Why Chia Seed Is A Healthier Option Than Flax Seed







Why Chia Seed Is A Healthier Option Than Flax Seed

Chia SeedsI’ve been talking for a while now about the benefits of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), and in particular flax, fish and evening primrose oils. But some new research is emerging on flax seed oil and its possible link to estrogen dominance, which perhaps makes it a questionable oil to consume on a regular basis.

Estrogen dominance is becoming a huge problem all over the world. We’re consuming way too many estrogens from both obvious and hidden sources which is elevating our estrogen levels by way too much. And it’s not just a female problem either, this is a problem no matter what gender you are because men naturally have the estrogen hormone too.

Before I get onto Chia seeds (which is what this article is supposed to be all about), I’d like to first talk about plastics, because plastics are the biggest culprit of all containing a lot of hidden estrogens. And unfortunately plastic is everywhere and we use so much of it everyday. It may surprise you that all plastic contains estrogens. And the more flexible the plastic the more estrogen it contains.

So if you can, store your food in glass containers, use a glass drinking bottle, and never ever heat your food in a plastic container. I was using those little plastic sandwich bags for a while to store almonds and cashews in my handbag. I’m not going to do that anymore because the flexible plastic bag contains a lot of estrogens. And if you think the estrogens cannot get into your food or liquid, think again because they can.

Why is there estrogen in my flax seed oil?

Flax SeedsFlax seed is in fact “linseed” which is what linen is made out of. Linseed contains a very high amount of plant based estrogen and phytoestrogens.

Whether or not flaxseed oil raises your natural estrogen levels is very controversial. Some say that the plant based estrogens in the oil mimic the natural estrogens in our body and therefore raise our estrogen levels. Others say that the phytoestrogens actually level out any estrogen imbalances we have in our body.

I’ve heard both differing opinions from reputable sources, so until I can decide for myself which is the truth, I’m going to stay way from flaxseed oil. So what’s the best alternative? Chia seed.

Why chia seed is so good

Chia is an ancient superfood that is very similar to flax, but without the estrogen and phytoestrogen element. It is a just as good, if not better source of EFA, so will do wonders to your health and to your skin.

Here’s a bit of trivia for you – the chia seeds were originally used by the Mayans as an energy supplement. The running messengers used to carry a little pouch of the seeds around with them. So, chia has been called the “Indian running food”.

And here are some facts for those into food. Chia seeds contain –

  • 2 times the protein of any other seed or grain
  • 5 times the calcium of milk
  • 2 times the amount of potassium as bananas
  • 3 times more iron than spinach
  • and of course, copious amounts of omega-3 and omega-6

How to use Chia in your diet

If you’re currently taking a flax supplement then you can just replace it with a chia supplement if you want. Or you can choose to use raw chia in your cooking. Chia has a very mild, bland taste so you can easily add it to your cooking without it changing the taste. Try adding the seeds to your salad dressing or sprinkling it onto your cereal or oatmeal.

For more extensive information about the benefits of Chia, have a read of this article – The Chia Cheat Sheet

And before I finish off this article, I have to show you a retro add for the “Chia Pet”. Turns out chia seeds are also great for growing your own pets too! Check it out –

89 comments… add one

  • Bonnie Weiss

    I was very interested in the benefits of chia seeds, as I have had breast cancer and am on an arimidex to decrease the amount of estrogen in my system. However, since I have hypothyroidism and am on medication for it, I need to limit calcium for four hours after taking the medication and no iron for 12 hours after taking medication as these minerals interfere with the medication making it less effective. Probably better off without the chia seeds.

  • Molly

    Chia seeds are awesome! You’ve got to try WingFoot Iskiate Chia drink mix. It’s easy and already prepared for you. Take it wherever and pour into your water,juice, or smoothie. Check it out! chiastuff.com :)

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  • bert

    hi,
    I tried chia seeds and they seem to work well but I just cant sleep when taking them. I tried black chia first then white. I also thought it might have something to do with taking fish oil and I dropped that but still had the same results(no sleep)

  • Bee

    Would taking Maca help rebalance any potential hormonal issues that might ensure with flax/chia?

  • Debbie Bouwer

    Hi Guys and Gals
    I tried taking Flax on and off for years and each time I had Flax It felt as if I would get my period basically hormonal..I thought it was my imagination. GThank the Lord now I understand WHY. Strange how I mentioned this to health shops and health practioners and not one could shed light on this.
    I have just strated taking CHia and so far good.. althogh I did have a history of Estrogen dominance previously.
    Thanks for all the comments sooo helpful

  • Daphne

    Can I do eat Flaxseed and Chiaseed on the same day? Let’s say chia seed in the mroning and flaxseed at night. Will I overdo it?

