Flax Seeds Vs. Chia Seeds: Is There a Winner?

When considering including seeds in your diet, it's best to combine several different kinds to ensure a complete supply of nutrients. Learn about the benefits in this article.
Flax Seeds Vs. Chia Seeds: Is There a Winner?

Last update: 23 January, 2021

Are flax seeds or chia seeds healthier for the body?

To answer this question, first, we need to take a look at what seeds are. Seeds are a type of food that has been introduced to many diets recently, revolutionizing nutrition. Within the context of a balanced diet, they have the ability to positively impact the body’s functioning.

We’re going to teach you the differences between today’s two most well-known seeds: chia and flax. Both can be used in nearly the same situations. However, you can always combine them to achieve a higher nutritional content.

Noticeable differences between flax seeds and chia seeds

Flax seeds and chia seeds have some differences that can be seen with the naked eye.

Flax seeds are larger and lighter in color. Chia seeds are black, while flax seeds are brown. Their flavor also differs, although in both cases we’re talking about bland foods. From an organoleptic point of view, their texture makes them stand out.

Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that chia seeds have the ability to expand when they come into contact with water. This is something that flax seeds cannot do. It increases their culinary versatility since it’s possible to make puddings or smoothies with them.

However, flax seeds are more appropriate for adding to dairy products like yogurt or kefir.

What’s their nutritional value?

Flax seeds stand out due to their high caloric content. They’re able to provide 534 kilocalories per 100 grams of seeds. The main macronutrient they supply is fat, and their protein content is also notable.

They’re low in sugar and contain a significant amount of fiber. When it comes to micronutrients, they contain high quantities of calcium, iron, and magnesium, as well as low amounts of vitamin C.

As for chia seeds, they contain fewer calories. They provide 486 kilocalories per 100 grams of seeds. Chia also stands out for containing high quantities of lipids, which are nearly all unsaturated.

Like flax seeds, the proteins found inside chia seeds are of low biological value. Even so, they contain 17 grams of protein per 100 grams of the food. Their fiber content is also significant, and chia seeds contain even more fiber than flax seeds. Lastly, they provide vitamin A and vitamin C.

Eating seeds provides significant quantities of many important nutrients.
Seeds have recently become popular in nutrition, and have revolutionized many dietary guidelines. Their properties make them ideal for frequent incorporation into the diet.

Main benefits of flax seeds and chia seeds

Regularly consuming seeds provides several benefits for health. Below, we’ll outline them.

Improved cardiovascular function

The first benefit is a decreased risk for cardiovascular problems, due to their content of omega-3 fatty acids. This fact is demonstrated in a study published in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 

Reduced constipation

On the other hand, we should point out that regular consumption of fiber can improve the digestive system’s functioning. Studies have shown that eating fiber reduces constipation, and can even lower the occurrence of certain types of tumors, such as colorectal tumors. Additionally, it has a satiating effect, which makes us feel fuller and have fewer food cravings.

More efficient oxygenation of cells

We should mention that consuming iron has a positive effect on the blood’s ability to carry oxygen. There is evidence that regularly ingesting this mineral decreases the occurrence of anemia. However, iron is absorbed better when it’s consumed in combination with vitamin C.

Chia seeds are darker in color than flax seeds.
Chia seeds possess a higher nutritional density than flax seeds, although they can be incorporated together in the diet.

How can I include them in my diet?

The best option for including seeds in the diet is by preparing smoothies and salads. They can also be added to yogurt, thereby enriching the recipe.

With chia seeds in particular, it’s possible to prepare puddings with them very easily. Thus, an attractive texture is created, and the flavor will depend on the other ingredients you add. Some people even make chia water using several ingredients to drink while fasting. It has large amounts of antioxidants.

They go well with dried fruits in yogurt or kefir. In this way, the final result is a food that is very complete from a nutritional standpoint. Their protein content is significant, as well as micronutrients.

Flax seeds and chia seeds: Both beneficial foods

Flax seeds and chia seeds are both beneficial to our health.

However, if we had to choose one, we’d go with chia seeds. Firstly, because they have a lower caloric content and larger quantities of micronutrients. Secondly, they have more culinary applications.

In any case, the best recommendation is to combine them and consume them regularly to take advantage of all of their beneficial effects. You should always include them within the context of a healthy diet.

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  • Abdelhamid AS., Brown TJ., Brainard JS., Biswas P., et al., Omega 3 fatty acids for the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2018.
  • Christodoulides S., Dimidi E., Fragkos KC., Farmer AD., et al., Systematic review with meta analysis: effect of fibre supplementation on chronic idiopathic constipation in adutls. Aliment Pharmacol Ther, 2016. 44 (2): 103-16.
  • Wang M., Iron deficiency and other types of anemia in infants and children. Am Fam Physician, 2016. 93 (4): 270-8.