Chia Seeds Vs. Hemp Seeds: SPICEography Showdown
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Chia seeds and hemp seeds are often listed alongside flax seeds as superfoods. If you are trying to choose between them, you will need to consider what each has to offer. Our chia seeds vs. hemp seeds SPICEography Showdown will show you how the two seeds compare to each other. Let’s break things down.
How are chia seeds and hemp seeds different?
The obvious difference between chia and hemp seeds is the fact that they come from two unrelated plants. They have different appearances and are used differently. Hemp seeds are larger, golden brown, and have an oval shape while chia seeds are small and speckled but mostly black. You also use them differently. To get the most from chia seeds, you will need to soak them. Chia seeds are mucilaginous, which means that they contain a soluble fiber that becomes gelatinous when it comes into contact with water. Mucilage is great for improving the speed at which food passes through the bowels as well as for reducing cholesterol in the blood. Chia seeds are rich in several minerals including calcium and phosphorus.
Hemp seeds contain more than twice the amount of chia seeds’ protein in the same serving size; however, you will not get as much fiber. Hemp seeds are not mucilaginous. They also have iron, which you won’t find in chia seeds but they lack the chia seeds’ calcium. Both seeds provide zinc, but hemp seeds provide much more of it.
Both types of seeds are good sources of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, but chia seeds contain a lot more of the omega 3 acids while hemp seeds contain more of the omega 6 fatty acids.
Chia seeds have a mildly nutty flavor that is similar to the extremely mild flavor of poppy seeds. When used in small amounts, the flavor is almost undetectable; however, they are dense with an intense crunch like poppy seeds. Note that the crunch only lasts as long as it takes for the seeds to absorb water. When they are placed in contact with water, they quickly become soft. Hemp seeds have a nutty taste with earthy notes that makes their taste similar to that of sunflower seeds.
Can you use chia seeds as substitutes for hemp seeds and vice versa?
From a nutritional standpoint, both seeds are good for you even though they each have their own distinct nutritional profile. The fact that they differ in terms of size, appearance and texture means that may not work well in all the same dishes. For example, chia seeds are often used as vegan egg substitutes. They are soaked in water so that they release their mucilage. They can then be added to any baked goods that require a binder. Because hemp seeds are not mucilaginous, they cannot replace chia seeds in vegan recipes since they will not help to bind ingredients.
Hemp seeds are often added to dishes to provide a crunchy texture. They can be sprinkled over oatmeal or salads like sunflower seeds or pine nuts. While chia seeds can be used in salads, they should be consumed quickly as they will soften as soon as they absorb moisture. That ability to soak up moisture and to get soft makes them unsuitable for providing a crunchy texture to wet foods like oatmeal.
When should you use chia seeds and when should you use hemp seeds?
Use chia seeds if you need to replace eggs in baked goods or if you need a poppy seed substitute. You can use them to top bread and other baked goods as you would use poppy seeds. Use hemp seeds in the same way that you would use sunflower seeds or pine nuts. Sprinkle them over vegetables or use them to top casseroles.
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Chia Seeds vs. Hemp Seeds: Which is Better For You?
Let’s talk about seeds — they’re not just for the birds. You may have heard a lot about chia seeds (yes, it’s the same thing that grows a Chia Pet); they became pretty trendy a few years ago and have remained a staple in the health food industry, often referred to as a “superfood.” Harvard Health reports that “the chia seed market is projected to reach more than 2 billion USD in sales by 2022.” More recently, hemp has come onto the scene as another healthy seed. So what are these seeds all about and what’s the difference between them? First we’ll dig a little into each seed, then we’ll pin chia seeds vs hemp seeds and explain why Rez Bars contain one over the other.
What are chia seeds?
Chia seeds are tiny little slate-colored seeds. According to Harvard Health, they come from the Salvia hispanica L. plant, which hails from Mexico and Guatemala. They are an ancient food that has been consumed for centuries. “Cultivated as a food source as early as 3500 BC, it was offered to Aztec gods in religious ceremonies,” Harvard Health reports .
Though teeny tiny, chia seeds are rich in lots of good stuff. According to Harvard Health, they are chock full of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein and calcium.
Chia seeds themselves have little to no flavor, but they are often added to smoothies, baked goods, health bars (like Rez Bars) and salads for added nutrients. When you get them wet they develop this slippery, gelatinous film around the outside of the seed. Because of this, if you soak a bunch of seeds in milk or nut milk, you can create a sort of pudding that can be flavored with honey, peanut butter, cocoa powder or any other healthy, natural flavor additive.
What are hemp seeds?
Hemp seeds come from the Cannabis sativa — yes, the marijuana plant. But you’re not going to get high at all from hemp seeds. You can get hemp seeds shelled (hulled) or unshelled (whole) — the hulled kind are white while whole ones are light brown and kind of look like lentils. Either way is fine to eat, but you’ll get more fiber (and crunch) from the whole seed. Like chia seeds, hemp seeds are a great addition to your healthy snack. They have a mild nutty flavor, but it won’t interfere with or overpower the other flavors in your smoothie or bar. They are also packed with fiber, protein and fatty acids.
Chia seeds vs. Hemp seeds
Okay, so you might be asking yourself “Chia seeds vs. hemp seeds: which is better? Because they both kind of sound the same.” And the truth is, they are very similar. Both chia seeds and hemp seeds are rich in fiber, plant-based protein, the good kind of fat (omega-3 fatty acids) and other various vitamins. But the winner for us here at Rez Bar are chia seeds simply because they have more of the good stuff than hemp seeds. They also have a milder, more pleasant flavor.
Benefits of chia seeds
So now that we have picked a side, let’s dive into what makes chia seeds vs hemp seeds so great.
Harvard Health states thet chia seeds “are the richest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids,” which have been proven to be good for your heart health. According to Harvard Health, “Chia seeds are a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids that cannot be made by the body.” Just two tablespoons of chia seeds contain “4 grams of protein, 11 grams of fiber, 7 grams of unsaturated fat, 18 percent RDA for calcium, and trace minerals including zinc and copper.” So these little guys are a super easy way to get some big nutrition into your diet.
The high fiber content (a whopping 40 percent according to Healthline ) in chia seeds is also great for digestion and “can prevent blood sugar spikes after eating a meal and promote a feeling of fullness,” the study writes. This is good news for gamers because you’ll remain full for longer, thus being able to wait longer in between meals — all without having to feel guilty about it knowing that you’ve put some good things into your body. It’s a good, healthy way to curb your food intake and possibly even lose weight.
Chia seeds are also full of antioxidants, which are anti-aging agents — gotta stay looking fresh! They are also low carb, high fiber, which is ideal if you are doing a keto diet ( a favorite for gamers ). “Fiber neither raises blood sugar nor requires insulin to be disposed of. Though it belongs to the carbohydrate family, its health effects are drastically different from those of digestible carbs like starch and sugar,” writes Healthline. Because of their high content of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and protein, Healthline reports that chia seeds are also good for your bones. As we get older, our bones naturally begin to weaken, so anything you can do to help that is good. And if you don’t eat dairy, this is one way to pack some calcium into your day.
In the matchup of chia seeds vs hemp seeds, chia seeds prevail. So the next time you wonder what those little round seeds are in your Rez Bar, know that they are the powerful superfood known as the chia seed.
The matchup between chia seeds vs hemp seeds is close, but there's one winner and Rez Bar is full of these fiber and Omega-3 powerhouse seeds.