Chia Seeds or Hemp Seeds: Which Is Better?


Chia and hemp seeds are great dietary additions, but if you had to buy only one, which one would you choose? It makes more sense to select the seeds with the most benefits. Therefore, which one is better, chia seeds or hemp seeds?

Chia seeds are a better choice if you need calcium and fiber, whereas hemp seeds provide more protein, potassium and zinc. Both seeds have omega-3s and are easy to incorporate into your diet. Since they each have a beneficial but diverse nutritional makeup, which is better will be based on your dietary needs. 

This post will take a look at the various factors to consider before deciding between these two super seeds. I’ll also discuss the various nutritional benefits they provide and how to incorporate them into your diet.

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Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Are Chia Seeds and Hemp Seeds the Same?

Chia seeds and hemp seeds are not the same. They come from different plants and offer different nutritional benefits. Chia and hemp seeds are similar, however, as both are super seeds, low in calories and make great additions in various recipes.

A super seed is a seed with a high level of vitamins and nutrients 1. Chia, hemp, flax, sunflower, poppy, quinoa and pumpkin seeds are all super seeds. As a general rule, super seeds are low in carbohydrates and include B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc. 

The Nutritional Values Of Chia Seeds and Hemp Seeds:

  Chia Seeds
(3 Tbsp)
Hemp Seeds
(3 Tbsp)
Calories 146 166
Fat 9.2 g 15.0 g
Carbohydrates 13.0 g 2.6 g
Protein 5.0 g 9.5 g
Fiber 10 g 1.2 g
Calcium 189.30 mg 21.00 mg
Potassium 122.10 mg 360.00 mg
Zinc 1.37 mg 2.97 mg
Magnesium 100.50 mg 210.00 mg
Iron 2.32 mg 2.38 mg
Omega-3 5.35 g 2.61 g

Chia seeds were initially used in Central and South America as a medicinal food 2. They are higher in calcium and fiber than hemp seeds 3.

In one tablespoon, chia seeds contain 58 calories, 4.1g (0.14 oz) of fiber, and 5.8% daily calcium (based on a 2,000 calorie diet). They also contain selenium and potassium 4. 

Hemp seeds have had a controversial past, especially in Canada and the United States. Both countries had a ban on hemp seeds in the early 20th century, which has since been lifted.

Hemp seeds 5 are higher in protein and zinc than chia seeds. In one tablespoon, hemp seeds contain 55 calories, 3.2g (0.11) of protein, and 12% daily zinc (based on a 2,000 calorie diet). They also contain iron and manganese.

Smoothie Tip: Add chia, hemp or ground flaxseed. Also, adding frozen fruit, instead of ice, enhances the flavor and nutrient content. The secret to an easy smoothie with frozen items is having a blender powerful enough to handle the workload.

The blender I recommend has a 6 blade, multi-tiered blade, check it out and the current price on Amazon, Nutri Ninja BL685 with Auto-iQ Technology

easy to make smoothies
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Benefits of Chia and Hemp Seeds

While some people are aware of chia seeds, many are not with hemp seeds. A common question asked by clients is, are chia and hemp seeds good for you?

Chia and hemp seeds are good for you because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. They both offer antioxidant properties which are shown in studies for preventing chronic illnesses.

The following are benefits of chia and hemp seeds 6.

Rich in Omega-3s

Omega-3s are essential to consume. They contain three fatty acids the human body cannot produce on its own (EPA, DHA, and ALA).

Omega-3s serve many purposes; they reduce inflammation, help prevent heart disease and stroke, bind receptors in cells and a few other purposes. Both chia and hemp seeds are good sources of omega-3s 7. They’re especially great for vegans.

Typically, you’ll find omega-3s from fish/fish oil supplements. One ounce of chia seeds contains 5 grams of omega-3s. An ounce of hemp seeds contains 6 grams of omega-3s. 

Heart-Healthy Antioxidants

Chia seeds contain caffeic acid, quercetin, chlorogenic acid, myricetin and kaempferol. These antioxidants have anti-carcinogenic properties and aid in heart health 8.

As for hemp seeds, they contain phytosterols, phenolic compounds and tocopherols. These specific antioxidants help in reducing the risk of chronic illnesses 9.

Inflammation Reduction

Both super seeds have been linked to a reduction in inflammation throughout the body 10. This is due to the presence of the fatty acid ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) in both seeds.

ALA may cause a reduction in the risk of heart disease and blood clots. ALA is one of the three omega-3 fatty acids.

How To Incorporate Chia Seeds Into Your Diet

  • Use chia seeds as an egg replacement. When chia seeds are soaked in water, they form a gelatinous texture sometimes used to replace eggs in vegan recipes. One tablespoon of chia seeds mixed with 2.5 tablespoons of water is the equivalent of one egg. This substitute is used primarily in baking recipes. 
  • Add chia seeds to your smoothies. Adding chia seeds to smoothies is an excellent way to include the superfood in your diet. Add the amount you’d like into any flavor of the smoothie and enjoy. 
  • Make raw chia as toppings. Putting chia seeds on oatmeal or an açai bowl is a delicious way to eat them. Mixing them in with honey or granola topping can make a healthy, tasty treat. 

