Hemp Seeds Vs Chia Seeds Vs Flax Seeds
Hemp seeds, chia seeds, and flax seeds are all incredible for your health and are all considered superfoods.
When including superfoods into your diet, it can be difficult to know which one would be best for you, as there are so many catch-phrases and nutritional benefits to look for.
The three seeds in question, hemp, chia, and flax, all have their own nutritional benefits and health properties that make them unique in their own way.
What is the difference between hemp seeds, chia seeds, and flax seeds, and which is better for you? Each of these seeds serves different functions and can be highly beneficial to anyone’s diet. Hemp has the highest protein content out of the three and has a good amount of zinc, flax provides the highest content of ALA and has the best ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, and chia seeds have the highest content of fiber and calcium.
Keep reading to find out the differences between hemp seeds, chia seeds, and flax seeds, and the benefits of each!
Hemp seeds, or hemp hearts, come from industrial hemp which is a specific strain of cannabis. While coming from cannabis, hemp seeds only contain around 0.3% of THC.
Naturally, there has been quite a bit of controversy around hemp seeds, considering where they come from.
Hemp seeds were previously banned or limited in Canada and the United States, but these bans have since been lifted and everyone can enjoy the nutritional benefits that hemp seeds have to offer!
To help you understand why hemp seeds are so popular as a superfood, here are some of their great benefits:
High In Protein
Hemp seeds are high in protein and can provide roughly 7g of protein per 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds. They also contain all types of essential amino acids, which make them a plant-based complete protein.
High In Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Hemp hearts contain a good balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (and those in between). 1 tablespoon of hemp seeds can contain as much as 0.2g of omega-3 fatty acids.
High In Minerals
Hemp seeds contain a good amount of different minerals, such as magnesium and zinc, and different phytochemicals.
Hemp Seeds Makeup
Hemp seeds are made up of the following:
- 20%-30% carbohydrates
- 20%-25% protein
- 10%-15% insoluble fiber
- 25%-35% fat
As well as being high in protein and fiber, hemp seeds also contain the following essential nutrients:
Here is a nutritional breakdown of hemp seeds:
|Nutritional Content||Per 10g|
|Omega 3 (grams)||0.9|
|Omega 6 (grams)||2.9|
Hemp seeds can easily become a part of your daily diet, with just 3 tablespoons of hemp seeds having the same protein as two eggs. To include hemp seeds into your diet, you can add some to oatmeal, yogurts, salads, stir-fries, and more!
Chia seeds have been around for quite some time and were additionally used for medicinal purposes. However, chia seeds have now become a very popular superfood that many people choose to include in their daily diet
These are the great benefits of chia seeds:
High In Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, just containing a little less compared to flaxseed, but higher than most other options.
Per 1 tablespoon of chia, there is around 1.9g of omega-3 fatty acid.
High In Vitamins And Minerals
Chia seeds are a great source of vitamins, trace minerals, plant protein, phytochemicals, and essential fatty acids.
Just 2 tablespoons of chia seeds contain 142mg of calcium and 3.3mg of iron, which is a large amount for such a small serving of chia seeds.
High In Soluble Fiber
Chia seeds are high in soluble fiber and contain about 8g of soluble fiber per 2 tablespoons of chia seeds. This can help to lower systolic blood pressure and improve glycemic control.
Chia Seed Makeup
Chia seeds are made up of the following:
- 35% carbohydrate
- 53% fat
- 12% protein
Not only are chia seeds high in antioxidants, but they contain a good amount of the following as well:
Here is the nutritional breakdown of chia seeds:
|Nutritional Content||Per 11g|
|Omega 3 (grams)||2.0|
|Omega 6 (grams)||0.6|
Chia seeds are a favorite to be added to oats, smoothies, and even drinks. They are also great to use to make energy balls and can be baked into cookies too!
Flax seeds are another superfood that has been around for quite a long time, and have even been backdated to ancient Greece where it was consumed for its health benefits!
It is believed that flax seeds contain the most nutritional benefits for human health of all similar options and can really be such a benefit added to just about any diet.
The benefits of flax seed are quite incredible:
High In Omega-3 Fatty Acid
Flax seed contains the best omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, around 4:1. One tablespoon of ground flax seed contains around 2.4g of omega-3 fatty acid.
Blood Sugar Management
It is believed that flax seed helps to improve glycemic control, which can be due to the high fiber content, which is mostly soluble fiber.
The best way to get the most of the nutrients flax seed has to offer, such as phytonutrients, is to grind the flax seeds first.
Flax Seed Makeup
Flax seed is made up of the following:
- 20% protein
- 41% fat
- 28% fiber
Flax seeds have a great ratio between omega-6 to omega-3, as well as the following:
- Vitamin E
This is a further breakdown of flaxseed:
|Nutritional Content||Per 7g|
|Omega 3 (grams)||1.6|
|Omega 6 (grams)||0.4|
Flax seeds can be used in many different ways, and are a fairly versatile ingredient. They can be added into smoothies and oats and used to make energy balls and brownies as well.
Flax seeds can be used as-is, or they can be ground down and used as a powder, which further makes it more versatile.
Which Is Better?
Once again, it is not easy to say whether hemp seeds, chia seeds, or flax seeds are best, as it all depends on your own needs and what you are looking for from a superfood!
They are all a great choice to supply you with plant-based Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), as well as some other essential nutrients and antioxidants.
Here are some comparisons to help you better understand the difference:
- Hemp has the highest protein content and has a good amount of zinc.
- Flax provides the highest content of ALA and has the best ratio of omega-6 to omega-3.
- Chia seeds have the highest content of fiber and calcium.
All three have their own great benefits and nutritional make-ups, so it is actually a good idea to include all three into your diet if you can, to ensure you make the most of all that they have to offer!
Now that we’ve looked at hemp seeds, chia seeds, and flax seeds, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!
Can you eat hemp seeds and chia seeds at the same time?
Hemp seeds and chia seeds have their own nutritional profiles unique to them, and there is no reason you cannot mix them together in your morning oats.
You can use 1-2 teaspoons of each in your oats each morning to really reap the benefits!
Are there downsides to hemp seeds?
Hemp seeds are safe to eat as they are different from eating hemp leaves or other parts of the hemp plant, but it is believed that they can cause mild diarrhea if eaten in excess, as they have a high-fat content.
How much hemp seed should I have daily?
You do not eat to eat too many hemp seeds daily to enjoy the different health benefits.
About 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds have around 100-115 calories, so it is recommended to have around 1-2 tablespoons of hemp seed daily to follow a healthy lifestyle.
You can also mix in chia or flax seeds along with hemp seeds.