Chia Seeds Versus Flax Seeds: What’s The Big Difference?
Being in shape and staying healthy is one of the most important goals we all should pursue.
Without health, nothing else matters.
Money, power, titles.
All of that fades away if you are not healthy.
One of the ways of staying healthy is, of course, regular physical activity, like running, workout or even just walking. Whatever suits you the most. A healthy lifestyle makes you feel better and when people feel better, they are happier and more relaxed, which positively affects the health itself.
Apart from regular physical activity, it is important to have a healthy diet as well. A lot of diseases could be prevented by using the appropriate diet and choosing the food that is not just healthy, but also helps you feel better and does not negatively affect your stomach.
Therefore, a lot of people nowadays tend to use seeds to help improve their digestion and make them feel better by helping them to reduce weight.
In this text, we are going to learn something about two types of seeds, chia and flax seeds.
We will explain what they are, what are their main characteristics, what are the potential benefits they bring and what is the right way of using chia and flax seeds.
WHAT ARE CHIA AND FLAX SEEDS?
A good thing to start with would be an explanation of what exactly are chia and flax seeds.
So strap in and let us begin!
Chia seed comes from a plant called Salvia hispanica, which is better known as chia plant among the regular people.
It originates from the territory of modern Mexico and Guatemala and it is also known by the name of Salba seed.
There are a couple types of chia seed, but the most commonly known are black and white chia seeds.
Since they are a bit small, chia seeds should often be used as a whole, so you do not have to cut or open them.
On the other side, we have flax seed, which is more commonly known as linseed, which comes from the Middle East.
It is shaped differently than chia seed, by being a bit flatter and larger.
Flax seeds generally taste like a nut and they are usually brown or golden.
Both of these types of seeds can be used as an additive to a large variety of meals, so you can try both and decide which is more suitable for you if you have any doubts.
Both chia and flax seeds are very healthy and can help with a lot of health issues, as well as potentially protect you from some of the very serious widespread diseases, like some types of cancer and several cardio-vascular issues.
Apart from that, they are very good for maintaining your digestive tract healthy.
NUTRITION CHARACTERISTICS OF CHIA AND FLAX SEEDS
When selecting a type of diet you would want to have, it is very important to choose the food that contains a proper amount of nutritional values in order to keep your body and mind happy.
Therefore, if you want to choose between chia and flax seed, it would be a good idea to compare their nutritional values and decide which one is more suitable for you.
|Omega-3 acids (mg)
|Omega-6 acids (mg)
All the values listed here are per 100 g.
One thing to notice from this table of comparisons is that both chia and flax seeds contain a very good amount of nutrients, which is very useful for your health.
As for the most important acids, Omega-3, and Omega-6 acids, both chia and flax seeds do nicely, with the addition that flax seeds have a slight advantage by providing a bit more of them.
We can also note that flax seeds contain a bit more of some specific minerals, like copper, thiamine, as well as potassium.
On the other hand, chia seeds contain more minerals that are used for strengthening our bones and related bone material.
Of course, we are talking about calcium and phosphorus.
Apart from that, chia seeds have a significantly higher value on carbs and fiber, and also has a bit higher value on iron and zinc.
So, the conclusion is, that if you require more vitamins and minerals that are used for strengthening the bones and fiber, you should probably use chia seeds.
On the other hand, if your body requires a higher amount of fat, you should consider using flax seed.
WHY ARE CHIA AND FLAX SEEDS USEFUL?
There are a fair amount of potential positive effects of using the chia or flax seeds.
They can be very useful when it comes to keeping your health level on a high note.
That is why a lot of doctors recommend using these seeds, not only when people are sick, but also as a type of prevention.
If you are a person who doesn’t have any specific health issue but still wants to protect yourself from the potential diseases, you could use chia and flax seeds without a problem.
That way you will strengthen your immune system and get some really appropriate protection against a wide range of illnesses, as doctor Sten Ekberg says in his video.
That is why we have decided to list some of the most important positive effects that chia and flax seeds can produce if you use them correctly.
So strap in and let’s begin!
1. Chia and Flax Seeds Lower Heart Disease Risk
We all know how important it is to have a healthy and strong heart.
A lot of people die each year because of heart problems, which is one of the main reasons we tend to find some ways to protect the health of our heart and try to prevent some serious heart illnesses to happen.
One of the ways this could be done is by regularly using chia or flax seeds. Why exactly is that?
Let’s find out!
As previously mentioned, both chia and flax seeds contain a large amount of both omega-3 and omega-6 acids. Why is that important now, you may ask?
