Both Are Nutritional Powerhouses
Chia seeds are round and rather neutral in taste. Flax seeds, on the other hand, are oval in shape and have a nutty flavor to them. Like all seeds, flax and chia seeds contain the power to fuel a living plant (just add sun and water). They are unique, however, in just how much nutrition they pack given their tiny size.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Both flax seeds and chia seeds are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been proven to improve heart health and prevent inflammation. If you had to choose, however, flax seeds have the edge over chia seeds when it comes to containing these “good fats.”
Flax and chia seeds are also rich in fiber, which aids digestion, prevents constipation, and keeps hunger at bay. Chia seeds have the edge in this category, providing 11 grams of fiber per ounce versus 8 grams of fiber per ounce for flax seeds.
Flax seeds have the edge when it comes to lignans, which are fiber-associated compounds that act as antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent or slow damage to cells caused by free radicals (which are produced by our bodies in response to the environment and other pressures). Chia seeds contain antioxidants as well, but only flax seeds contain high values of lignans.
Calcium, Iron & Protein
Chia seeds are a significant source of calcium, while flax seeds are not. However, if you have an iron deficiency, go with flax seeds. Flax seeds are also slightly higher than chia seeds in protein, although both represent a significant source, especially given their size.
My Final Thoughts?
Both flax seeds and chia seeds are nutritional powerhouses that can boost your health. Enjoy them in moderation by incorporating them into your recipes for smoothies and baked goods, or sprinkling them over yogurt, cereal or oatmeal. Flax seeds should be ground into a “meal” or flour before eating them in order to absorb their nutritional benefits. Chia seeds are fine consumed whole or ground.