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Chia Seeds vs Flax Seeds: Which Is Healthier?

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Chia seeds vs flax seeds - Dr. Axe

Chia seeds and flax seeds are the two most popular varieties of seeds for their versatility, nutrient profile and wealth of health benefits. But when it comes to chia seeds vs flax seeds, which one is better for you?

Good news — they are both fantastic additions to your diet. Packed with fiber, protein and healthy fats, chia and flax seeds can help to improve your digestive, cardiovascular and cognitive health.

Per serving, it’s true that chia seeds benefits may outweigh those of flax seeds, but adding either one to your diet can have a positive impact.


Chia Seeds vs Flax Seeds Nutrition

Chia seeds and flax seeds nutrition both include a good amount of fiber and protein. They both also have an extensive nutrient profile and provide a type of omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

Ounce for ounce, chia seeds contain the higher amount of fiber and are especially rich in soluble fiber, which can help lower cholesterol levels, reduce appetite and promote regularity. Chia seeds are also easy to digest, and unlike other types of seeds, they can be consumed either whole or ground. Plus, they boast a good amount of several other micronutrients, including manganese and phosphorus.

Flaxseeds pack in more omega-3 fatty acids per serving, which is important for reducing inflammation and preventing chronic disease. Flaxseeds are also high in lignans, which are plant compounds that act as antioxidants and have been linked to protection against cancer and heart disease. Unlike chia seeds, however, flaxseeds need to be ground up before consumption in order to maximize the potential health benefits.

Here’s a rundown of chia seeds versus flax seeds nutrition. Two tablespoons of chia seeds contains approximately:

  • 137 calories
  • 12.3 grams carbohydrates
  • 4.4 grams protein
  • 8.6 grams fat
  • 10.6 grams fiber
  • 0.6 milligram manganese (30 percent DV)
  • 265 milligrams phosphorus (27 percent DV)
  • 177 milligrams calcium (18 percent DV)
  • 1 milligram zinc (7 percent DV)
  • 0.1 milligram copper (3 percent DV)
  • 44.8 milligrams potassium (1 percent DV)

And two tablespoons of whole, unground flax seeds contains approximately:

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

Uses for Chia Seeds vs Flax Seeds

Chia seeds and flax seeds nutrition allows for their many uses and benefits. Both types of seeds are high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fiber and protein. They both support healthy skin, promote digestive health and boost cardiovascular health.

Flax seeds are the richest dietary source of lignans that help to promote hormonal balance and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and maybe even hormone-associated cancers like breast cancer.

Flax seeds are also a pretty good source of thiamine, which helps the body to utilize the macronutrients found in the seeds and turn them into useable energy. Thiamine also supports cognitive health, and getting enough may help to prevent neurodegenerative diseases.

Chia seeds, on the other hand, contain more calcium and phosphorus per serving. Calcium is known for its ability to improve blood pressure and support bone health. And phosphorus is needed to maintain energy levels, and it promotes detoxification.

Chia Seeds Or Flax Seeds for Constipation?

Both chia seeds and flax seeds are beneficial for digestion and help to relieve constipation. Both form a gel when they are combined with liquid during digestion. This blocks the fiber in the seeds from releasing sugars and breaking down fully. This helps to bulk up stool and flush water from your digestive tract. The fiber in both chia seeds and flax seeds also act as prebiotics that help to stimulate the growth of friendly bacteria in your gut.

Although adding either type of seeds will benefit your digestive health and relieve constipation, chia seeds contain more fiber ounce for ounce, so you may notice a bigger impact.

Chia Seeds vs Flax Seeds for Bodybuilding

Both chia seeds and flax seeds provide healthy fats, protein and fiber, making them beneficial foods for weight loss and bodybuilding. Both types of seeds can be used to enhance exercise performance too, but chia seeds in particular are often used by athletes for carb-loading, which is a strategy used by endurance athletes to help maximize the storage of glycogen in the muscles and liver.

Chia seeds and flax seeds both contain protein that can help to build muscle mass and increase strength. It may be especially helpful to consume chia seeds and flax seeds after a workout to support the repair of muscle tissues, help in building new muscle and speed up recovery time between workouts.


How to Eat Chia Seeds and Flax Seeds

There are so many ways to eat chia seeds and flax seeds. You can add both types of seeds to your homemade baked goods, like breads, waffles, muffins and cookies. You can also add them to your daily breakfast bowl, smoothie or yogurt parfait. You can also make your own homemade granola that includes both flax seeds and chia seeds.

Here are some simple tips to keep in mind when eating chia seeds and flax seeds:

  • You need to grind whole flax seeds before you add them to your recipes, but chia seeds can be eaten whole. To grind whole flax seeds, you can use a coffee grinder right before you plan to eat them. You can also buy pre-ground flax seeds, which is often called flaxseed meal.
  • Soaking both chia seeds and flax seeds before you eat them will “sprout” them, which makes them easier to digest and increases the amount of nutrients your body will be able to absorb. To soak the seeds, simply let them sit in warm water for about 30 minutes. You can also let them soak overnight, which creates a gel-like consistency.
  • Mixing flax seeds and chia seeds with water will allow them to be become a gel-like substance. You can then use the soaked seeds to create your own jam or pudding.
  • You can mix both chia seeds and flax seeds with water to create an egg substitute that can be used in your baked goods recipes.

Chia Seeds vs Flax Seeds in Smoothies

Both chia seeds and flax seeds are great additions to any smoothie. They will boost the nutritional value and make the smoothie more filling because of their fiber content.

Should You Eat Chia Seeds and Flax Seeds Together?

Yes! Eating chia seeds and flax seeds together will supply a range of nutrients. To incorporate the seeds into your daily regime, start by eating one tablespoon of each type of seed daily. If you aren’t used to eating this much dietary fiber, start with a half tablespoon of each first so your digestive system can adjust.


Chia Seeds vs Flax Seeds Final Thoughts

  • When it comes to chia seeds vs flax seeds, both are great sources of fiber, protein and healthy fats. Plus, they supply a range of micronutrients including manganese, phosphorus and thiamine.
  • You can use both chia seeds and flax seeds to support digestion, boost cardiovascular health, increase energy levels, support weight loss and promote muscle building. For relieving constipation, chia seeds do contain more fiber ounce for ounce, so adding them to your diet may be more beneficial.
  • The best way to reap the benefits of both chia seeds and flax seeds is to add a half tablespoon to one full tablespoon of each to a smoothie, baked goods recipe, yogurt parfait or breakfast bowl.

Read Next: Sprout Guide: How to Sprout Grains, Nuts & Beans


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