle of the super seeds.
Chia seeds and flax seeds are very similar from a nutritional standpoint, which is why a lot of people wonder on whether to choose chia seed vs flax seed and why. Both these foods also contain a decent amount of protein per serving, and are both rich in fiber. But these super foods are also quite different which sparks the debate on chia seed compared to flax seed. Through learning more about both seeds you can find out the health benefits of each and which might be the best choice for you in your diet.
About Chia Seeds and Flax Seeds
Chia primarily comes from southern Mexico, and is closely related to the mint plant. Chia seeds have been used as far back as the Aztec civilization whose warriors relied on the seeds for both sustenance and pain relief. The chia seeds are considered to be the most important part of the plant, and have been used since time in memorial for their known health benefits. They are also the same seeds that are used to grow the beloved As Seen on TV product, the Chia Pet! Can you say Cha-Cha-Cha-Chia? They even have a Hello Kitty Chia Pet! Hilarious.
Flax on the other hand is considered to be one of the most powerful plant foods in the world. Flax seeds are also considered to be the most important part of the plant. Flax is known to have been cultivated as far back as the Babylonian times (3000BC), and citizens at the time were actually required by law to consume the seeds. Studies have shown that consuming flax seeds may lower the risk of cancer, stroke, diabetes and heart disease.
Now that the history lesson is over, let’s get into the nitty gritty with the similarities and difference in both.
Chia Seed vs Flax Seed: Similarities
- Both are rich in fiber (around 2g of fiber per tablespoon)
- Both are excellent sources of omega-3.
- Both are great sources of protein.
Chia Seed vs Flax Seed: Differences
The first difference between chia seed vs flax seed is that flax seeds are rich in lignans, a chemical compound found in plants that is known to have antioxidants and protect against many different cancers.
Chia on the other had doesn’t come with the same additional protection against different types of cancer.
Another major difference between chia seed vs flax seed is in the way that the seeds are consumed. Flax seeds have a hard outer covering, which means that they first must be ground before they can be consumed. Nutrients are also absorbed into the body by chewing the seeds. Chia seeds on the other hand are tiny, and don’t have the same outer coat which means that they can be easily eaten and digested as they are and don’t require to be ground before consuming.
Both chia and flax seeds are rich in soluble fiber. The advantage here is that soluble fibre forms a gel by absorbing liquid. The in turn means that less cholesterol and sugar are absorbed by the body. Chia seeds however tend to be richer in soluble fiber, and are highly recommended as part of a healthy diet. Chia seeds absorb many times their weight in liquid
Another place where the differences lie in the battle of chia seeds vs. Flax is in the taste. Both have a very different flavor. When ground, flax seeds are just a little bigger than sesame seeds, and have a faint grassy taste and tend to be dry and hard. The seeds can also have a nutty taste when roasted.
Chia seeds are much smaller, and their flavor is more neutral. They taste a lot like poppy seeds, and can have a slight crunch when exposed to water.
Chia Seed vs Flax Seed: The Downsides to Each
- Chia Seeds are high in fiber and can cause bloating and GI distress if you eat too many. I’ve experienced this before and it is not fun.
- Flax seeds have to be ground in order to receive the nutritional benefits. So if all you have is whole flax seeds and no blender, you are SOL.
Ideas and Ways to Use Chia Seeds & Flax Seeds:
- In your morning smoothie. You can put both chia seeds and flax seeds in there if you want.
- Oatmeal (but not really a great option for us gluten-free folks)
- Chia Seed Pudding. Check out my yummy recipe for chia seed pudding here
- As an egg substitute (Mix one tablespoon of seeds with 3 parts water)
- Sprinkle on Salads
- By themselves..if you dare!
- Chia Seeds run roughly about $13 a bag, but it should last you a long while. Here is the kind I like on Amazon.
- Flax Seed is a bit less expensive and runs around $4-5 a bag.
So who wins the battle between chia seed vs flax seed? Well, chia seeds and flax seeds are very similar yet so different. Ultimately, there is no clear winner in the chia seed vs. Flax seed battle for super foods supremacy. It is actually recommended by health and nutritionists to use both in your diet since they are both very beneficial to your health.
What about you? Do you use chia seeds or flax seeds? How do you consume them? Which do you prefer? Post in the comments and let me know!