  • joannna

    Ps. I mean ingestion of omega 6s. No injection going on! Also just to clarify, im consuming several cups of chia seeds…not several cups of chia seed drink. Probably 1\2 pound chia seeds per day. Seems excessive but then is it dangerous. Moderation is key I know but I feel no ill effects and this is week four of my chia addiction.

  • joannna

    I tried the Mamma chia drink and really liked it, but found it too expensive. I’ve since started making my own at home and find myself a bit addicted, consuming several cups per day. I figure its better than 2 quarter pounders with cheese! But im a little concerned about injection of the omega 6s. Also I still do not know what omegas are in chia seed….dha…ela. or just ala. Would be grateful for response s. Pls forgive any typos. ;}

  • Grenada

    Hi Susan, I have had same effect at you – ie when I take a tbspn of chia a day I eventually break out in painful blind pimples – I have tried stopping and starting again to test whether it is the chia, and it would appear this is the case. Perhaps reducing the amount of chia intake may reduce potential of getting pimples? I suspect it is OD of omega-3….

  • Leanne

    THANK YOU for posting the chia pets video, because I’m so confused whenever I read about chia seeds. ;)

  • Jennifer

    Read the article and comments. Wanted to add a bit of info. It’s important to cycle the seeds not for an allergy reason but hormonal. Flax and Chia support the estrogen balance during a woman’s cycle and should only be consumed for half the month along with pumpkin. Sunflower and seasame should be consumed for the rest of the month. Here are some links:

    http://aliciand.blogspot.com/2010/01/cycling-with-moon.html

    http://www.denver-nutrition.com/pdf/seed-cycle.pdf

    http://www.naturalmedclinic.com/articles/seed_rotation_plan.pdf

    Many Blessings!
    Jennifer

  • Thanks for your reply Fran. I found out a bit more about the issue with a high amount of Lignans in chia seeds and so far I know the type of lignan phytoestrogen found in Flax that is dangers is a secoisolariciresinol diglycoside (SDG) so now I’m on a hunt to find out what type of lignan is in chia. The raw food realm is indeed quite a hilarious one at times, people get a bit crazy. My particular focus is to find hormone optimization foods as I have struggled with imbalance and now work with women and young mothers who are integrating more raw foods into their lives. I find with all of the crap in our environment, often times what we eat hardly is not enough. So anyways, I found my findings on Chia to be quite interesting as I intuitively have not been using them. We’ll see what I come up with and I would be happy to share if you’re interested. We’re Young and Raw.com and Young and Raw on Fb by the way, stop by and say hello.

    *Hugs*
    Love S

  • Hey Fran, I’m curious where you got your data from. I just found an article stating that Chia seeds have more lignans then flax and lignans are are one of the major classes of phyto-estrogens also found in flax and sesame seeds. Can you comment on this? I’m curious because I don’t want to advise women with a hormonal imbalance to eat them frequently if this is the case. Checking all data point, thanks.

    *hugs*
    Love S

    • Hi Sheleana, you know what .. I find this especially within the raw food movement. Whenever one food gets super popular we find something that’s not good about it. And it’s quite possible that chia does have that problem! This article was written a long time ago after a podcast I listened to by Daniel Vitalis. I have since tried to find more “scientific” or accurate information but haven’t been able to, or maybe I’m just not persistant enough ;) x

    • Patricia

      Hi Sheleana:
      I have been enjoying this chia seed pudding for about a month or so. I use 2/3 cups of black whole chia seeds-2 cups almond milk – some honey or stevia – some raisins. This gels and I eat this within 24 hrs.as my dessert.
      I am 60 yrs. old and was wondering if you can shed some light on my concern. Is this too much chia seed in a short period of time.
      If so, what amount is acceptable?
      I have not experienced any side affects–great BM’s
      Is chia seed safer to eat than fish?
      Thanks–lots of Love
      Patricia

      • Hey Patricia,

        Well, given your age, I would say that eating foods higher in phyto-estrogens would be just fine! Assuming you have begun menopause which is a low-estrogen state, having plant-estrogens (the good ones) can actually be quite uplifting for you :) Also, they are different than fish, so not better, but offer different nutritional qualities.

