How much Omega 3 in Chia Seeds?
Eating chia seeds is one of the easiest ways to get omega–3 fatty acids, which are very important to your brain health. Taking a single one-ounce serving of chia seeds contains 5 grams of omega–3’s. You don’t have to grind chia seeds (unlike flaxseeds) or cook them (like salmon).
In this article, we look closer at how much omega 3 is in chia seeds, and if this is a good way for you to get the most out of your omega 3 intake. The benefit of chia seeds for omega 3 is that they are a completely vegan option and save you going to oily fish to get your optimum intake.
Does Chia Seed Contain Omega 3?
Yes, like flaxseeds, chia seeds are high in omega–3 fatty acids. Chia seeds contain more omega-3 than salmon, pound for pound. However, you should keep in mind that the omega-3 in chia seeds are mostly ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), which may not be as beneficial as you may think.
This is because it does not easily convert into DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which is the most important form of omega-3 fatty acid. They can however help raise your blood levels of ALA and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) which can help with heart disease, asthma, hot flashes and other isses.
Technically, Chia Seeds do contain a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids. However, if they contain the right omega 3 fatty acids is up for debate. Many experts believe that Chia Seeds are a lower-quality omega 3 source.
Try to think about it as more quantity than quality in this regard.
Can Chia Seeds Replace Fish Oil?
Chia seeds may be less potent after ALA is converted to EPA and DHA, they could replace a processed food supplement such as fish oil with a whole food dietary change. Simply replacing fish oil with chia seeds may not be enough.
As we’ve mentioned, Chia Seeds struggle to convert the ALA into DHA – which is the most important form of omega-3 fatty acids. Replacing fish oil with chia seeds may help keep your ALA and EPA levels optimized, but you would fall behind in DHA levels as your body would struggle to convert it from the chia seeds.
This is why we’re recommending that if you make the switch you need to be looking into more of a whole food dietary change, so you can also include other foods which can help boost your levels of DHA.
Good examples of other foods which contain DHA include;
- Hemp seeds
- Kidney beans
- Soybean oil
These are just some ideas which can help raise your overall levels of DHA when combined with chia seeds.
If you’re switching out fish oil and looking for primarily vegan options, these would be great additions to your diet to ensure that you get as much DHA as possible for your body to work with.
Failing that, there are vegan omega-3 supplements out there which can help meet your needs.
Which has more Omega 3: Chia Seeds or Flax Seed?
Chia seeds and flax seeds are both high in a variety of nutrients. Both seeds contain a good amount of protein and omega–3 fatty acids, although flax seeds have a slight more when it comes to these two nutrients. Flax seed also contains more manganese, copper and potassium.
Here’s a further breakdown of the nutrients for chia seeds over a 28 gram portion:
- Calories: 137
- Carbs: 12 grams
- Fiber: 11 grams
- Protein: 4 grams
- Fat: 9 grams
- Omega-3 fatty acids: 4900 mg
And now take a look at flax seeds for the same amount:
- Calories: 150
- Carbs: 8 grams
- Fiber: 8 grams
- Protein: 5 grams
- Fat: 12 grams
- Omega-3 fatty acids: 6400 mg
As you can see, there is no competition – it is flax seed all the way when it comes to which has more omega-3. The only reason you should choose chia seeds if you’re looking for less calories and more fiber – with the condition that you’re willing to sacrifice your overall omega 3 intake to get it.
Chia Seeds and Omega 3: How much is there?
As you can see, there is a high amount of omega-3s in chia seeds (approximately 4900 mg per 28 grams). However, the tradeoff is that it only delivers ALA omega-3 fatty acids.
ALA is hard for your body to convert into DHA which is the most important Omega-3 fatty acid. If you’re switching over from fish oil to chia seeds to get your omega-3s you should incorporate much more omega-3 sources than chia seeds to get the optimum amount.
Also, if you’re in a toss up between chia seeds and flax seeds when choosing your new omega-3 source – we recommend flax seeds, you get much more than you would with chia seeds.