Chia and flaxseed are among the two most popular foods of recent years. Both are incredibly rich in nutritional values, and both have been linked to health benefits, such as a healthier heart, lower blood sugar levels, and protection against certain types of cancer. But many people wonder which of the two seeds is healthier. In this article, I will try to answer this question.
Chia seeds are small, oval-shaped seeds of the Salvia hispanica plant, more commonly known as the chia plant. These are sometimes called salba seeds, they are often purchased as a whole and are available in black or white varieties. Chia seeds are native to Mexico and Guatemala and have been used as a staple food in ancient Aztec and Maya diets. In contrast, flaxseed is flatter and slightly larger than chia seeds. It is usually brown or golden in color. The starting point is thought to be the Middle East. The taste of both is not sharp. Both seeds can be easily included in a variety of dishes.
Nutritional value comparison
Both chia and flaxseed are rich in a variety of nutrients.
Nutritional values of 30 grams (about 3 tablespoons) of chia and flaxseed:
As you can see, both seeds contain good amounts of protein and omega-3, but flaxseeds are richer in these two nutrients.
Flaxseed contains significantly more manganese, copper and potassium. Chia seeds are slightly less calorie and contain more fiber. It is also rich in calcium, phosphorus and iron.
Both seeds are very nutritious. If you’re looking for more omega-3s, you can opt for flaxseed. If you’re looking for more fiber and bone-strengthening minerals, you can opt for chia seeds.
Both are balancing blood sugar levels
Both flax and chia seeds contain good amounts of fiber. Fiber slows the digestion of carbohydrates and slows down the absorption of sugar, helping to protect type 2 diabetes. This causes a more gradual increase in blood sugar levels after eating. In other words, fiber helps prevent blood sugar spikes. It balances blood sugar levels and provides some protection against type 2 diabetes.
For example, studies in people with type 2 diabetes have shown that eating 1-2 tablespoons of flaxseed per day can reduce fasting blood sugar by 8 to 20%. Similarly, animal experiments show that chia seeds can help balance blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance, and both can help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Both increase digestion
Digestion is an important function your body performs every day and helps you break down the food you eat and absorb the nutrients. Poor digestive system can make it hard for your body to get all the nutrients it needs and create some unwanted side effects. Constipation and diarrhea are two of the most common side effects of poor digestion and are thought to affect 27% of people. Thanks to its high fiber content, flax and chia seeds can help relieve both constipation and diarrhea.
Both flax and chia seeds contain insoluble fiber that helps relieve constipation. Flaxseed contains more soluble fiber, which can help reduce diarrhea.
Both can lower the risk of heart disease
Both chia and flaxseed contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an acid found in omega-3. ALA is a mandatory nutrient. Because it is an oil your body cannot produce. This means that you can only get it through nutrition.
Several studies have linked ALA to a lower risk of heart disease. For example, a large review of 27 studies observed that high ALA intakes could be associated with 14% lower risk of heart disease. A study of 3,838 people in Costa Rica reported that those who consumed ALA had a 39% lower risk of heart attack than those who consumed the least. According to the researchers, it is necessary to take approximately 8 grams of ALA per day to minimize the risk of heart attack.
Eating about 30 grams of chia seeds per day can lower blood pressure by 3-6 mm Hg in people with diabetes and 11 mm Hg in people with high blood pressure. Similarly, consuming about 30 grams of flaxseed per day can lower blood pressure by 7-10 mm Hg and high blood pressure by up to 15 mm Hg.
Studies show that diets enriched in flaxseed “bad” has shown that it reduces LDL cholesterol levels by 18% and triglyceride levels by up to 11%. However, since chia seeds contain only slightly less ALA than flax seeds, they can be expected to have similar effects.
It is worth noting that due to its high omega-3 content, both flax and chia can have blood-thinning effects. I recommend that you consume these seeds under dietitian control.
Flaxseed may be more effective at reducing appetite
Chia seeds and flax seeds are excellent sources of fiber that can help reduce hunger and appetite. However, they contain different levels of soluble fiber, which is a particularly effective type in reducing hunger and controlling appetite. Soluble fiber tends to be sticky when mixed with water, slows digestion and increases the feeling of fullness. This type of fiber is also known to trigger hormones that control hunger and reduce appetite.
40% of flax fibers are soluble. In contrast, only 5% of the total fiber in chia is soluble. Therefore, flaxseed may be slightly more effective than chia seeds in reducing hunger and appetite. In general, both flaxseed and chia seeds seem to reduce hunger and appetite. However, due to its higher soluble fiber content, flaxseed may be slightly more effective in doing so. However, more studies are needed that directly compare the two.
How to eat chia and flax seeds
Both flax and chia seeds are incredibly versatile and very easy to incorporate into nutrition. Both are relatively soft, so you can add them to almost anything.
You can sprinkle it on yogurt or add it to smoothies, porridge or bakery products. Both can increase the consistency of sauces, and can be used in place of eggs in many recipes.
Regarding how much to consume per day, most of the benefits listed above have been seen with 1-2 tablespoons (10-20 grams) of seeds per day. Due to the high oil content, both types of seeds should not be stored for a long time in the refrigerator or freezer.
Chia and flaxseed are also very nutritious. Both offer similar benefits for heart health, blood sugar levels, and digestion. However, flaxseed seems to have a slight advantage in reducing hunger and appetite, as well as reducing the risk of some cancer. In addition, they are usually cheaper. However, after all, the differences between the two seeds are small. Both flaxseed and chia seeds make a great addition to your diet.
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