        A lot of fish, the larger ones, are more polluted. I stick to salmon and that’s about it for fish.

        If I were you I wouldn’t worry about eating or giving up a food you enjoy unless you’re experiencing troubles with it, and it sounds like you’re not.

        Hope this helps xo

  • Do you think I should eat chia seeds, if I am a male? I am a recreational weight-lifter and I am concerned about suppressing my testosterone with chia. I can buy organic chia seeds here bit.ly/Chia_Seeds, but I hesitate. Please advise.

  • Ann

    When I was consuming flax seed I had two menstrual cycles each month. When I stopped taking flax my cycles returned to normal. I waited several months and started the flax again. My body reacted the same way. I tried this on 3 times and experienced the same problem. I wonder if Chia seeds may have a similar effect on my body? I recently added them to my diet(crackers) and I have had painful menstrual cramps that I did not have before consuming chia. I will stop eating them and see if the cramps change.

  • Still sounds like a hormonal imbalance. Could be blood sugar (insulin) or cortisol. Go see a Naturopathic Physician to get evaluated.
    naturopathic.org is a good place to start.

  • Karen

    I’ve had epilepsy since I was 15 years old (idiopathic) and I’m now 44. It is well controlled on medication.

    My question is about the vertigo with chia seeds. I’ve stopped taking them for 4 days now and the vertigo has stopped. Have there been any long term studies with the relationship of the chia seeds and vertigo?

    Adding the chia seeds to my diet recently was the change that I did and I had been taking them for a week when it started.

    Is vertigo a side effect of taking chia seeds?

    • Chuck

      Karen, or anyone, I am curious to know if you had any more experiences with vertigo and taking chia seeds. I too, think chia seeds were the cause of my vertigo. I noticed vertigo for the first time after starting adding chia seeds to my morning and evening smoothie. When I stopped with the chia seeds, the vertigo disappeared. Not immediately, but gradually. Then restarting the seeds again, within a few weeks the vertigo was back. Stopping them once again, the vertigo disappeared. Chia seeds seems to be the cause of it, but I’m not 100% sure yet. Vertigo is an awful feeling and I’m not sure the benefits of chia seeds are worth that. So any input from you would be wonderful. Thanks.

  • Epilepsy can be (not always) caused by a hormonal imbalance. Get your hormones checked.

  • Karen

    I started taking chia seeds for just over a week now and have noticed vertigo and waking up in the middle of the night. Does anyone know why this would be happening?

    Do chia seeds have any effect on the brain? I’ve stopped taking them for now as I am epileptic. I would like to know if they have any neurologic effects.

  • christine

    I found this post researching perimenopause and found out my symptoms are due to estrogen dominance. I’ve been eating a lot of flax lately and I am going to quit. Chia is a traditional food eaten by the indigeous peoples of SW US, Central and South America. They used it as a superfood. Flax seed has been used traditionally as linseed oil to oil floors and such. There is probably a reason for this.

  • Can someone tell me how much EPA and DHA fatty acids Chai seeds have per 28gms. I have read the benefits of getting at least 400EPA and 200DHA twice a day to assist with the blocking of Cortisol during Menopause. At present I take 4 high strength fish oil capsules a day to get the amount I need but would prefer to use Chia if possible.

  • MILA

    This is great page about ‘CHIA’.
    Can somebody answer to my question?
    How much of CHIA will replace calcium – 1500 gr per day.
    I had breast cancer – estrogen pozitive.I am now on FEMARA tablets for next 5 years.
    Doctor recomended 1500 gr of calcium (about 900 ml of milk) .
    my email is milarakcevic@hotmail.com

  • Mark

    Sarah above wrote: “Seed oils do not contain lignans”

    AND elizabeth wrote:

    Flax seeds should be avoided if you have estrogen-receptive breast cancer, but flaxseed OIL does not have the same properities beccause it is void of the woody shell.

    ————-
    But when I went to the store to buy Flax oil pills, it said on the bottle of Webber Flax oil pills: “high lignans”

    This is from the webber web site: Health Balance High Lignan Flaxseed Oil is certified organic.

    my source if you want proof:
    http://www.webbernaturals.com/product_details.asp?id=563&cat=54

    So who can we believe? Sarah and elizabeth (above) say no lignans.

    It like the eat eggs; don’t eat eggs debate.
    Nobody seems to know anything about nutrition.
    It’s like they pick their opinions out of a hat.
    Take it vs don’t take it.

