The Real Difference Between Flaxseed And Chia Seeds

If you have been working on eating healthy superfoods, chances are you've been researching how to integrate seeds into your diet. Flaxseeds and chia seeds are two popular options that have been prevalent in smoothies, granola, and more. But is there a superior option health-wise, and what exactly are they? 

Chia seeds are small, round seeds originating from Mexico and South America with Aztec roots. They come in black and white varieties and have a mild flavor (via Bob's Red Mill). Flax are more of an oval shape resembling a pumpkin seed, have a nuttier taste, and also come in two color varieties, brown and golden. Historically, flaxseeds date back to as early as 3000 BC in Babylon or present day Middle East.

Chia seeds and flaxseed are very similar from a nutritional perspective. They are both high in fiber and protein, but they do have some differences. Flaxseeds are higher in omega-3s, manganese, copper, and potassium. In fact, flaxseeds are the number one plant-based food for omega-3 fatty acids, according to Bob's Red Mill.

Are flaxseeds or chia seeds a healthier option?

Chia seeds have a higher amount of fiber, calcium, phosphorus, and iron (via Healthline). Flaxseeds are higher in calories and fat, while chia seeds pack more carbohydrates. Both pack some antioxidants, with chia seeds having a well-rounded variety for anti-aging and disease prevention. Flaxseeds are a good source of lignans, also known as phytochemicals, which are helpful for menopause symptoms and skin appearance.

The seeds both share some of the same health benefits for improving digestion, reducing blood pressure, lowering the risk of heart disease via alpha-linolenic acid, lowering blood sugar, and possibly reducing cholesterol levels, according to Healthline.

So which is best? It depends on your personal preference. The nutritional profiles are very similar, so it would be based on specific nutrients you are seeking, as well as taste. From a cost perspective, flaxseeds are typically cheaper than chia seeds, but chia seeds can have a longer shelf-life than flaxseeds (via Bob's Redmill). 

Whether you choose flaxseeds or chia seeds, either can be a positive and fun addition to your diet.