How To Incorporate Hemp Seeds Into Your Diet

  • Include hemp seeds in your recipes. Hemp seeds can be put in almost every recipe. Adding the nutrient-dense seed into your meals can add the dietary boost you’re looking for in your routine. 
  • Use them as toppings. Similar to chia seeds, hemp seeds can also be a topping on yogurt, salads, cereal and more 11. 
  • Blend hemp seed to make vegan milk replacement. Hemp milk is an option for vegan milk. It contains all essential amino acids and is a complete protein. To make your own, all you’ll need are hulled hemp seeds, water, dates, vanilla extract and a blender. 

How about if you wanted to use both of them together in the same recipe? Many people ask, can you eat hemp seeds and chia seeds together?

Hemp seeds and chia seeds can be eaten together. Combining both seeds together improves the nutrient density and variety of the dish. Chia seeds contains more fiber while hemp seeds contain more protein. Eating them together provides your body with a good number of both nutrients instead of lacking in one. 

Chia seeds can be substituted for hemp seeds and hemp seeds can be substituted for chia seeds. Both seeds are interchangeable in recipes and dishes. Hemp seeds and chia seeds are both plant based, gluten free and offer a similar texture and crunch.

Which are more expensive, hemp seeds or chia seeds? Hemp seeds are more expensive than chia seeds. Hemp seeds cost about $12 per pound while chia seeds costs about $10 per pound. 

Are Chia Seeds and Hemp Seeds Gluten Free?

Is Chia Seed Good For Celiac Disease?

Chia seeds are good for celiac disease because they are gluten free. Chia seeds can be added to many recipes helping gluten-tolerant people get the fiber and nutrients needed. Some chia seeds may be cross-contaminated with gluten, therefore, always check the manufacturer’s label to ensure the product is gluten free.

Are Hemp Seeds Gluten Free?

Hemp seeds are gluten free. Hemp seeds can be added to many recipes helping gluten-tolerant people consume the protein and nutrients needed. Some hemp seeds may be cross-contaminated with gluten, therefore, always check the manufacturer’s label to ensure the product is gluten free.

Both chia and hemp, like many other grain products, are often grown with other crops containing gluten like wheat. Therefore, always check the manufacturer’s label to ensure their seeds are not cross-contaminated with gluten.

Avoid seeds without any gluten information on the label or ones which state they can’t guarantee they meet gluten free standards.

How To Store Chia and Hemp Seeds

Chia and hemp seeds can be stored in the pantry, fridge or freezer. They should be kept in an airtight container away from moisture. If at any time your seeds have a rancid smell, toss them out immediately.

In addition, it’s recommended the seeds are stored in a dark place. Too much exposure to sunlight is known to cause many dry goods to go rancid. If storing the seeds in the pantry, always follow expiration dates labeled on the package.

If you buy chia or hemp seeds in bulk and no expiration is given, a good rule of thumb is the seeds can be kept for around two years in the pantry if stored properly.

FAQs

Do Hemp Seeds Contain THC?

Hemp seeds contain trace amounts of THC. This trace amount is not enough to make you high or show up in a drug test. While hemp seeds do come from cannabis plants, the seeds are not the part of the plant where THC is located. 

Can Chia Seeds Help You Lose Weight?

Chia seeds won’t help you lose weight as they don’t directly burn fat cells. However, the nutrient-dense seed can help curb appetite and prevent overeating. The chia seeds expand slightly in the stomach and help slow the absorption of food, keeping you full for longer. 

Can Chia Seeds Be Eaten Raw?

Many dieticians recommend eating chia seeds raw. Cooking chia seeds could take away some of the nutrients from the seeds. This is because of the heat during the cooking process. To reap the most benefits from chia seeds, consume them raw.

Read Next – More Food vs Food Articles!

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Ground Flaxseed vs Flaxseed Meal: The Differences

Organic Eggs Vs Pasture Eggs: A Comparison

Collard Greens Vs Turnip Greens: Which is Better?  

 

Article Resources: Foods For Anti-Aging follows strict guidelines to ensure our content is the highest journalistic standard. It's our mission to provide the reader with accurate, honest and unbiased guidance. Our content relies on medical associations, research institutions, government agencies and study resources. Learn more by reading our editorial policy.
  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Chia Seeds (Salvia Hispanic): health promoting properties and therapeutic applications – a review[]
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Chia Seeds (Salvia Hispanica L.): An Overview—Phytochemical Profile, Isolation Methods, and Application[]
  3. Nutritional Value: Chia Seeds[]
  4. National Center for Biotechnology Information: The Seed of Industrial Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.): Nutritional Quality and Potential Functionality for Human Health and Nutrition[]
  5. Nutrition Value: Hemp Seeds[]
  6. Franciscan Health: Health Benefits Of Chia, Flax And Hemp Seeds[]
  7. Dr. Sears Wellness Institute: Difference Between Flax, Chia, And Hemp Seeds[]
  8. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Nutritional and Therapeutic perspectives of Chia (salvia Hispanic L.): a review[]
  9. National Center for Biotechnology Information: The seed of industrial hemp ( Cannabis sativa L.): Nutritional Quality and Potential Functionality for Human Health and Nutrition[]
  10. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Supplementation of conventional therapy with the novel grain Salba (Salvia hispanica L.) improves major and emerging cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes: results of a randomized controlled trial[]
  11. University of Georgia: Getting the Skinny on Chia & Flax Seeds[]

Kevin Garce

Kevin Garce is a Certified Health Coach who encourages people by informing them on nutrition and food topics important to them. His years of research and knowledge inspire people to achieve their goals. Read more here About Me

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