Nutritional Comparison: Flax Seeds vs. Hemp Hearts

Written By: Gloria Tsang, RD

Title: Founding Registered Dietitian

Alumni: University of British Columbia

Last Updated on:

Nutritional differences between flax seeds and hemp hearts

How do you choose between flax seeds and hemp hearts? These two popular super-seeds provide stellar nutritional values. How do they differ from each other, nutritionally?

What are Hemp Hearts?

First off, let’s explain what hemp hearts are. Hemp hearts are hemp seeds that have been hulled. They are the softer center inside the shell of the hemp seeds. That’s why hemp hearts are sometimes labeled as “hulled hemp seeds”.

Nutritional Facts Comparison: Flax Seeds vs. Hemp Hearts

 Flax SeedsHemp Hearts
Serving Size:3 Tbsp (31 g)3 Tbsp (30 g)
Calories:165 kcal166 kcal
Fat:13.1 g14.6 g
Saturated Fat:1.1 g1.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat:2.3 g1.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat:8.9 g11.4 g
Omega-6 Fatty Acids:1.8 g8.6 g
Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA):7.1 g2.6 g
Protein:5.6 g9.5 g
Total Carbohydrate:8.9 g2.6 g
Fiber:8.4 g1.2 g
Net Carb:0.4 g1.4 g
Glycemic Index:35 (Low)4 (Low)
Table 1. Nutrition Fact of Flax Seeds versus Hemp Hearts

4 Nutritional Value Highlights

1. Flax Seeds Provides More Omega 3

Both flax seeds and hemp hearts are great sources of unsaturated fatty acids. Flax seeds, however, provide 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.

2. Hemp Hearts Provide More Protein

Hemp hearts provide significantly more protein than flax seeds. Each serving of hemp hearts provide 9.5 g of protein while a serving of flax seeds provide 5.6 g.

3. Flax Seeds Provide More Fiber

Flax seeds are excellent sources of dietary fiber, with each serving provides 8.4 g of fiber. Hemp hearts, as they have been hulled, provide 1.2 g of fiber.

4. Both Flax Seeds and Hemp Hearts Are Low-GI Foods

Both flax seeds and hemp hearts provide about low amount of net carb. In addition, both are them are considered low glycemic index foods. Both seeds are appropriate for people with diabetes.

Both Have Their Own Nutritional Values

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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2 thoughts on “Nutritional Comparison: Flax Seeds vs. Hemp Hearts”

  1. I prefer golden flax seeds. I think they taste much better than the brown flax seeds. Seem to have a sweeter taste.

    Reply
  2. I use golden flax seed for baking. Every morning our family has 1-2 tablespoons of hemp hearts on our cereal, along with blueberries, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

    Reply

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