Chia Seeds VS Flax Seeds

Fri Mar 25, 2022

Chia Seeds VS Flax Seeds

Do you want to start adding more nutritional value to your food but not sure what is best? The answer to this question lies in the goals you seek to accomplish. Flaxseeds and chia seeds are two superfood options used by many. Read on to learn about the benefits the two nutritional seeds share, as well as what makes them different.

Highly Nutritious Superfoods

Both chia seeds and flaxseeds are highly nutritious.

 

Flaxseeds

Chia Seeds

Calories

150

138

Carbs

8 grams

12 grams

Fiber

8 grams

10 grams

Protein

5 grams

5 grams

Fat

12 grams

9 grams

Omega-3 Fats

6,388 grams

4,915 grams

Thiamine

38% of DV

15% of DV

Magnesium

26% of DV

23% of DV

Phosphorus

5% of DV

15% of DV

Copper

38% of DV

29% of DV

Selenium

13% of DV

28% of DV

Iron

9% of DV

12% of DV

Zinc

11% of DV

12% of DV

Calcium

6% of DV

14% of DV

Potassium

5% of DV

2% of DV

 

Chia Seeds and Flaxseeds May Help Manage Weight

Many people wonder if chia or flax seeds can be used for weight loss. Both chia seeds and flax seeds have been shown to support weight loss and weight management.

Chia seeds absorb water and expand into a gel-like substance. This creates a sense of being fuller faster, and aids in digestion of food. 3,4

A study measured the satiety and hunger of participants, comparing the results of those who ate yogurt with 7 grams of chia seeds Vs. those who ate yogurt with 14 grams of chia seeds. The study found those participants who ingested the larger serving of chia seeds were less hungry and had higher levels of satisfaction. These participants also had a lower desire to consume sugary foods. 5

Flaxseeds have shown to reduce appetite significantly and increase sensations of fullness when compared to control groups.6 A study of 45 different trials has shown that flax seeds can help reduce body weight and belly fat. Those with a BMI of 27 or greater saw the most significant weight loss from flaxseeds. 7

Chia Seeds and Flaxseeds Can Improve Blood Sugar

Studies from 2010 and 2013 compared blood sugar levels of groups and how chia seeds impacted the levels. The groups were individuals who:

  • ate bread with chia seeds
  • ate bread without chia seeds

The results showed that chia seeds can help manage and reduce blood sugar spikes post-meal, as the chia seed group had lower blood sugar levels after eating than the control group. 8,9

Another study shows adding chia seeds to your diet may help improve insulin sensitivity, making it more effective. 10

A review of 25 studies compared the use of flaxseeds to blood sugar levels. This review showed that flaxseed can decrease blood sugar levels and help prevent insulin resistance. 11

While both flaxseeds and chia seeds help to stabilize and lower blood pressure levels, it is important to note that chia seeds may improve insulin sensitivity while flaxseeds may only help to prevent insulin resistance.

Chia Seeds and Flaxseeds are High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Both chia seeds and flaxseeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, specifically alpha-linolenic acid (ALA.) ALA is an essential fatty acid that our bodies do not produce and must obtain through diet. This fatty acid supports our heart health and has shown to reduce risk of heart disease, inflammation and cholesterol levels.

 Both chia seeds and flax seeds are high in alpha-linolenic acid which can reduce risk of heart disease, inflammation and cholesterol levels

Chia Seeds and Flaxseeds are Easy to Incorporate into Diet

Both flaxseeds and chia seeds are easy to incorporate into your diet. Below is a list of ideas to get started, however, these superfoods are extremely versatile and can be incorporated in many ways. 12, 13

  • Sprinkle chia seeds or flaxseeds on top of cereal, yogurt, fruit or hot oatmeal
  • Grind seeds and add to your condiments such as mustard or salad dressings
  • Toss chia or flaxseeds into your granola or salad mix
  • Blend flaxseeds or chia seeds into smoothies 

Specifically for chia seeds, “chia seed pudding” is a popular choice. Chia seeds absorb liquid and will expand and become gel-like. You can mix ¼ cup of chia seeds with one cup of liquid, like almond milk or fruit juice. Once the mixture “gelled-up” and no longer watery, the pudding is ready to eat! 13

chia pudding in bowl

Additional Benefits of Flaxseeds and Chia seeds

Flaxseeds and chia seeds aren’t called superfoods for nothing. While they share many benefits, each of these superfoods has its own set of benefits not shared with the other. Choosing which might be best for you depends on your personal health goals. Below you can find additional information on the benefits of each.

