Chia vs Flax – Which Seed Keeps You Healthier?

Can the Seed Used to Grow Chia Pets Be Healthier Than the Amazing Flax?

Are you looking for a great way to add fiber, calcium, and omega-3’s to your diet and are debating between chia seeds and flaxseed?

Maybe you’re already a devoted flax fan but have been hearing the latest hoopla about chia seeds.

Whatever your reason for wondering, we’re going to discuss the differences between flax and chia and decide once and for all which seed packs the biggest punch in your fight against illness and aging.

Chia vs Flax: Essential Fatty Acids

EFA’s are required by your body but unlike nearly every other nutrient, our bodies don’t make it at all. Therefore, we need to get it from food sources.

Both chia seeds and flaxseeds are great sources of omega-3’s but chia edges flax out nearly 2:1. Chia seeds have about 5000mg of omega 3’s plus the highest ratio of omega 3’s to omega 6’s of any plant source.

Flax seeds only have about 2700mg of omega 3’s but unlike chia seeds, flax has lignans. Lignans are phytoestrogens and are associated with reducing the risk of estrogen-related cancers such as breast cancer.

Chia vs Flax: Fiber

As far as fiber goes, both of these superseeds offer a respectable amount, though chia edges flax out yet again. In 2 tablespoons, chia has almost 7 grams of fiber and flax has about 4 grams.

An advantage that chia has is that it’s hydrophilic; that is, it absorbs water. Actually, it changes into a gel when soaked and can be drank as well as eaten. This may make it better for people with seed sensitivities though you should speak with your doctor about this.

Chia vs Flax: Nutrients

Nutritionally, chia’s a little better for you than flax. It has more antioxidants than blueberries, and certainly more than flax. Chia also has more calcium and phosphorus but flax has a decent amount of iron while chia doesn’t have any at all. Flax is also significantly higher in magnesium, copper, thiamin and selenium.

In 2 tablespoons, Chia has 4 grams of protein and flax only has 2 grams but realistically, this isn’t a significant difference. Still, it’s a difference that you now know about!

Taste, Texture, and Storage

These are the areas where the differences between chia and flax become really apparent. Probably the least of these is the taste difference. Flax has a mildly nutty, grainy flavor while chia is nearly tasteless, though it does have a slightly nutty note.

Texturally, flax and chia are extremely similar in dry form. They’re both great in salads or with your cereal, granola, or yogurt. When wet, though, flax maintains its solid form while chia becomes tapioca-like, and completely gelatinous if soaked long enough. Because it does this, it’s much more versatile than flax; you can use it as a thickener, or just as an additive to your food without noticing a change in flavor or texture.

Regarding storage, flax can be stored whole at room temperature for up to a year. However, once it’s ground it needs to be refrigerated and used fairly quickly because it spoils and turns rancid. Since you must grind it in order for your body to be able to digest it, this makes it a bit inconvenient.

Chia, on the other hand, can be eaten whole and can be stored almost indefinitely at room temperature because the antioxidants in it keep it from spoiling. Also, you don’t need to grind it because your body can digest it whole.

Because I’m a busy person that really values convenience and versatility, this is a big deal for me.

Final Word

Because of the high antioxidant content and excellent omega-3/omega-6 balance, chia is my go-to seed, especially when you consider the convenience and diversity that we just talked about. There’s really no reason to choose one or the other, though. Flax is still great for you and diversity is the key to good health, so go ahead – keep them both!

If you’d like to try chia seeds, I’ve found some really good deals on them for you. Just click here to choose the one that you’d like to try.

If you’d like to get some specific details about chia, flax, or the benefits of omega-3’s, we’ve got check out these other articles that you may be interested in:

Click here to read about the benefits of flax.

Click here to read about the benefits of chia.

Click here to read about the benefits of omega-3’s.

If you’re using either one of these superseeds, let us know about your experience in the comments section below!

2 Responses to “Chia vs Flax – Which Seed Keeps You Healthier?”
  1. The only problem that I have with taking only vegetable sources of omega-3’s is that all your getting is essential fatty acid ALA which doesn’t do nearly the good that it’s sister omegas EPA and DHA do.

    The one thing that your body can use ALA for is to convert into EPA and DHA if necessary but it’s not a really efficient process. If you can, it’s best to get your omega-3’s from both plant and animal sources because the pre-formed versions of all 3 fatty acids are much easier for your body to use!

  2. AgeProof says:

    I’ve been eating Paleo (or trying really hard to) for the past several years. I don’t always pass on the hot rolls but I do the vast majority of the time. Because of the research that I’ve done on Paleo eating, I learned about the lignans in flax.

    These anti-nutrients actually keep your body from absorbing nutrients such as protein as well as you should, and it causes inflammation too. Because of that, I like Chia seeds better. I put them in my fruit smoothie every morning – yum!

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