Nutrition Faceoff: Flax Seeds vs. Hemp Hearts

flax seeds versus hemp hearts

(HealthCastle.com) This month, instead of looking at packaged food products, we decided to look at two items popular with healthy-food enthusiasts: flax seeds and hemp hearts.

Nutrition Faceoff: Flax Seeds vs. Hemp Hearts

  Flax Seeds Hemp Hearts
Serving Size: 3 Tbsp (31 g) 3 Tbsp (30 g)
Calories: 165 kcal 170 kcal
Fat: 13 g 13 g
Saturated Fat: 1.1 g 1.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 2.3 g 1.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 8.9 g 10 g
Omega-6 Fatty Acids: 1.8 g 8 g
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: 7 g 2.5 g
Protein: 5.7 g 10 g
Total Carbohydrates: 8.9 g 3 g
Fiber: 8.4 g 3 g

Dietitian's Take

  • Both flax seeds and hemp hearts are great sources of unsaturated fatty acids. Flax seeds contain more omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid, aka ALA) than omega-6 fatty acids, while hemp hearts contain more omega-6 fatty acids (gamma-linolenic acid, aka GLA) than omega-3 fatty acids. 
  • Flax seeds and hemp hearts provide about the same amount of calories. They contain the same amount of fat, but flax seeds contain more fiber, while hemp hearts contain more protein.  

Our Pick: It's A Tie!

You can't go wrong with either one of these; it's a matter of preference. If you eat seeds for their protein value, go for hemp hearts. On the other hand, if you eat seeds for their fiber content, go for flax seeds. They each have something to offer nutritionally, and you likely wouldn't be consuming large quantities in one sitting. So, incorporate either seed as a topping for cereal, yogurt, or salad or add into baked goods! Note that flax seeds come in golden and brown varieties

Tell Us: Which seeds do you prefer?

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HealthCastle, founded in 1997, is the largest online nutrition community run by Registered Dietitians. Information on this site is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or dietitian. Information and statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.