  • I enjoyed reading these comments as much as I did the article! Thanks Fran and all the commenters for all the info on chia seeds. I’ve been curious about trying them for a while now and this page has certainly helped fill in a few gaps in my chia knowledge :) Tomorrow chia seed shopping!

  • I have been eating CHIA and it helped me lessen my pimples and improve the skin on my face. Try my CHIA cause it is not like any other chia out there.

  • Hey Fran,
    I started eating Chia seeds about a year ago at a raw, vegan, organic restaurant in Seattle called Thrive. The serve breakfast bowls with Chia seeds whisked in house Almond Milk with fruits, dates and cinnamon sprinkled on top. It’s INCREDIBLE. I lost 30 pounds in 3 months and my skin was the clearest it’s ever been after having eaten at the cafe. That was a year and a half ago. It’s made such a difference in my life I’m now the General Manager of the company.

    Chia seeds whisked in Almond Milk. It will become an instant, instant classic.

    Thanks for shining …

  • elizabeth

    Flax seeds should be avoided if you have estrogen-receptive breast cancer, but flaxseed OIL does not have the same properities beccause it is void of the woody shell.
    i do still love chia seeds though!

  • I was just introduced a month ago to Chia seeds. And what a difference it has made for me. The one I use is called Mila and is distributed through a company called Lifemax. I’ve been so happy with the way I’ve been feeling that I even became a distributor myself…I had so many friends notice the difference in me (my mood is more joyful, I have more energy and sleeping great!) Everyone of my friends that have tried it are so excited with their results…from weight loss to clearer thinking and no more irregularity. I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t tried it myself…I was a skeptic….but I tried it and now I’ve got my husband on it too. We don’t skip a day without a scoop of Mila in our juice each morning. We’re actually nicer than ever to each other! :) It’s a good thing! If you want to order a bag for yourself and give it a try….go to my site at http://www.lifemax.net/aprilpowers and give it a try. I’m confident you won’t be disappointed! And let me know your experience with it….love to hear people’s stories!

  • James

    i’m very confused, so does chia seeds have lignans in it or not? Some sites say yes, even more than flax and some say no.

  • Heather

    Thanks Maple! I think from everything I’ve read, it seems safe. But you’re right, it’s not good to overdo it with any one thing.

  • S L Zimmer

    Oh, & I also throw in a tablespoon of Chia to my bowls of cereal/grits, lean ground-chicken sloppy joe’s sauce, spaghetti sauce, soups etc. when I make them. I don’t go out of my way to consume Flax because it’s to much of a mixed bag of tricks, in terms of the good versus various inhibitors/toxins present in it as well.

  • S L Zimmer

    I’ve been adding 1-2 tablespoons of Chia to my morning 1-2 cups 1% Milk + 20-25g Whey Protein pre-workout drink for over 7-8 months now. I’ve experienced no negative side effects that I’m aware of from the Chia. During this time, I’ve dropped from a pudgy 6Ft 2in, 230 pounds (I let myself go for about 6 years from my late 30′s to age 45) to my old toned/cut twenty-something body of 180-185 pounds & less than 10% body fat. I feel/look great again, & I think that Chia is a good, solid addition to a smart/healthy eating regimen.

  • Carol

    So, how much is a good amount for a normal size middle age woman? 2 teasp, one table, 2 or 3 table? I like a tablespoon stirred into kefir, but its so good, I sometimes do a second glass! Don’t want to get sick!

  • Maple

    I feel ill if I eat more than a tablespoon of chia or flax. Does anyone know what is causing this?

    As for the question about pregnancy, ultimately no one knows how much is good or safe. Babies need omega3 for brain development. A rule of thumb is to not overdo it with any one food.

  • Heather

    Hi Everyone,

    Very interesting discussion. I was wondering if it was OK to use Chia seeds during pregnancy? I’ve read some posts that say it is, but I just want to make sure, and you all seem to know a lot about Chia seeds!

    Thanks so much,
    Heather

  • Teremum, do you know if the lignans in Chia modulate sex hormone binding globulin like the lignans in flax seeds? OR do Chia seeds modulate hormones via a different mechanism?
    Thanks,
    Gibran

  • Teremum

    Just to let you know so that you can relax and that everyone is safe in eating phytoestrogens as they only balance when balancing is needed. If we all have a wide variety of these natural PE (flowers, seeds roots etc. then we all will have much less problems with our hormonal system. Only the synthetic version causes havoc as it interferes with our body’s own ability to cope
    Stay Wild! – Teremum

  • Fernando

    Hi Fran
    My son has soriasis, is there any link coming from Chia to reduce the soriasis that the skin get? He takes Flax but that seems it didn’t make a difference
    thanks

  • Hi Nic, it’s unlikely that the addition of flax seeds in your diet have stopped your cycle, although of course we don’t know for sure!

