We know that both flax and chia seeds are excellent sources (plant-based) of omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, phosphorous etc but when someone asks you which one is better, you might get puzzled. It is obvious because if one is best in one domain, the other one is best in another. Chia becomes a superstar among all the seeds these days, and flax seeds also are very beneficial for your health. A comprehensive comparison can be made from the points which are listed below in very easy and humble way and then you can easily decide which either one or both are better:
These seeds are believed to originate from Egypt. The people of Egypt used this seed in food and medicine, both as a nutritional aid and a digestive, skin, and mood remedy. These seeds come from flax flour. Nowadays, this is found in various part of North America.
It is assumed that chia seeds originated from the Mexico. These seeds were very popular in The Aztec. Chia is an annual herb with wide and opposite leaves. This herb has purple or white flowers. Chia seeds also originate from a flowering plant. Now, they are grown in various parts of the world. They belong to the mint family. They are used to provide energy, strength, satiety, and a healthy mood.
Omega 3 fatty acids:
Omega 3 fatty acids help to prevent inflammation, aid in optimal brain function, create a balanced mood, and maintain a good ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats. Omega-6 fats can lead to inflammation in excess and are largely found in oils such as corn and soybean oil. Flax contains a little bit more of omega 3 fatty acids than chia. One serving of flax contains as much as 6388mg of omega-3 fatty acid while one serving of chia seeds contains around 4915 milligrams of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Lignans are a type of antioxidants known as phytochemical that helps in reduction of the menopause symptoms, removing cholesterol problems and enhancing the appearance the skin and hair. Flax has more lignans than chia seeds. But if we talk about only antioxidants, we will find that Chia seeds are quite high in antioxidants, which helps to keep them fresh.
There are two types of fibers which are termed as soluble and insoluble fibers. Soluble fibers are soft and sticky. They absorb water to form a gel-like substance inside the digestive system. Soluble fibers help soften stool. These fibers also bind to substances such as cholesterol and sugar, preventing or slowing their absorption into the blood. That’s why it’s known to help regulate blood sugar levels and protect against heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol. Soluble fiber boosts the population of good bacteria in the gut, which is linked to improved immunity, anti-inflammatory effects, and even enhanced mood. Insoluble fibers are hydrophobic in nature. Insoluble fiber is not broken down by the gut and absorbed into the bloodstream. It adds several problems in the digestive system, which helps keep you regular and prevent constipation. One serving of flax seeds contains 7.6 grams of dietary fiber and Chia seeds contain around 10.6 grams of dietary fiber. So we can say that Chia seeds have more fiber than flax seeds.
Copper plays an essential role for a living being. Most of the copper is found in liver, brain, heart, kidneys and skeletal muscle. Copper increases the formation of collagen, absorption of iron in the body and plays a role in energy production. The deficiency of copper causes an increased risk of infection, and osteoporosis, impaired neurological function etc. Copper also helps to provide healthy red blood cells. Flax seeds contain a little bit higher amount of copper than chia seeds. Flax seeds contain around 0.3mg of copper per serving. Chia seeds have much less copper per serving at around 0.1mg.
The health benefits of phosphorus include healthy bone formation, improved digestion, protein formation, hormonal balance, improved energy extraction, regulated excretion, cellular repair, optimize chemical reactions, and proper nutrient utilization. The health benefits of phosphorous make it an important constituent of any diet. Flax seeds include 180mg of phosphorus per serving. Chia seeds are quite high in phosphorus, containing around 265mg per serving.
A calorie is a unit of energy. Calories refer to energy consumption through eating and drinking and physical activity. There are two types of calories:
A large calorie (symbol – Cal, kcal) – 1Cal is the amount of energy required to raise one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius.
A small calorie (symbol – cal) – 1cal is the amount of energy required to raise one gram of water by one degree Celsius. Remember one large calorie (1kcal) = 1,000 small calories.
One ounce of flax seeds contains 151 calories while an ounce of chia seeds contains 138 calories.
Calcium is a very important mineral for living beings. Calcium helps our blood clot, building bones and keeping them healthy, nerves send messages and muscles contract. About 99% of the calcium in our bodies is in our bones and teeth. Each day, we lose calcium through our skin, nails, hair, sweat, urine, and feces, but our bodies cannot produce new calcium. Flax seeds contain around 71.4mg of calcium while Chia seeds contain 177mg of calcium which can be used to support bone health and other bodily functions.
Proteins are large biomolecules consisting of one or more long chains of amino acid residues. Protein is an important component of every cell in the body. Proteins perform a vast array of functions within organisms, including catalyzing metabolic reactions, responding to stimuli, DNA replication, and transporting molecules from one location to another. Hair and nails are mostly made of protein. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. Proteins differ from one another primarily in their sequence of amino acids, which is glued by the nucleotide sequence of their genes. An ounce of flax seeds contains 5.1 grams of protein, which is more than eggs but not quite as much as meat while an ounce of chia seeds has 4.4 grams of complete protein.
How to eat them:
Flax seeds should be ground before you eat them. Otherwise, they will not break down in the digestive tract, which means your body will not get the nutrients from the seeds. Flax will oxidize very quickly and start to taste rancid. Chia seeds must be soaked before eating otherwise you may face constipation, diarrhea, and flatulence (accumulation of gas in the alimentary canal).
From the above discussion, we are sure that it is difficult for you to conclude which one is better because in some cases Chia is the best while in some cases flax is the better. Chia seeds are good when we need phosphorus, fiber, and calcium. If we talk about protein, we will find that chia seeds contain a complete protein which makes it a good supplement for those who are vegetarian or otherwise protein deficient. So we should add both of these seeds in our diet because including a variety of healthy products is quite beneficial to ensure a healthy diet and for providing your body with all of the nutrients your body needs.