Do you remember that popular tune in the 80s and 90s?  Well chia seeds are making their reappearance, not in little terra-cotta animals anymore, but in smoothies, drinks, cereals and snacks.  While chia seeds may seem like the new kid on the block compared with flaxseeds, they’ve been around for centuries.  In his book, “Born to Run,” Christopher McDougall writes about how the ancient Aztec Indians used this seed to build super running endurance.

On the other hand, flaxseeds have been on the nutritional scene for quite a while. Both chia and flax seeds offer up tough competition for being nutritionally dense.  In fact, they both rank high on my must have list of superfoods for health.  But the question I’m often asked is, “Which one is better?”

Let’s compare.



Chia and flax are very similar in their nutritional profile providing excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids and dietary fiber. The best way to choose then is to let your individual nutritional needs and preferences decide.


  • You’re looking for a good source of antioxidants and calcium.
  • You want to lose weight.  Chia seed’s fiber is called hydrophilic – meaning it can absorb about 10-12 times its own weight in water.  When the seed comes in contact with a liquid it will expand making you feel full.
  • You’re an athlete and you want to prolong hydration, retain electrolytes and fuel your body for longer periods of time –  another benefit of its absorbency power.
  • You want the convenience of consuming the seed in its whole form..
  • You prefer a mild tasting seed or like the added crunchy texture.
  • You want a chia pet (it could happen….maybe?)


  • You’re looking for a good source of copper which helps to provide healthy red blood cells.
  • You want decrease your risk of prostate and breast cancer.  Flax provide you with a rich source of lignans which may help to combat these cancers.   (Chia has some, just not as much)
  • You’re budget conscious.  Flax cost about 1/10 the price of chia.
  • You like a strong nutty taste.
  • You don’t mind the extra process of having to grind flax seeds.  Their tiny hulls are so tough that our bodies are unable to extract the nutrients from whole flaxseeds.  You can buy ground flaxseeds, but some experts say that you risk losing some of its Omega 3 essential fatty acids and other nutrients.


There are clear benefits to eating both flaxseed and chia seed.  For this busy mom, athlete and health coach, chia seeds are my preferred choice because they can eaten whole  but I also use flaxseeds.  I recommend both.  Remember, the key to a healthy and balanced diet includes variety.  You wouldn’t just pick one fruit over another to eat exclusively – would you?