Chia or flax: Which is better for your health?
Thursday, May 28, 2020
Acai, blueberries, hemp, moringa, cacao, maca, alfalfa...the list goes on and on. It can be difficult to decipher which superfoods you should be investing in with so many on the market. Let’s tackle chia and flax and decide which one is better for you.
Chia seeds come from the Salvia hispanica plant. This plant is part of the mint family, and it’s native to Central America. Most people recognize chia seeds as the brown, white, or black dots that triple in size and soften as they absorb liquid.
Chia seeds are packed with important nutrients. In a one ounce serving, you’ll find fiber, protein, omega-3 fats, calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, zinc, potassium, and B-vitamins.
In fact, in just a single, one-ounce serving of chia, you can meet approximately 30% of the recommended daily intake of manganese, magnesium, and phosphorous.
Many studies have looked at the benefits of chia. One study published in the journal of Plant Foods for Human Nutrition found chia flour to be an effective way to reduce blood pressure.
Another study published in Nutrition Research and Practice demonstrated chia stimulates satiety. So, those looking to cut calories could probably benefit from eating chia.
Of course, these aren’t the only benefits associated with chia. The Mayans and Aztecs ate chia to give them energy.
Popular ways to eat chia include putting chia on yogurt, adding chia to smoothies, and making chia pudding. Making chia pudding can be as simple as adding chia and syrup to almond milk and letting it sit in the fridge for eight hours. Enjoy chia ground to get the most out of what these seeds offer.
Flaxseeds contain omega-3 fats, B-vitamins, calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, and fiber.
Flaxseeds are also a significant source of lignans — plant compounds with anti-cancer properties.
The benefits of flaxseed abound — from weight loss and help for sensitive skin to hypertension and inflammation, flax can help.
A study published in Obesity Reviews conducted a meta-analysis on flaxseed consumption and weight loss. They found that flaxseed consumption had a positive effect on weight loss and waist circumference. The authors concluded that whole flaxseeds assist with weight management and can be particularly beneficial for overweight and obese people.
Research published in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology showed that flaxseed oil improved skin sensitivity and appearance. Smoothness and hydration were positively affected by flaxseed oil.
Hypertension published a study showing promising results for flaxseed as a way to lower blood pressure. The study observed 110 patients using a prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial design. Participants ate various foods containing 30 grams of milled flaxseeds or a placebo every day for six months.
Plasma omega-3 fatty acid levels increased in the flaxseed group. The flaxseed group’s systolic and diastolic blood pressure were also 10 mm Hg and 7 mm Hg lower, respectively, at the end of the study, compared to the blood pressures in the placebo group.
Flaxseed even helps fight against natural signs of aging. A study published in Experimental Gerontology showed that flaxseed could disrupt changes associated with inflammation and aging.
Both ground and whole flaxseeds are easily added to yogurt, smoothies, and baked goods. Though, it may be easier to add ground flaxseed to smoothies depending on the strength of your blender. You’ll enjoy more of the benefits of flaxseeds by consuming them ground.
Chia and flax both confer a wide range of health benefits. Flaxseed has more bang for your buck when it comes to getting omega-3s, but chia has the advantage if you’re looking to consume fiber.
Nevertheless, flaxseed may be the overall winner because of its additional effects as an anti-cancer agent and appetite suppressant. Plus, flaxseed is almost always cheaper than chia seeds.
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