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.