    Thing is, the blood we loose during our cycle is full of good stuff, it’s actually a power pack of nutrients. So when we are mineral deficient, very sick, run down, super stressed, or stressing our physical body out too much through excessive exercise, our body thinks “hold on! I need those nutrients, don’t get rid of them!!” so your body keeps the blood instead of losing it.

    I’m not saying this is the case for you but it’s a likely reason why you haven’t had bleeding. Also please keep in mind that even though you’re not getting monthly bleeding, you still could be ovulating so it’s important to keep up with safe sex!

    My advice to you is to start getting those healthy vitamins and minerals back into your system. The best way is through food! You’ll need to find the best way to work around your IBS and stomach bug ..but great ways to add in heaps of nutrients are through superfoods – especially things like spirulina and bee pollen. Start making a big green smoothie each day too, that’ll make a heap of difference.

    I hope this helps, x

  • nic

    hey there guys… I’ve been making a ground flaxseed and quinoa porridge every morning for three months and I havent had my period for that long either. I have also had a stomach bug (blastocystis) which has caused me IBS and weight loss. The doctor thinks its the weight loss and stress that has stopped my period, but I met someone yesterday who suggested it could be my increase of flaxseeds in my diet. I also take evening primrose oil tablets and have done for years now. Anyone have any ideas about that?? I really hope its not the flaxseeds cos they taste so yummy!! chia seeds just arent as good!! with the idea of rotation.. does anyone have any idea what is the best way to rotate? like is every second day too much or should i cut it out completely for a while? thnks!

  • Luke

    Hello, i was wondering if chia contains estrogen. Chia seeds contain lignans. I heard that the body converted lignans into estrogen. so does chia contain estrogen, just wondering

  • Seeds

    Hello, I started taking flax seeds because they were supposed to be good for hormones. However, I knew that I was always estrogen dominant and thought they would balanace me out. Soon, my hormones worsened, blood pressure started spiking, all kinds of things. Suddenly I could no longer take them without huge responses.

    Chia sounds good too, but my thoughts are that this is all about marketing. Flax was so good for you, but not for everyone and so I think the same about Chia. To the woman who said she experienced bloating, it sounds like Chia was increasing your progesterone levels, the same ones that increase during our periods and during pregnancy, sound familiar!

    I say stick to your normal nuts and seeds because there just isn’t a lot of real research out there. Flax created a huge imbalance for me so I stick with the whole foods that I’ve never had problems with, just my two cents!

  • jennifer

    Don’t take too much at once and always with plenty of fluids as it expands quite a lot.

    The article about chia seed lignan content is buried out There on my groups listing..

    but here are couple of ‘ loose ‘ links for now

    one comparison of lignan content keeping in mind lignan content will vary a bit contingent on the strain etc.
    whole flax 42 mg per tbl
    whole chia 945 mg per tbl

    http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:cqX5jB94nkgJ:www.flaxcouncil.ca/english/pdf/FlxPrmr_4ed_Chpt4.pdf+1+tbl+flax+has+lignans&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEEShGGqiiS42rEMug5EDDkwgd9SIMqYKE2Z-atvCzWfltAC5aIwoeHyJSr7CVIEMJEuDKoTIuubdxjz2FlU8MNo5LG82IEzpve0H7beAglpD3gtxPdpDt20_8H0oqSfZbdF1mizr3&sig=AHIEtbT9-v6Ej9CYJWxrVrftlqSglwlmyw

    http://chiaseedsfacts.blogspot.com/2009/11/chia-seeds-facts-omega-3-highest-in.html

  • Star

    I’dnot gained weight on chia or the other folks I know. I do a tablespoon or so a day and drink a gallon of water day. When you take Chia the water to solid ratio is 7:1 so chia seeds will bulk up much you have to be careful in my opinion not to take too many at once have have a lot of water. Also dont want to get your body used to too much fiber probably..

    Dr. Weil Oz and Mercola have comments out there on such.

