Difference between chia and flax seeds
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Chia seeds and flaxseeds are both seeds that are high in fiber and protein. Chia seeds are more bland, tasteless and round, while flaxseeds are more oval shaped and have a stronger, nutty flavor. There are some key differences other than taste and shape such as amount of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, minerals and even cost or ease of access. We take a closer look into the key differences so that you can find out which seed will be a perfect nutritional supplement to leave you feeling your best!
By contrast, two tablespoons of chia seeds have about 140 calories, nearly six grams of protein, about eight grams of fat (including omega-3s), and 11 grams of mostly soluble fibre. Plus they’re full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
The healthy fat content and high fiber in chia seeds might help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and slow blood sugar spikes, says Susan Bowerman, RD, a registered dietitian in Los Angeles. “They’re also a decent source of calcium, a nutrient many people don’t get much of.”
Battling extra inches? Chia seeds might also help with weight loss. Because they swell, adding bulk to dishes, they help you feel fuller and more satisfied, says Bowerman. The fibre content in chia seeds also “supports proper digestion, elimination, and a healthy gut,” adds Akua Woolbright, national nutrition director for Whole Cities Foundation, the nonprofit arm of Whole Foods.
And finally, chia seeds may help with chronic inflammation. Consuming about four tablespoons of chia seeds every day for 12 weeks led to a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease in people with type 2 diabetes, according to a small study of 30 people published in Diabetes Care. People with type 2 who ate wheat bran didn’t reap the same benefits.
“Flaxseeds are dense in rich nutrients,” says Mary Gollan, RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist for Pregl Appetit. “They are a wonderful source of omega-3 fats, fiber, and protein.” Gollan adds that studies have shown that flaxseeds may lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol.
“Flaxseeds are one of the most nutritionally dense plant-based foods containing omega 3 fatty acids,” says Tsai. One ounce of flaxseeds contains 6000 mg of inflammation-preventing omega-3 fatty acids. By comparison, six ounces of salmon contain about 4900 mg. “Flaxseeds are also a good source of insoluble fiber,” says Tsai. “They don’t dissolve in water so they stay in the digestive tract after meals, therefore promoting regularity.”
Although flaxseeds are healthy, they can be high in calories: Two tablespoons of whole flaxseeds contains 110 calories. Which is why Gollan advises eating them wisely. “Treat flaxseeds like you would nuts,” she says. “Eat them in moderation—one to three tablespoons per day—but include them regularly in your diet since they are so full of nutrients.”
Chia seeds (2 tablespoons)
11 grams of fibre
7 grams of unsaturated fat
18% of the recommended daily value for calcium
Trace minerals including zinc, copper, magnesium, and potassium
4.4 grams of protein (chia seeds are considered a complete protein since they contain all 9 essential amino acids)
Flax seeds (2 tablespoons)
4.2 grams of fiber
6.3 grams of fat
Minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and folate
2.76 grams of protein