The Big Difference Between Chia Seeds And Hemp Seeds

Chia seeds and hemp seeds are two natural ingredients that have become immensely popular in recent years. Both offer a hefty dose of fiber and plant-based protein in every serving, but there are some key differences between these tasty seeds.

Chia seeds are more widely used than hemp seeds. These come from the Salvia Hispanica L. plant, which is a member of the mint family (via Mindbodygreen). Prior to becoming popular in the United States, they were used for thousands of years by the Aztecs and Mayans in Central and South America.

Hemp seeds come from the Cannabis sativa L. plant. Yes, this is the same plant family as marijuana, but hemp seeds contain a very small amount of THC (the component found in marijuana that gets you high) and will not give you any psychoactive side effects (via Verywell Health). Both chia and hemp seeds can be found in most grocery stores today.

Chia seeds and hemp seeds contain many similar health benefits

Chia seeds and hemp seeds are both considered superfoods for a reason. Just two tablespoons of chia seeds have 140 calories, four grams of protein, seven grams of unsaturated fat, and 11 grams of fiber (via Mindbodygreen). Chia seeds also contain many vitamins and minerals, including manganese, phosphorus, copper, selenium, iron, magnesium, and calcium. They are also considered a complete protein, which means they have all nine essential amino acids (via Healthline). Chia seeds have been shown to improve blood sugar control, lower blood pressure, and improve digestion.

Hemp seeds also boast many health benefits. "Hemp is super-nutritious and although tiny, quite mighty," Amy Shapiro, RD, founder of Real Nutrition, told Women's Health. Like chia seeds, they are also a complete protein because they contain all nine amino acids. Three tablespoons of hemp seeds contain 10 grams of protein. They are also packed with fiber, which can improve digestion and aid in weight loss. High in magnesium and iron, hemp seeds can promote healthy sleep while helping you avoid anemia, which can cause lethargy and dizziness. Hemp seeds also help "prevent heart disease, keep arteries open and decrease blood pressure," said Shapiro.

The bottom line? Add both of these superfoods into your diet whenever you can.