Flaxseed Benefits

Rich in Fiber

Flaxseed contains two types of fiber – soluble and insoluble. Each of these are responsible for different processes. Soluble fiber will absorb water and slow down your digestion, making it easier for the body to regulate absorption, blood sugar levels and cholesterol. Insoluble fiber is meant to assist with bowel movements by bulking up the stool and promoting regular movements. One tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains 2 grams of fiber, which is roughly 5-8% of the recommended daily intake. If you’re struggling to get enough fiber in your diet, adding flaxseeds are a great option to boost fiber levels in food.  14

Can Lower Cholesterol

Infographic showing the process of cholesterol being lowered by fiber

The high content of fiber in flaxseeds can help lower cholesterol. Fiber binds to bile salts before being excreted from the body and the body needs to replenish these bile salts. To do this, the body pulls cholesterol from your blood into your liver, resulting in lower levels of cholesterol.

In one study, participants ingested 4 grams of flaxseed per day for one month. At the end of the study, participants saw an average of 15% reduction in their levels of LDL cholesterol, or bad cholesterol. 14

In another study, participants ingested 4 tablespoons of flaxseeds daily for 12 weeks and saw a significant reduction in body mass index (BMI), total cholesterol and blood pressure. 14

Flaxseed May Reduce Blood Pressure

Flaxseed can help reduce blood pressure levels, especially in those with high blood pressure. A 12-week study had participants with high blood pressure eat 4 tablespoons of flaxseed per day and the results showed a reduction in blood pressure.

A large review of 11 studies found that taking flaxseed daily for more than three months can lower blood pressure by 2 mmHg. This amount may seem insignificant; however, research shows a reduction in risk of stroke by 14% when blood pressure is reduced 2 mmHg. 14

Chia seed benefits

Contains Important Bone Nutrients

Chia seeds are highly nutritious; however, they contain a handful of nutrients that are integral for the health of our bones. These nutrients include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and alpha lipoic acid (ALA.)

One study found that chia seeds may help increase bone mineral content. 15 While limited studies have explored this benefit of chia seeds, that does not negate the fact that this superfood contains important bone nutrients.

Antioxidants

High in antioxidants, chia seeds can help protect your immune system against free radicals. Free radicals are unstable, foreign molecules in the body that can cause oxidative stress and contribute to diseases. Antioxidants assist your immune system by neutralizing or stabilizing these molecules and preventing them from causing further damage. 15

The specific antioxidants found in chia seeds are chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, myricetin, quercetin and kaempferol. This set of antioxidants particularly has protective effects on the heart and liver, as well as reducing inflammation throughout the body. 15

Sources

1 USDA Flaxseed Nutrition Chart

2 USDA Chia Seed Nutrition Chart

3 PubMed, Chemical and Functional Properties of Chia Seed

4 NCBI, Unravelling the Effects of Soluble Dietary Fibre Supplementation on Energy Intake and Perceived Satiety in Healthy Adults

5 PubMed, Chia seed added yogurt reduces short-term food intake and increases satiety

6 ScienceDirect, Flaxseed dietary fiber supplements for suppression of appetite and food intake

7 ResearchGate, The effect of flaxseed supplementation on body weight and body composition

8 PubMed, Effect of whole and ground Salba seeds on postprandial glycemia in healthy volunteers

9 PubMed, Reduction in postprandial glucose excursion and prolongation of satiety

10 ResearchGate, Chia seed improves skeletal muscle lipotoxicity and insulin sensitivity in rats

11 PubMed, Flaxseed supplementation on glucose control and insulin sensitivity

12 Everyday Health, Tiny Flaxseed Has Many Hidden Health Benefits

13 Bon Appetit, Chia Seeds: Everything You Need to Know About This Powerhouse Superfood

14 Healthline, Benefits of Flaxseed

15 Healthline, Enticing Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

 

 

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