    “My prediction? You will begin to see chia being added to more and more commercial products, such as prepared foods, baby foods, nutrition bars, and baked goods. In the meantime, you can order seeds online”

    Chia is the Richest Known Grain Source of Lignans

    Chia is a rich source of important Lignans, a group of chemical compounds found in plants. Lignans are one of the major classes of phytoestrogens, which are estrogen-like chemicals that also act as antioxidants. Lignans have been studied for their cancer preventative properties, especially for breast, colon and prostate cancer, as well as for their anti-viral, anti-bacteria and anti-fungal effects.

    Chia has 8.5 grams of Lignans per 100 grams (3½ oz.), compared with approximately 0.3 grams per 100 grams for flax seed. Chia is the richest grain source of Lignans Known.>>> not sure of their source here..

  • Bloat

    Chia seeds will make you hold water bigtime and overnight. I gained 5 lbs in 2 days by taking 3 table spoons a day mixed with water. My girlfriend had the same problem. So ,as quick as we got pumped about chia, we stopped taking it and lost the bloat with it.

  • Chia seeds aren’t usually considered a nut in common language. Even though an individual is allergic to one group or family of plants or animals, it doesn’t mean that they couldn’t be allergic to a different group or family. I would caution you that anyone can be allergic to anything. Allergies can also develop at anytime to any substance. Allergies are the body’s immune system over-reacting to a substance it perceives as a threat. If your daughter has a allergic or “atopic” way of reacting she has a greater chance of being allergic to more things.

  • Mercy

    Do Chia seeds belong to a family of nut. My daughter is allergic to all nuts so I want to be sure if the seeds are safe for her.

  • Chia seeds are gluten free. The entire Salvia (Sage) genus is gluten free.

  • Esma Burgher

    Do Chia seeds contain gluten?

  • Jennifer, I’d like to know where you found the information on the lignan content of Chia seeds. I searching out a flax substitute. When I followed the links you posted in your comment, neither gave the lignan content. Any other sources? Thank you, Gibran

  • Jennifer

    Chia has 8.5 grams of Lignans per 100 grams (3½ oz.),
    compared with approximately 0.3 grams per 100 grams for flax seed. Chia is the richest grain source of Lignans Known.

    Chia flax comparison: http://www.eatchia.com/flax.htminfo link: http://chiaforhealth.com/chin.html

    Maybe Chia oil is next :
    More omega 3s than flax
    Chia gel causes slow converting of carbohydrates into glucose (blood sugar)
    Gluten free,Vitamin c , ferulates, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, boron, Protein, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese,
    copper, niacin, zinc
    B vitamins- lots
    calcium-lots
    Cinnamic acids that guard omegas from oxidation
    Chia seeds contain greater alpha-linolenic acid concentrations than any otherseed or grain. This substance lowers the risk of heart disease, blurred vision, and numbness.
    one serving provides 30% of daily fiber
    Non-GMO ( for now )
    Six times more calcium than whole milk
    Three times more Iron than spinach
    Fifteen times more magnesium than broccoli
    63% Omega-3, 21% Omega-6, 7% Omega-9.

    Few studies have been done but
    …In a preliminary study from the University of Toronto, researchers fed 21diabetics either a supplement made from chia or grains with similar fiber
    content. After 3 months, blood pressure in patients taking chia dropped (10 points diastolic, 5 points systolic) while the grain group’s BP remained steady.

    “chia is so rich in antioxidants that the seeds don’t deteriorate and can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid. ” Dr Andrew Weil.

  • Ann

    I recommend buying chia seeds at Latin/Mexican Grocery Stores.

    It is much cheaper!

    You will find them in the section with the rest of the seeds and spices.

  • Chia seeds may not have the lignans that are found in Flax seed (seed, not oil) and it is these that have the oestrogenic effect. Lignans do not increase endogenous oestrogen levels but rather they increase the 2-hydroxylated : 16α-hydroxylated oestrogen metabolite ratio in the body. An increase in 2OH is protective against oestrogen dependant cancers. This has been shown in a clinical study by Leah Wlliamson at RMIT University in Melbourne. Seed oils do not contain lignans or related compounds and therefore have little or no hormonal activity. Both Chia and Flaxseed contain alpha-linolenic acid which is a precursor to EPA and DHA (anti-inflammatory compounds). It is, however, important to remember that the conversion to EPA and DHA is less than 10%, so they are not always a good replacement for Fish oils which contain preformed EPA/DHA, other than for general health.

