Weighing In: Chia vs. Flax Seeds

Photo credit: Madeline Klebe

If you’re into eating healthy these days, chances are you’ve heard of chia and flax seeds. People are raving about them and you know they’re supposed to be good for you, but what the heck are these seeds? How do you eat them? And what are they doing for your body? Here is a simple break down of what each seed is and how you can work them into your diet.


Chia Seeds

These seeds are grown in Mexico and were a big part of the Aztec and Mayan diet. Back then, they were used for more energy for long days of hunting, but to us we know it as a little seed that is packed with nutritional benefits.

Chia seeds are higher in antioxidants than blueberries and are rich in omega- 3 fatty acids, which is found in fish – this type of fat is the fat you actually want in your diet. Omega-3 helps with controlling blood clotting, helps with diseases such as asthma and helps with protection against heart disease.

Chia seeds are also rich in phosphorous, calcium and potassium, which support healthy muscle function. In 2 tsp of chia seeds you will find… about 117 calories, 4 grams protein, 7.4 grams fat and 8.3 grams fiber.


How to Eat Them

You can eat chia seeds whole. People like to put them in their overnight oats, add them to yogurt, put them in smoothies, bake with them, etc. They are very versatile, filling, and a perfect add-in for a nutritional breakfast or snack. You can also put chia seeds in your water to help keep your body hydrated while exercising.

Try This:

Vanilla Raspberry Chia Pudding
1- Cup Raspberries
1- Cup almond milk
1- Tbsp honey
1- Tsp vanilla extract
2- Tsp Greek yogurt
3 – Tsp chia

Mix up all the ingredients except the chia seeds in the blender. Pour mixture into a jar with a lid. Add chia seeds and shake mixture together. Let it rest in the refridgator over night. Shake again and eat for breakfast!


Flax Seeds

Flax seeds are packed with fiber, Omega-3 fatty acid, Alpha- Linolenic Acid (ALA), protein and SDG lignans. Lignans have a lot of benefits and are high in fiber and antioxidants. There is 98 mg of lignans per serving of flax seed. Also ALA is a fatty acid that helps maintain healthy hair, skin and nails. They are also good for breast health, hair growth, ovarian and uterine health and menopause relief in women.

In two tbsp of ground flax seeds you’ll find 70 calories, 3 grams fiber, 3 grams protein and 6 grams of fat.


How to Eat Them

Unlike chia seeds, you can’t eat flax seeds whole. If you eat the whole seed it will pass through you undigested and won’t leave its health benefits behind. You can buy flax seeds whole and grind them up as you go using a coffee grinder or you can buy them already ground – but keep them in the fridge so they stay fresh! Flax seeds are popular to put in smoothies and protein shakes and once ground can be sprinkled on cereal, yogurt or eaten alone.

Try This:

Super Green Flaxseed Smoothie
1 – Cup low fat Greek yogurt
2 – Tbsp flaxseed
1- Cup spinach
2- Tbsp peanut butter

Blend all the ingredients up for a protein packed post workout snack!


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