Chia, flax or hemp. What's right for you?
If you’re into smoothies like we are, you’ve likely heard of a variety of super seeds that you can add to your blends. Chia, flax and hemp, are the most common ones you'll come across in smoothie recipes but why are they good for you? We break down the benefits of these three super seeds, what they have in common and what makes them different.
First and foremost, chia seeds are an excellent source of fibre. One tablespoon of chia seeds contains close to 5 grams of fibre, more specifically, soluble fibre, which helps lower cholesterol and keeps you feeling full for longer. This is a great way to get you from your morning smoothie to lunch as your body takes longer to "work through" this. It also contains a modest 2 grams of protein, an added benefit if you aren’t supplementing with a protein powder.
Unlike chia seeds, hemp seeds have very little fibre content but they do contain about 3.5 grams of protein per tablespoon, 75% more than chia. Another difference between chia and hemp seeds is the content of polyunsaturated fats, “good fats”, in the form of omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids. While chia seeds contain primarily omega-3 (1900 mg per tablespoon), hemp seeds contain primarily omega-6 (2500 mg per tablespoon).
Flax seeds contain slightly less protein and fibre than chia seeds at 2 and 3 grams, respectively, but they do contain higher omega-3s at about 2400 mg per tablespoon and are a, generally, less expensive option. They are available either whole or ground so we prefer them ground because they are easier for your stomach to digest and because they stir in more easily to smoothies after blending.
So what’s our conclusion?
Like with most things nutrition, variety and balance is key. That’s why we suggest incorporating all three of these super seeds into your diet, whether in your smoothies or anything else. They each contain varied and important benefits and, once you start using them, you’ll quickly realize how easily (and tastefully!) they can be added to a wide range of your favorite meals.