  • Carol

    I’ve noticed vertigo (dizziness) and nausea, plus a crawly or tingly sensation on my scalp. In addition, I have started waking up in the middle of the night for no reason. This is after 3 weeks of both chia and flax. Am I overdosing on something? Now I don’t know whether to blame the flax seed or the chia. It did seem better for a few days when I ran out of chia, until the new seeds came in. Also, I’m interested in the refrigeration of the seeds – I haven’t kept my flax seeds under refrigeration because I assumed they were OK until ground, which I do right before eating them. Are they probably OK, how do you tell if the seeds are rancid? They taste OK to me. Thanks, just wonder if anyone else had similar symptoms.

  • rachella

    hi fran
    i have a question about flax. im taking the pill to keep my cycles regular and also help my acne. the pill contains estrogen and has helped my skin, however i noticed that when ever i eat flax or something containing flax i brake out. is this because too much estrogen can cause acne ?

  • Michael, I don’t sell either, affiliate, wholesale or retail. I listened to an audio on the best day ever membership site about flax being full of estrogen, and since I have an estrogen dominance problem I’m wary of it, that and all soy products. I’m trying to research more but it’s difficult to find updated and correct information.

  • Michael

    Chia may be good (e.g. It MAY have four times as much Potassium as bananas, but it only has a quarter as much potassium as Flax).
    Chia also costs about four times as much as flax.
    I’m just wondering if you have a vested interest in promoting chia over flax. Do you sell either one? Or have an affiliate relationship with someone who sells chia?
    Just curious.

  • Elena, it always helps to do your own research :) My skin was clear when I started eating chia so I haven’t noticed a difference, no.

    Rachella- It depends what the efa is for. EPO is great for women and it’s a fav or mine. But honestly I love chia the most now. And hemp seed for the oil (because I haven’t found chia seed oil yet)

  • rachella

    hi fran
    out of all the essential fatty acids supplements, which would you say is the best for fighting acne ?
    i heard that evening primrose oil has a lot of omega 6 wich is bad isnt it ?

  • Elena

    Ok, but are you sure that Chia is 100% free of phytoestrogens?
    Thks!
    Have you noticed improvements in your skin when you changed from flax to chia?

  • Hey Elena, don’t be afraid to try Chia, it’s good for you!

  • Elena

    Fran, I’m having a good diet and good skincare (everything is non comedogenic), I think my acne worsened because of Flax.
    I’ve received today the Chia but I’m afraid to try. Do you think it will help?
    Are you still taking Chia with good results?
    Thank you so much!!

  • Hey Elena, switching to chia is a good idea but it will probably take a bit more than that. It’s important to work on a holistic routine and treat your acne holistically ..which means diet, supplements, good skin care etc.

  • Elena

    I’m starting to have a lot of acne (head, back, face) and I think it is from Flax (i’m on week 7), I’ve ordered some chia seeds but now I’m scared! Do you think chia will clean me?

  • Hi Elena, it is very controversial and I’m not sure what to believe. I personally choose not to take flaxseed oil now but chia seed is a good replacement. I haven’t found the oil yet but I eat soaked seeds for breakfast in oatmeal or a smoothie. Health wise they’re just as good, if not better than flax. However, as I said it is controversial so doesn’t heart to do a little more research if you’re curious.

  • elena

    thks Fran, but in your article about flaxseed you said that your acne started to clean taking flax (that’s why i decided to try). Then, have you noticed something wrong in your skin that made you change to chia? Your acne started again because of estrogen in flax?
    I read that the estrogen in flax was good ( not like xenoestrogen) that prevents breast cancer.

  • Elena, some people need the extra estrogen ..for me, it’s not so good, for others maybe it’s okay.

  • Elena

    I’m taking Flaxseed for 3 weeks with I think good results in my hormonal acne, do i have to change it by chia seeds???

  • Flax seeds are far more better than the oil itself. Too unstable – beware.

  • Inês

    If your acne is hormonal and is caused by low estrogen levels, flaxseed oil is a really good alternative to the contraceptive pill (if you’re a woman, of course, and if you aren’t allergic or/and don’t find it difficult to digest). I had to write this comment because some women (and less but also some men) are having really good results when taking flaxseed oil and I do believe it’s because their problem is hormonal and they found a way to balance their female/male hormones.

  • SUSAN

    I STARTED USING CHIA & I BROKE OUT WITH PIMPLES & PAINS TRAVELING ALL OVER MY BODY-GAS -KNEE PAIN. I STOPPED TO MAKE SURE THAT IS WAS THE CHIA-STARTED BACK AGAIN BECAUSE IT IS SO GOOD FOR YOU. BUT AGAIN THE SYMPTONS CAME BACK. I’M ALLERGIC TO CHICORY -WHEAT-CANE SUGAR – BUT CHIA & CHICORY & THE OTHERS ARE NOT RELATED. HAS ANYONE HAD ANY SYMPTOM WITH CHIA.

