Both chia and flax have high omega 3 fatty acid content. These essential fatty acids help maintain healthy skin and hair, benefit your cardiovascular health and contribute to healthy brain function. The form of omega 3’s one obtains from eating plant-based sources of chia and flax is different than that of fish and/or krill oil. ALA, alpha-linolenic acid, is the form these two sources contain. Flax seeds provide a richer source of ALA, offering approximately 6.5 grams of ALA per ounce, compared to 5 grams in an equivalent serving of chia seeds.
Chia seeds can be consumed whole and broken down, while flaxseed must be consumed in the ground form; your digestive tract cannot break this seed down and access the healthy fats it contains.
Chia and flax seeds are also a source of both soluble and insoluble fibers, which help fill you up after a meal and prevent blood sugar spikes after eating and constipation. Each ounce of flax provides 7.7 grams, or 40 and 27 percent of the recommended daily intake for women and men, respectively. Each ounce of chia contains almost 12 grams of dietary fiber, 60 percent of the recommended daily intake for a woman and 40 percent of the recommended intake for a man, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. However, being fiber packed foods, we encourage you to incorporate these seeds into your diet gradually; quickly increasing your dietary fiber intake can lead to digestive upset.
Good for Your Health
Lignans are phytochemicals that are linked to reduced cancer risk; in particular, research has suggested that they may have a role in reducing the risk of breast and prostate cancers. Flax is a good source of lignans. Chia seeds also have lignans, but are not as rich a source as flax.
What’s in Them?
They both also contain some protein, with about the same amount per ounce. Chia averages 4.4 grams and flax, 5.1 grams per ounce. However, chia is one of few plant sources that provides complete protein, meaning it contains all of the nine essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. Both seeds also provide calcium and phosphorus, but chia is a denser amount of both minerals. On the other hand, both also contain copper, while here flaxseed wins out, providing 17% of the daily recommended intake; chia only provides 3%.
Due to the fact that both contain unsaturated fatty acids, which more readily oxidize in the presence of heat, light, and oxygen, we recommend you store both in the refrigerator or freezer. Purchase the flaxseed either in the whole seed form or already ground, but again, it is ground before consuming. Overall, it is best to purchase in the whole seed form and grind right prior to consumption for optimal freshness.