Well, it is because one specific type of acid, called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is based on the omega-3 fatty acid.
A couple of studies were conducted and it was debated whether ALA has some positive effect when it comes to the protection against cardiovascular illnesses.
The results showed that ALA has been responsible for the decrease in risk related to cardiovascular problems by 14%.
In some other study conducted in Costa Rica, on a sample of around 3.700 people, it was tested what is the influence of ALA when it comes to the prevention of heart attacks.
The results showed that people who were regularly using products that contain ALA as prevention actually managed to reduce the risk of getting a heart attack by 39%, which is a considerable amount, to be fair.
People who were regularly getting around 2 grams of ALA were the ones with the lowest risk of heart attack.
Other two big issues related to a heart attack are blood pressure level and cholesterol level.
They are usually very important indicators if there is any problem with heart and if those levels are actually high, the risk of getting a heart attack also increases.
When it comes to blood pressure, both types of seed have a similar effect, with the addition that flax seeds have a slight advantage and decrease the blood pressure a bit more.
By using around 30-35 g of either chia or flax seeds on a daily basis, you may lower your blood pressure by 3-10 mm Hg.
Apart from that, we have mentioned the cholesterol level. When it comes to that, the results are pretty inconclusive for the effects of chia seeds.
There were a couple of studies conducted on this topic, but none of them showed any positive effects regarding the decrease of the blood pressure.
But since chia seed offers just slightly less amount of ALA, the studies might be wrong, but that’s yet to be tested.
On the other hand, studies have shown that flax seed has a positive effect on reducing blood pressure.
The results were clear. If you incorporate flax seeds in your regular diet, you may reduce your bad cholesterol levels by 18%.
Despite chia and flax seeds may be useful in this regard, they should be used with caution and in right amount because they have one slightly negative effect.
Both chia and flax seeds can cause blood thinning, which is why you should always consult your doctor before starting to use them.
2. Chia and Flax Seeds Lower Blood Sugar
Another very spread out problem a lot of people in the world have is diabetes.
Studies have shown that diabetes and obesity are the two most common health issues that haven’t been put under control even to this date.
How could chia and flax seeds help us prevent or just reduce the risk of getting diabetes?
Chia and flax seeds have a large percentage of fiber, and the fiber is related to some studies whose results showed that it can reduce the risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
Fiber does this by balancing the speed of getting the sugar into our body. It tends to slow down the digestion of carbs and the blood absorption of sugar.
All of this produces a positive effect where the amount of sugar that enters the blood system is balanced and is absorbed gradually.
What that really means is that fiber has the role to prevent large spikes of blood sugar and to keep it stabilized in order to protect your system from getting a type 2 diabetes.
Apart from just having a preventing task, chia and flax seeds could also be used by people who already have diabetes.
Some studies show that if people who have diabetes and use around 2 tablespoons of flax seed on a daily bases could stabilize their blood sugar levels and reduce its increase by 8-20% after doing it for approximately two months.
Studies done with chia seeds gave similar results.
Chia seeds could be used to also stabilize sugar level in your blood and to lower the resistance your body shows against insulin.
Now, if you don’t want to experiment with using chia seeds in your everyday meals, you could just eat the bread rich with chia seeds instead.
It is proven to be more effective than some traditional food responsible for maintaining blood sugar level, like wheat bran, which is also used for decreasing and maintaining a normal level of hemoglobin A1C, which is very important when it comes to maintaining the required blood sugar level.
3. Flax vs Cancer
Apart from chia and flax seeds being useful when it comes to preventing heart disease and maintaining normal blood sugar level, they are known to be effective as a protection against some types of cancers, which is a very important feature.
As mentioned above, both chia and flax seeds contain a lot of fiber, which is, apart from being useful for issues we have already mentioned, also considered as a nutrient that can reduce the risk of getting cancer, more specifically, a colon or breast cancer.
Molecules that can damage cells and cause aging and lowering our system’s defenses, thus opening the door for a large number of illnesses to enter, are called free radicals.
Their number can be decreased by using antioxidants. You may wonder why are we mentioning this now?
Well, it is simple, both chia and flax seeds contain a certain amount of antioxidants, thus both being useful in this regard.
When it comes to the antioxidants level, that is where flax seeds shine.
They have around 15 times higher level of very specific antioxidant, used for fighting cancers, called lignans.
That does not mean chia seed is useless in this regard. It just means that flax is better when it comes to fighting against cancer.
A study has shown that everyday use of flax seeds may reduce the risk of getting certain types of cancer, like breast cancer, for example.