  • As they say : everything in moderation – even moderation in moderation!

    If you eat flax as a whole seed and if you keep them in a fridge – they are ok.
    Everyone should rotate their seeds and nuts, so we avoid allergy.
    Eat chia, flax, hemp seeds by rotating them.
    Cheers!
    http://rawfoodtip.com

  • Jill

    Hmm, I remember when flaxseed came out a few years ago as a superfood, now it’s not so great? I’ve been eating flaxseed every day for a while now, along with hemp seeds in my raw cacao smoothies. My naturopath said flax was great because of the omega fats and fibre. I think I’ll finish my big bag of ground flaxseed, then I’ll try chia seed just for a change, it sounds really healthy.
    And I used to have a cat shaped chia pet!! haha, those retro ads are hilarious!

  • Kyle

    Fran you are always somewhere cool!

    I also read that flaxseed has an unhealthy ratio of omega 6′s to omega 3′s.

    Also, there is this great health newsletter writer that I like to read, if you are interested. His name is Dr. Mercola, I highly recommend you subscribe to his email newsletters!

  • Just recently, very highly educated man, name Dr. Tel-Oren was having a discussion about Omega 3s. He says that this whole Omega 3 bomb had to sort of happen ( and that’s why there is a big market out there ), because peoples levels of Omega 6 are so high and relation between these Omegas is 1:20! or higher. The reason for that is the food people eat ( processed, high in bad oils, fried ).
    Normally, in nature or if one eats a healthy nature-like diet one would get a perfect balanced diet with exact amount of Omega 3 and 6 along with creating a perfect ratio.
    Why people usually feel great after taking Omega 3 supplements is the ratio between O3 : O6 is getting more balanced, but as one can see it is not 1:3, but somewhat 5:20.
    So the ratio is getting balanced , but it does not mean that omega 6s are getting lower.
    Cheers!

  • Hi, Margaret!

    I didn’t say that Chia is unstable!
    I was talking about flax and hemp oils ;-)

    Yes, chia is much more safe ( unless its blended or broken down ).
    Cheers!

  • Excellent article!

    Marta, unlike flax and hemp, chia seeds do not need to be refrigerated. The oil they contain does not go rancid because of the high level of antioxidants in the seeds.

    Please visit my website for some recipes, some chia trivia, a list of sources, and, of course, Chia Pets!! http://www.chiativity.org

  • BTW – Chia makes great puddings! You can use it in cakes!

  • The very important think about flax oils, hemp oils is that they are unstable – go rancid very quickly ( within an hour of braking down the seed ). The light, temperature, oxygen is the problem. Of course, when we buy the flax oil or hemp, they are usually in a fridge at stores, but who knows what happened between cracking the seed and botteling it, shipping…so on.
    If one eats rancid oil, the tissue and cells of the body go rancid – not a good think, if you know about free radicals.

    Chia is great, but has lots of protein. I wouldn’t use it every day.
    But it is a great seed.

  • An interesting article Fran. I’ve been thinking a lot about EFAs as well recently and am still a bit iffy with fish oils – pollution is an issue here for me. I’ve been taking flax oil and eating linseeds for a while now and wasn’t aware of the oestrogen issue so thanks for that. I haven’t heard of chia seeds so they’re definitely one I’ll look up.

    I’d also agree with Clara that hemp is also worth adding to your diet.

  • Yeah, I think for women there are better ways to get essential fatty acids than flax. I think hemp is a good alternative.

  • Kevin – Look for Chia at health food stores. I haven’t been able to check stores yet because I’m stumbling around Italy at the moment trying to find my way around! I’d use them like flaxseeds, so put a big spoon in your cereal or with a salad. There are also receips online that include Chia seed if you do a Google search.

    Maria – Yes, sprouted Chia seeds look like alfafa. You can buy many different types of sprouts at most health food stores :)

  • Maria

    The Chia seed when it’s grown kind of looks like alfa sprouts. No?
    A possible relation?

  • kevin

    Hi Fran,

    Any idea where we can by chia seeds?And is there a possibilty of eating too much chia seeds?What would you recommend as a daily dosage? Nice article. :) Those chia pets are a bit freaky.The tree is the only one that makes sense.

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