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3 Super Seeds: Chia, Psyllium, and Flax Seeds

Stephanie Bradberry is an herbalist, naturopath, and energy healer. She focuses on meeting your unique health and wellness needs naturally.

Boost your body and brain with these three super seeds—chia, psyllium, and flax.

Boost your body and brain with these three super seeds—chia, psyllium, and flax.

What Are Super Seeds?

Super seeds are nutritionally dense seeds containing higher than average levels of vitamins and minerals. Three seeds top my list for their numerous benefits—chia, psyllium, and flax seeds. These seeds are easy to add to your diet. Many people use them as dietary supplements to take advantage of the many vitamins and minerals they contain. Incorporate these three super seeds into your diet to see amazing benefits. Remember, a little goes a long way with these beauties.

3 Super Seeds Worth Adding to Your Diet

  1. Chia
  2. Psyllium
  3. Flax
Top your breakfast bowl with chia seeds to kickstart your morning!

Top your breakfast bowl with chia seeds to kickstart your morning!

1. Chia Seeds

The popularity of chia seeds (Salvia hispanica) has been on the rise in recent years. Still, some people may only imagine chia in the form of a pet—remember those terra cotta animal figurines covered in sprouted seeds emulating green fur? Well, these nutrient-dense seeds that come in black and white varieties are much more than something you merely watch grow.

Benefits

Chia seeds are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Like psyllium and flax seeds, chia seeds add bulk to the intestinal tract, making you feel fuller. The added bulk helps to flush your system and leads to happier (and healthier) times in the restroom. Chia seeds are also a good source of antioxidants. To help fight free radicals and combat everyday toxins that can overload our bodies, turn to chia seeds. Another added benefit is that chia seeds can help regulate blood sugar, as can psyllium seed husks.

Taste and Preparation

Chia seeds are tasteless. If chia seeds have not been left to expand enough, they will be a bit crunchy in the center. Chia seeds can be used as an egg substitute and are gluten-free. They are a great addition to your diet because they contain a lot of minerals, like calcium and magnesium.

People often make chia pudding and cookies with chia seeds due to their gelatin-like consistency when exposed to liquid. Chia seeds will expand many times their original size when added to liquid. Be careful not to overload your liquid with chia seeds. Otherwise, you will have a thick, gloopy mixture.

Nutritional Information per Tablespoon

Calories

68.5

Fat

4.5g

Cholesterol

0mg

Sodium

0mg

Carbohydrates

6g

Protein

2.3g

Fiber

5.5g

Powdered psyllium husk is a good addition to hot cereal, juices, or smoothies.

Powdered psyllium husk is a good addition to hot cereal, juices, or smoothies.

2. Psyllium Seed Husks

Psyllium seed husks (Plantago ovata) are primarily a good source of fiber. When shopping for psyllium, you may also find them under the name ispaghula.

Benefits

The added fiber and bulk in your gut helps with digestion. This in turn helps with intestinal issues like diarrhea and constipation. Psyllium seed husks are great for adding bulk to your intestinal tract. This makes you feel fuller while eating less. Therefore, people hail psyllium seed husks for their potential to aid in weight loss.

Other benefits of this seed include help with managing glucose levels and high cholesterol. If you struggle with high blood sugar or cholesterol, it might be beneficial to try adding psyllium seed husks to help with these conditions.

Taste and Preparation

Since psyllium seed husks are tasteless, like chia seeds, they are easy to add to your diet. Try adding psyllium seed husks to hot cereal, juice blends, and smoothies. Be sure to watch the amount you add. Psyllium seed husk, especially in powder form, expands in size when added to liquid. If you are not used to working with psyllium seed husk powder, add a little at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

Nutritional Information per Tablespoon

Calories

20

Fat

0g

Cholesterol

0mg

Sodium

10mg

Protein

0.2g

Fiber

5g

Whether purchased whole or ground, add flax seed to a smoothie for a fiber boost.

Whether purchased whole or ground, add flax seed to a smoothie for a fiber boost.

3. Flax Seeds

Flax seeds (Linum usitatissimum) are likely the most widely known and used, in general, of the three seeds listed here.

Benefits

They are yet another great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. More so, flax seeds contain lignans, which are a source of phytoestrogens and antioxidants. Just like psyllium and chia seeds, flax seeds are a wonderful source of fiber. As we know, fiber helps to add bulk to the intestinal tract and flush our system. For these reasons, flax seeds may also help with weight loss and intestinal issues. As if that’s not enough, flax seeds have the potential to reduce the risk of cancer, strokes, and heart disease according to the Mayo Clinic.

Taste and Preparation

Unlike psyllium and chia seeds, flax seeds do have a slightly nutty taste. People often toast flax seeds to bring out the flavor more. Flax seeds come in golden and dark brown varieties. Make sure you chew them well. You must break the seed coating to release all the nutrients. You can buy flax seeds already ground, but make sure they do not sit around too long and that they are kept in a cool—and preferably dark—location. If your flax seeds smell a little fishy, they may be rancid and it is time to dispose of them. Personally, I use flax seeds from everything from food to hair care products.

Nutritional Information per Tablespoon

Calories

55

Fat

4.3g

Cholesterol

0mg

Sodium

3mg

Carbohydrates

3g

Fiber

2.8g

Protein

1.9g

Hydration and Moderation

As with any supplement, too much of a good thing could end up being detrimental. If you are taking one of these seeds to help with constipation, not drinking enough water could lead to more constipation. A general rule of thumb is to follow the ratio of one teaspoon of seeds to eight ounces of liquid.

Use these seeds safely—always listen to your body and consult your physician when making changes to your diet.

Flax seeds, psyllium seed husks, and chia seeds

Flax seeds, psyllium seed husks, and chia seeds

Sources

Bjarnadottir, A. (2019, March 28). Flax Seeds 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/flaxseeds.

FoodData Central. (n.d.). https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/.

Gunnars, K. (2018, August 8). 11 Proven Health Benefits of Chia Seeds. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2.

Hendricks, J. (2018, December 14). Nutrients in Psyllium Husks. Healthy Eating | SF Gate. https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/nutrients-psyllium-husks-11944.html.

Krans, B. (2019, April 22). Health Benefits of Psyllium. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/psyllium-health-benefits#weight-loss.

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2020, November 14). Flaxseed and flaxseed oil. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-flaxseed-and-flaxseed-oil/art-20366457.

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2021, January 6). How to add more fiber to your diet. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2017 Stephanie Bradberry

Comments

Stephanie Bradberry (author) from New Jersey on October 16, 2017:

Hello Vashawn,

Thanks so much for reading. I appreciate your feedback and encouragement. Please keep using all three seeds since you see the benefits!

Vashawn love on October 16, 2017:

Great article. The information is priceless. Keep up the good work. I did you all three seeds in the past at different times and I've noticed there benefits. They truly are natural remedies

Stephanie Bradberry (author) from New Jersey on October 14, 2017:

Hi Ken,

You can certainly sprout any of these seeds. I think the most popular for sprouting, out of the three listed here, is chia seeds. I agree that prices start to go up with the popularity of an item. As someone who works with these seeds and other natural items for my clients, I personally see this trend and it does impact how the reseller or purchaser has to then change their prices. But at least health is being promoted!

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Ken Burgess from Florida on October 14, 2017:

I wonder, can these seeds be sprouted?

As you said they are becoming more popular, and the prices are going up in reaction to that. Like raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas) which became popular, prices have more than doubled in a few short years.

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