Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

When exploring the realm of super nutrition, you may often confuse chia seeds with basil seeds due to their similar appearance. Also, since both chia and basil look similar when in water, it makes you wonder whether these are different. 

The fact is that both are nutritious, but there are some major differences in the benefits of each, as well as in the purpose of why you’d introduce one consistently to your dietary regime. Let’s dive into the specifics of basil and chia seeds to help you make an informed decision for your health!

Basil Seeds & Chia Seeds – How Similar, How Different? 

The discovery of health and healing benefits of both chia seeds and basil seeds goes back decades. To this date, the remedial uses of these seeds continue. Both seeds come from the mint family of plants, hence the reason for the confusion in appearances. 

Read on to know the similarities and differences between the two, so the next time you’re at a grocery store, you know just what to pick.

Origins of the basil and chia seeds…

Chia seeds have gained immense popularity lately, but long before they became a visually aesthetic and nutritious addition to your overnight oats, these were a dietary staple for the ancient Aztecs and Mayans. These marble-like seeds originate from Mexico’s central and southern regions and Central America, specifically Guatemala. 

On the other hand, basil seeds originate from the tropical regions of Southeast Asia, including India, as well as Central Africa. They are taken from the flowering plant known as sweet basil or Thai basil from the mint family. If you have been browsing recipes with basil seeds, you may even see these listed as Thai basil or sweet basil seeds. 

Differing appearances & tastes in different forms…

Chia seeds are like miniature oval stones—but as if made out of marble. The dark organic chia seeds, which contain the most nutrition, are usually a mix of black, grey, and brown. White chia seeds have zero to little nutrition, and these are white and lighter shades of gray in appearance.

As far as the taste of chia seeds goes, these are nearly tasteless, sometimes with an earthy undertone. The blandness makes these perfectly suitable for a large range of recipes since these seamlessly blend in seamlessly with all kinds of meals.

Basil seeds appear somewhat like tiny rice. They are also smaller than chia seeds and have a pitch-black color. The taste of basil seeds a subtle, with notes of the herb basil. If the seeds you buy originate from the Thai basil plant, they may have a sweet taste. And since these seeds hold a flavor of their own, although subtle—make sure you are pairing basil seeds with foods that complement them.

What health benefits are in store…

The nutritional value of chia seeds is the primary reason these are now one of the most popular superfoods. Chia seeds are incredibly rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and low in carbohydrates. If you’re following a keto diet, chia seeds can be a valuable addition to your meals. 

As omega 3 is among the nutrition list in chia seeds, consider these as a must-have for your health. The omega-3 fatty acid in chia seeds is Alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), which boosts fat burning, aiding in weight loss. This micronutrient can also assist many of your other bodily functions, such as:

  • Cardiac health (managing triglycerides and blood pressure)
  • Hair and skin health by elevating hydration and moisture
  • Bone and joint health (includes ‘good’ fats to minimize stiffness and increase mobility)
  • Immunity is primarily due to amazing anti-inflammatory properties.

Aside from omega 3, chia seeds also contain calcium, magnesium, and other minerals that your body needs to stay healthy. 

Coming to basil seeds—these have lots of fiber and are lower in fat than chia seeds. If you want to improve digestion and curb hunger, basil seeds are a superb choice!

Basil seeds, same as chia seeds, also provide your body with plentiful calcium and magnesium. These also contain essential electrolytes. By consuming basil seeds regularly, experience a balance in electrolyte levels, as well as combat dehydration and low blood pressure. Plus, the fiber content in these seeds works wonders for your gut health!

How to add these to meals…

The best way to eat either chia seeds or basil seeds is to soak them in water first. Sure, you can consume these raw (though the texture makes it harder to swallow), but it’s imperative that you drink plenty of water before and after to avoid dehydration. 

Both basil and chia seeds soak up moisture. Thus, your gut may have a hard time digesting these and any other food you’ve taken around the time. Water can help rehydrate your digestive tract.

As for adding these seeds to meals, there is a wide range of recipes you can try.

Basil seeds rarely go with savory foods, usually best consumed with water and milk-based drinks. Try basil seeds in lemonade and fruity smoothies. Basil seeds also work well in porridge and some baked goods.

Chia seeds are much, much more versatile. If your recipe calls for soaked chia seeds, don’t forget that these don’t become gel-like as fast as basil seeds—which takes about 3-4 minutes. Chia seeds are complex, which means you need to soak them in water for 30-40 minutes before adding them to oatmeal, salad dressings, smoothies, etc.

Note: Since chia seeds can soak up water up to ten times their weight, this ability makes these an excellent ingredient for binding in recipes—and a convenient vegan substitute for eggs in baking!

The Verdict: Chia Seeds or Basil Seeds For Health?

It depends on your preferences and for what health condition why you’re considering adding seeds to your diet. As far as nutritional benefits go, chia seeds are much more abundant in micronutrients and help counter a wider range of health issues.

You can prioritize these equally. By incorporating basil and chia seeds into your meals—at separate times, of course— you gain the best nutritional benefits of both in your everyday dietary regime!

By Syler