Both chia seeds and flax seeds have been recognized as superfoods for thousands of years by ancient civilizations such as the Romans, Greeks, Mayans, and Aztecs. Only in the past couple years have these little seeds started blanketing the grocery aisle due to exciting new research on the array of health benefits that come with regular consumption. Because of these seedlings’ booming reputation, some wonder which is actually the healthiest. This blog breaks it down for you.

CHA CHA CHIA

Chia seeds, sometimes called salba seeds, are tiny circular black or white seeds with a lengthy list of health benefits due to their unique composition of micronutrients, phytonutrients/polyphenols, and fiber. First discovered by the ancient Mayans and Aztecs, in 3,500 BC, chia seeds were used by warriors to build stamina and strength.

In, Maya, chia means “strength.”  Today research continues to grow, proving that the Mayans and Aztecs were right on track feeding these energizing and medicinal seeds to their prized warriors.

FLAX TO THE MAX SEEDS

Flax seeds, also known as linseed, are small flat brown seeds with high nutrient density. Records show human use of flax seeds dates as far back as 30,000 BC. In 500 BC, Hippocrates used flax seeds as a medicine for healthy digestion.  In 1600 AD, Nicholas Culpepper an herbalist, used flaxseed oil as a treatment for inflammation, tumors, chest infections, and abscesses. Flax seeds were also used in the multi-grain porridge eaten by Roman soldiers to help sustain energy and strength.

It’s clear both chia seeds and flaxseeds have a long reputation as functional foods. As research grows, we will continue to learn more about these medicinal seeds. Here are a few benefits we do know.

Fiber Abundant

Chia seeds have an impressive 11 g of fiber in just one ounce. Flax seeds contain a significant 8 g of fiber per once. The Institute of Medicine recommends consuming at least 25-38g of fiber per day, while the average American consumes approximately 13 g a day. Meeting or exceeding your daily recommendation of fiber has many benefits including promoting healthy weight, aiding weight loss, decreasing “bad” LDL cholesterol, and promoting gut microbiota diversity.

Not only are these seeds a plentiful source of fiber, but a majority of the fiber is what’s called soluble fiber. This type of fiber forms into a gel in the digestive system (just like in chia pudding). This gel expands in your digestive system, making you feel fuller, and acts like a powerful magnet trapping cholesterol, excess calories, and fats and then pushing them through the digestive system. This is one of the reasons many “detox” diets include it as part of their cleanses. However, the healthiest way to include these seeds is regularly in your everyday healthy diet.

Mega on Omega-3s

Flax seeds are the richest plant sources of omega-3s, with a whopping 6,400 mg of omega-3s. Chia seeds come in an impressive second, with 4,900 mg of omega-3 fats per one-ounce serving. Both are EXCELLENT sources, providing more than 300-500% of your AI (adequate intake) for omega 3’s (2).

Foods high in omega-3’s have a calming affect on the body by reducing circulating inflammatory markers, promoting mental health, increasing “good” cholesterol HDL, decreasing “bad” LDL cholesterol, reducing plaque in the arteries, reducing triglyceride levels (extra fats circulating in the blood), and slightly lowering blood pressure.

Evidence on omega-3 supplementation is mixed; however, obtaining omega-3s from food has been shown to have promising health benefits.

Antioxidant Powerhouses

Both flaxseeds and chia seeds are boosting with disease-preventing antioxidants. Antioxidants work in the body by scoping out health-damaging free radicals. Once found, antioxidants neutralize them out of the body, saving us from free radical damage, a.k.a. oxidative stress that may cause disease (cancer, cardiovascular disease, arthritis) and premature aging. We are constantly exposed to free radicals in our environments from pollutants, ozone, smoke, and industrial chemicals, so including an antioxidant-rich diet is essential for lifelong health.  (4)

Manganese is a mineral that acts like an antioxidants found in both of these mighty seeds Chia and flax seeds both contain over 30% of your RDI for manganese. Manganese is a trace mineral that acts as a powerful antioxidant. Manganese’s other roles include fueling your metabolism, building vital tissues and hormones, and detoxifying the body. Low levels of manganese in the diet can contribute to infertility, poor bone health, high blood pressure, and fatigue.

Polyphenol Rich

Polyphenols are chemicals found in plants and thought to protect the plant from prediaors, ultra-violet rays, pathogens, and radiation. When polyphenols are ingested by humans, they are known to promote health and fight disease. Lignan is one of thousands of polyphenols found in plants and in impressive  amounts in both flaxseeds 85.5 mg/ oz and chia seeds 32 mg/ounce. (5) Research is still emerging but it is thought lignans may help prevent hormone-associated cancers (such as breast cancer), osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease.

WAYS TO USE CHIA AND FLAX

  • Add to oatmeal 
  • Make chia pudding
  • Make a flaxseed or chia gel and swap for eggs when baking
  • Sprinkle on yogurt
  • Swirl in a smoothie
  • Encrust fish, chicken, or tofu with bread crumbs and flaxseeds
  • Enjoy in Health Warrior products
  • Add to pancakes
  • Mix in tea
  • Bake in granola
  • Top desserts

NUTRIENT COMPARISON

Flaxseeds

Chia seeds

Calories

150

137

Carbs

8 grams

12 grams

Fiber

8 grams

11 grams

Protein

5 grams

4 grams

Fat

12 grams

9 grams

Monounsaturated fat

2 grams

.6 grams

Polyunsaturated fat

8 grams

6.5 grams

Omega-3 fatty acids

6,400 mg

4,900 mg

Omega-6 fatty acids

1,700 mg

1,600 mg

Manganese

   35% of the RDI

30% of the RDI

Thiamine

   31% of the RDI

11% of the RDI

Magnesium

   27% of the RDI

30% of the RDI

Phosphorus

   18% of the RDI

27% of the RDI

Copper

   17% of the RDI

3% of the RDI

Selenium

   10% of the RDI

22% of the RDI

Iron

   9% of the RDI

12% of the RDI

Zinc

   8% of the RDI

7% of the RDI

Calcium

   7% of the RDI

18% of the RDI

Potassium

   7% of the RDI

1% of the RDI

https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3061/2

Chia seeds and Flax seeds are the full superfood package, both with their unique all-star qualities. For instance, flax seeds have more omega-3 fatty acids, while chia seeds have more bone-building phosphorus. More calcium can be found in chia seeds, but flax seeds provide significant metabolism boosting thiamine. Without a doubt the duo have serious health-enhancing benefits when included regularly in your diet. In addition, their versatility in the kitchen is incomparable. Regardless of the meal time there is a way to incorporate one of these seeds in. Check below for a 1 day meal plan. Health Warrior stays committed to our mission to provide the highest-quality nutrient-dense ingredients for nutritious products. This is why we include chia and flaxseeds in many of our products.

 

Example Meal Plan

Breakfast

Flaxseed overnight oats with 1/2 scoop Health Warrior Superfood Protein Powder

Snack

Blueberry chia seed pudding

Lunch

Three bean salad with hummus and pita chips

Snack

Health Warrior Chia Bar

Dinner

Tofu str-fry with flax seeds

Dessert

Frozen blended banana soft serve “ice cream” with cacao and flax seed topping


Sources

  • Ittps://www.flaxfarm.co.uk/origins-linseed-and-flax/
  • https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4152533/#CR106
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318652.php
  • http://digitool.library.mcgill.ca/webclient/StreamGate?folder_id=0&dvs=1546040492366~185