Another review, conducted with around 6.000 women, gave the same result, where the risk of getting breast cancer was reduced by 18%.
Men, do not worry, flax seed could help not just women, but you as well!
One study showed that men who were using around 30g of flax seeds on a daily basis had reduced markers for prostate cancer.
Of course, it means that the risk of getting a prostate cancer could be a bit lower, than with the men who do not use flax seed as prevention.
Despite chia seeds have a lower amount of antioxidants, they are still useful in fighting cancer, just not in the same amount as flax seeds.
It means that if you are looking for a certain type of anti-cancer food, you could still use both flax and chia seeds, combine both in different amounts and try to find the perfect food combination, see which seed goes well with certain type of food and then you could make both healthy and tasty meal, which could potentially lower the risk of getting certain types of cancer.
4. Flax vs Hunger
Another very good characteristic of fiber is that it is responsible for maintaining a normal level of appetite, as well as reducing the lust for food.
More specifically, we are talking about a soluble fiber here.
Soluble fiber does its job when it is mixed with water. When it is in that state, it becomes kind of sticky and makes us feel like we are not hungry for a longer time than usual, thus controlling our appetite level.
And it does that by triggering a specific type of hormones, whose main task is to balance our appetite and control the feeling of being hungry.
Again, the same as with antioxidants, the flax seed is a bit more effective in this regard as well. It contains around 40% of the soluble fiber, compared to only 5% found in chia seed.
So people, if you want to get thinner faster, use flax seed.
Studies were conducted about the effects of flax seeds on hunger and thirstiness.
Experimental group got food and drink, both containing around 30g of flax seeds and the results showed that they were less hungry and thirsty afterward than the people from the control group, who weren’t given the food and drink that contained the flax seeds.
As for chia seeds, a study was conducted where people got bread with different amount of chia seeds.
The results showed that people who got the bread with more chia seeds were generally less hungry afterward than those who got the food with fewer chia seeds.
There weren’t too many studies that compared both chia and flax seeds in the regard of reducing the appetite, so the conclusion is that both contribute to the decrease of appetite and control of hunger, with the addition that flax seeds are probably a bit more effective, due to the higher amount of soluble fiber.
5. Improved Digestion
A healthy body requires a good digestive system.
It helps us process all the food and other materials we use, by keeping the good ones and removing the bad ones.
If the digestion system doesn’t work properly, we may experience some unpleasant situations and side effects, like constipation and diarrhea.
That’s why it is very important to keep our digestive system healthy and both chia and flax seeds could help us with that.
Both seeds contain some amount of fiber, which can be divided into two different types of fiber: soluble and insoluble fiber.
We have already explained what soluble fiber is, that it helps us reduce the feeling of being hungry or thirsty.
Insoluble fiber has the opposite effect, we can say it acts like a laxative and helps with digestion problems.
Therefore, it is really important to have a nice balance of both soluble and insoluble fiber, as disbalance of those could create some issues like constipation or diarrhea.
HOW TO EAT CHIA AND FLAX SEEDS?
Now, for the ways to eat chia and flax seeds, there isn’t really much to say about it.
They can be used very easily with almost any type of food, due to their structure and taste.
That means you can experiment and create a perfect combination of food you like and enjoy.
For example, if you like pudding as I do, you could check out this video and make your own healthy pudding with chia and flax seeds.
This ability to experiment allows you to make some tasty and healthy snacks, that you can bring to work or school.
If you are looking for a perfect quantity to use, well, it all depends on how much you actually eat during the day.
The general opinion is that you should use around 10-20g of chia or flax seeds on a daily basis, so you can use that number as guidance.
As for the question of whether to eat them whole or crushed, it really depends on your needs and the meals you are using them with.
Generally, flax seeds are bigger and thicker than chia seeds, so they are usually used crushed, so you would be able to get all the nutrients out of them in an easier way.
When we talk about chia seeds, we can say that they are generally consumed whole, but if you crush them, you can get a bit higher amount of nutrients out of them.
And lastly, the way you should keep them is very important, in order for them not to become rancid.
That said, you should keep both chia and flax seed in a fridge or a freezer, so they would stay fresh and tasty whenever you need to use them.
That’s all folks! We have gone over the benefits of using chia and flax seeds in your regular diet.
We have seen that they are very useful when it comes to keeping our body healthy and that they could prevent some serious diseases, like cancer or diabetes.
They are generally very easy to use and are easily mixed with any type of food, which means that you don’t have to withhold from eating the food you like.
You just need to create a habit of using them, in order to keep your body healthy and strong throughout all the life circumstances.
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