Flax or Chia: Which Seed is Superior?
Consuming enough fiber in your daily diet is important for a number of reasons. Not only does adequate fiber keep you regular, but it can reduce the impact of high carbohydrate foods on your blood sugar, and it can also promote weight loss due to greater satiety. If you are going to be adding more fiber to your diet and flax or chia seeds will be your choice, you might be wondering which one is superior. Here is a comparison of both seeds to help you make the best choice.
Calcium - Everyone needs healthy calcium levels for strong bones and normal muscle and nerve function. Chia and flax seeds both contain calcium, but flax pales in comparison. Chia seed contain 9 grams of calcium per 2 tbsp serving, while flax only has 4.
Cost - Ground flax seed meal costs approximately $2/pound or less, while chia seed cost about 5 times as much, at about $10/pound.
Protein - Adequate protein intake is important for many bodily functions, including tissue repair and production of hormones, enzymes and more. Both seeds contain just under 3 grams of protein per 2 tbsp serving.
Omega-3 fatty acids - Most people consume abundant amounts of omega-6 fatty acids in their diets, and obtaining the inflammation-smoldering omega-3 is often a problem. Thankfully, both of these seeds are abundance in omega-3, although flax has a bit more than chia.
Fiber - Both of these seeds contain an ample amount of fiber, and chia provides 20% of the daily recommended amount per 2 tbsp serving, while flax provides 15%.
Fat - Both seeds are high in "good" fat, and flax seeds have 6 grams per 2 tbsp serving, while chia has 4.4 grams.
Phosphorus, potassium and selenium - These minerals all have special functions: selenium is necessary for the cardiovascular system, potassium regulates electrolytes, and phosphorus is good for your bones. Chia seeds provide more than double the selenium that flax does, but flax contains higher amounts of potassium. Phosphorus is slightly higher in chia seeds than flax.
Calories - Neither seed is low in calories, but flax seeds have slightly more calories per 2 tbsp serving, at 75 calories, compared to 69 for chia seeds.
Versatility & taste - Chia and flax seeds are both very versatile and can be added to various recipes, including baked goods, smoothies, pudding, and much more. They also both have mild, nutty flavors. Flax seed is best ground, as whole seeds could be digested without providing any nutritional value. Chia seeds are absorbed whether eaten ground or whole.
Availability - Flax seeds have been popular for several years, and they are available just about anywhere: at markets, health food stores, online, and drug stores. Chia seeds haven't been popular as long, but they are relatively easy to find, although not quite as easy as flax.
Flax and chia seeds are both very healthy, and choosing the one that is superior will depend on your specific goals. If your goal is to simply be as healthy as possible, then either seed is a good choice. However, if you are looking for a seed that is as cost-effective as it is healthy, flax seed is definitely the superior choice.