Chia, hemp, and flax seeds are three superfoods that have really increased in popularity over the past couple of years. All three have an abundance of nutritional benefits which is the reason why so many people are incorporating these seeds into their everyday meals.

Chia seeds are tiny black seeds from the plant ‘Salvia Hispanica’—a plant that is native to South America. Chia seeds are filled with antioxidants and are high in fibre, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. They can be bought either ground or whole—both are good and provide the same nutritional benefits. According to The Globe and Mail, chia seeds are high in magnesium and are an excellent source of calcium. The Globe and Mail also claims that, “when it comes to fibre, chia seeds have the edge… [with] one tablespoon of ground chia [having] 2.5 grams of fibre.”

Hemp seeds come from the plant ‘Cannabis Sativa’—this is different from the infamous cannabis plant. Hemp seeds are versatile. They can be turned into hemp seed oil, butter, milk, and even flour. Hemp seeds also contain all 20 amino acids, including the 9 essential amino acids that our body needs. They also contain a high number of protein and magnesium. According to The Globe and Mail, if you “blend two tablespoons into your smoothie… you’ll get one-quarter of a day’s worth of magnesium [which is] 116 mg.”

Flax seeds, or linseeds, come in two different colours—brown and golden. They can both be found in a whole form or ground. Flax seeds are high in fibre and said to contain something called “lignans”, which is a photochemical linked to breast and prostate cancer prevention, according to The Globe and Mail. However, to get the full nutritional benefits of flax seeds they must be ground, otherwise they will pass through your digestive tract undigested. There is no real difference between brown and golden flax seeds other than the taste of them—golden flax seeds are known to taste better. Both contain an important omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid, which protects against damage to the body’s cells.

All three of these seeds contain great amounts of benefits. They are most commonly used as cereal toppers or inserted into smoothies. Some people will even use flax seeds on the top of their bread for both decoration and added taste. Incorporating these seeds into your everyday lives will serve as an essential nutritious role in living a healthy and balanced lifestyle.