Food and Nutrition
Food and Nutrition
Food and Nutrition
Food and Nutrition

Flax Seeds vs Hemp Seeds (Best for Nutrition Benefits)

Jump to RecipeFlax seeds next to hemp seeds.

When looking to boost your nutrition and healthy eating habits, you may look into adding new foods to your diet. Flax seed and hemp seeds are both talked about often as a great addition to your meals. They both are great options for boosting your nutritional intake. When looking into adding it to your diet which one should you choose?

All About Flax Seed

Flaxseed, also known as linseed, is a small, brown or golden-colored seed that comes from the flax plant (Linum usitatissimum). It has been used for centuries as a traditional food and remedy. Flaxseed is known for its nutritional benefits and is often considered a superfood.

Flaxseed comes in different forms, but is often consumed as flaxseed meal or ground flaxseed.

All About Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds, also known as hemp hearts, are the seeds of the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa). They are highly nutritious and have gained popularity due to their health benefits and versatility in cooking.

Hemp seeds are small, oval-shaped, and have a soft texture with a nutty flavor. They are a rich source of protein, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

You will often consume hemp seeds as hulled hemp seeds or hemp hearts vs the whole form. Hemp seeds have the tough outer shell removed so they are easier to eat.

Health Benefits for Flax Seed and Hemp Seeds

Flaxseed is a rich source of dietary fiber, omega-3 essential fatty acids, lignans, and other essential nutrients. It contains both soluble and insoluble fibers, which can help promote digestive health and regulate bowel movements. The omega-3 fatty acids found in flaxseed, particularly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), are essential for the body and have been associated with various health benefits, including heart health and inflammation reduction.

Lignans, a type of phytoestrogen, are present in high amounts in flaxseed. These compounds have antioxidant properties and may have potential health benefits, such as reducing the risk of certain cancers, improving cholesterol levels, and supporting hormonal balance.

I first learned about the health benefits of flaxseeds from the book: How Not to Die. In this book it talks about eating flaxseed everyday to get all the benefits this superfood has to offer.

With that being said, hemp seeds are also very healthy for you. The health benefits of hemp seeds include a rich source of protein, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Hemp seeds are considered a complete protein source, meaning they provide all nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own. They are especially beneficial for vegetarians, vegans, and individuals looking to increase their protein intake.

Just like flax seeds, hemp seed contain many healthy fats and essential fatty acids. They are abundant in polyunsaturated fats, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats in hemp seeds is considered optimal for overall health. These fatty acids play a vital role in brain function, heart health, and reducing inflammation in the body.

Hemp seeds also contain both soluble and insoluble fiber and many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.

Pile of flaxseeds.

Nutrition Facts For Flaxseed

2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed meal

  • 70 calories
  • 4.5g fat
  • 3g protein
  • 3g fiber
  • 6% daily iron

Nutrition Facts for Hemp Seeds

2 tablespoons of hemp seeds

  • 120 calories
  • 5g fat
  • 6.5g protein
  • 1g fiber
  • 12% daily iron
Close up of hemp seeds.

Where to Find Hemp and Flax Seeds?

Flaxseed can be consumed in different forms, including whole flax seeds, ground seeds (flaxseed meal), or as flaxseed oil. Whole flaxseeds have a hard outer shell that makes them difficult to digest, so grinding or crushing them before consumption is recommended to enhance their nutritional value and absorption.

Hemp seeds are similar and typically consumed as hulled help seeds or hemp seeds without the hard outer shell.

How to Use Flax and Hemp Seeds?

Flaxseed can be added to various foods, such as smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, baked goods, and salads. It's important to note that while flaxseed is generally safe for most people, it may interact with certain medications, so it's advisable to consult a healthcare professional if you have any concerns or are taking any medications.

Another way I use flaxseeds are to make a flax egg. This is a common thing to make when baking vegan baked goods. Just mix 1 tbsp of flaxseed meal with 2.5 tbsp of water. Let it sit for 5 minutes and it will thicken and get sticky, resembling an egg. I have used flax seed eggs in these Chocolate Chip Pancakes, this Blueberry Baked Oatmeal, and in these Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Hemp seeds can be enjoyed in many ways. They can be eaten raw, toasted, or roasted as a snack. They are also commonly used as an ingredient in smoothies, salads, granola bars, cereals, and baked goods. Additionally, hemp seed oil can be extracted from the seeds and used for cooking or as a salad dressing. I often add some hulled hemp seeds to the top of my salads.

Is there a better option of the 2?

In terms of nutrition, both flax seed and hemp seeds are a great option so I don't think you can go wrong. If you are looking to improve your overall healthy lifestyle then try to add both to your diet. If you are looking for something to add in extra protein I think hemp seeds are a great choice since they have a larger amount of protein with about double the grams of protein with what you would find in flax seeds. If you are looking to help your gut and improve your digestive tract, flax seeds contain more fiber with 3 grams of fiber per 2 tbsp vs 1 with hemp seeds.

Other seed you might like

There are major health benefits from all different types of seeds. You can even find super seeds in a blend to add to your breads or smoothies. Seeds such as sunflower seeds and sesame seeds also have similar health benefits. Chia seeds are also commonly used nutritious seeds. They are tiny seeds and just 2 tablespoon of chia seeds have 4 grams of protein and a good amount of calcium, fiber, and iron.

No matter which option you go with, adding some seeds to your diet is an easy and effective way to boost your vitamin and mineral intake.

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