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Hemp Seeds V/S Flax Seeds

Flax seeds have seen a sudden surge in recent times, being labeled as a superfood. However, they have always been present in human diets since beginning of civilization. Flax seeds (also known as linseeds) are known for their nutritional properties & have become a buzz word in the healthy kitchens of India and abroad due to their excellent content of omega 3 fatty acids, fiber and protein. But if you are trying to make a choice between hemp seed oil or flaxseed, here are the facts you should definitely look at

Breaking down the flax seeds nutritionally, they have 42% fat, 29% carbs and 18% protein. And hemp seeds nutritional breakdown brings us to 42% fat, 18% carbs and 30% protein

Let’s start with fat. Our body needs essential fatty acids (EFAs) that cannot be produced by humans and must be obtained through diet. Dietary supplements with oils that contain EFAs and other poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) help in promoting healthy development. Flax seeds are composed of 73% essential fatty acids such as omega 3 fatty acids and omega 6 fatty acids. (Is the omega 3 hype real?)

While fat % is almost same for both of these seeds but composition becomes very critical. Flax seeds are very rich in Omega 3 fatty acids whereas hemp seeds have an optimum balance of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids which is very rare. Evidence suggests that body needs a balance of omega 6 and omega 3 acids between 2:1 and 3:1. Its imbalance has led to increased risk of heart diseases, strokes, cancer, inflammatory and immune diseases in humans. Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio is nearly 2.5:1 in hemp seeds whereas the ratio is 0.2 for flax seeds. However, we obtain omega -6 through a variety of sources and it is the omega – 3 that we often fall short off. For purely improving the omega -3 intake, flax is perhaps a much better solution as compared to any other food.

Coming to protein, hemp has almost double the amount of the protein than flax seeds. Flax seeds have 18 g protein in 100g whereas it is 36g in hemp seeds. They have all 9 essential amino acids and are complete protein source. Very few plant-based foods are complete source of protein making hemp seeds a very valuable addition to vegan or vegetarian diets. Hemp doesn’t contain phytates, found in many vegetarian protein sources and can interfere with absorption of certain minerals.

Flax seeds contain more dietary fiber but only if you consume ground flax not the oil. Both flax and hemp seeds are incredible source of nutrition but If you are looking for an all-rounder whole food (high omegas, high protein with all essential amino acids), hemp does edge out flax.

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