Which Are Better: Chia Seeds or Flax Seeds?

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“Which are Better: Chia Seeds or Flax Seeds?” We’ve been eating chia seeds
for more than 5,000 years. Historically, one of the main crops
grown in the Western hemisphere. They’re exceptionally high in
fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, though like flax seeds, it’s
better to grind them up. Even eating two tablespoons of whole
chia seeds every day for 10 weeks led to no change
in omega-3 levels, but the same amount of ground chia
seeds did lead to a significant increase in blood levels of both short-chain
and long-chain omega 3s. But there appeared to be no influence
on inflammation or disease risk factors. No change in body fat, blood sugar,
cholesterol, blood pressure, C-reactive protein, or any of
the other markers of inflammation.

An earlier study had purported
to show a significant reduction in C-reactive protein levels (an
indicator of systemic inflammation) compared to the control, but if you look
at the data that’s only because there was a significant worsening
in the placebo group that was given a couple tablespoons
of wheat bran a day instead. So it’s not that the chia group
got significantly better; the control group just
got significantly worse. Whenever researchers appear
to be exaggerating their results, it’s always a red flag to
check their funding source, but they didn’t disclose
any conflicts of interest. Five years later though,
the truth came out. The study was indeed
funded by a chia company. Furthermore, the lead
investigator had filed a patent to use chia seeds
to treat diseases. Why didn’t they disclose this? Because the journal’s
conflict-of-interest policy evidently didn’t specifically require
the disclosure of such information.

Anyways, the patent has
since been abandoned, likely because subsequent studies found
no significant benefits for weight loss, blood sugar, cholesterol, blood
pressure, or inflammation after eating a quarter cup of chia
seeds a day for three months. The original study did show a
a significant drop in blood pressure, which was replicated
by other researchers, though not as potent
an effect as ground flax seed. The primary reason I prefer flax
seeds over chia seeds, though, is their lignan content, averaging
about 15 times more than other seeds including sesame and chia
seeds thought to explain the anti-cancer effects of flax seeds
for both prevention and survival.

Chia seeds are certainly better
than eggs and oil, though. By mixing one part chia seeds and
9 parts water and let it sit, you can create a chia gel that can be used
as an egg or oil replacer in baked goods…


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