Chia Seeds vs Hemp Hearts: Which is Healthier?


Hemp hearts (the dehulled hemp seeds) are one of the most popular seeds along with chia.

Both have a ton of nutrition and contain good amounts of omega 3 fats, making them a good addition to almost any diet.

However, there are some differences, which we’ll explore here. All data on this page is per 100 grams of each seed.

Nutritional Value Comparison of Chia Seeds and Hemp Hearts

Seeds are generally high in protein and fat, and that holds true with both chia and hemp seeds.

Take a look at the macro profiles of both seeds in the table below:

  Chia seeds Hemp seeds
Energy (kcal) 486.7 553.3
Protein (g) 16.5 31.6
Total Lipid (g) 30.7 48.7
Carbohydrate (g) 42.1 8.7
Fiber (g) 34.3 4.0
Sugars (g) 0.0 1.5

There are a few big differences of note:

  • Hemp seeds are higher in fat and calories
  • Hemp seeds have almost double the protein
  • Chia seeds are much higher in fiber

Keep in mind that a 100 gram serving of seeds is quite large. For reference, 3 tablespoons of hemp seeds is about 30 grams.

Omega 3 and 6 Fat Ratios of Chia Seeds and Hemp Hearts

seeds variety

Seeds can be a great plant-based source of omega 3 fats, and both chia and hemp seeds are among the best.

In general, any food with an omega 6 to 3 ratio of 4 or below is considered “healthy” in this respect.

  Chia Seeds Hemp Seeds
Omega 3 Fats 17.8 10
Omega 6 Fats 5.84 27.5
Omega 6:3 Ratio 0.33 2.75

If you’d like to compare with other seeds, see my page on the omega 3 to 6 fat ratio of seeds.


Both seeds have great omega fat ratios, but chia seeds are much better at balancing out foods with high levels of omega 6 fats like nuts.

Vitamins and Minerals of Chia Seeds and Hemp Hearts

Finally, let’s look at the micronutrients in both seeds, compared to the general RDA for an adult.

Keep in mind that you typically won’t be eating 100 grams of each seed in a single serving.

  RDA Chia seeds Hemp seeds
Manganese (mg) 2.3 2.7 7.6
Phosphorus (mg) 700 860.0 1650.0
Magnesium (mg) 400 333.3 700.0
Thiamin (mg) 1.2 0.6 1.3
Selenium (µg) 55 55.3 0.0
Zinc (mg) 11 4.6 9.9
Potassium (mg) 2000 406.7 1200.0
Niacin (mg) 16 8.8 9.2
Calcium (mg) 1200 630.0 70.0
Vitamin B-6 (mg) 1.3 0.0 0.6
Iron (mg) 18 7.7 7.9
Folate (µg) 400 50.0 110.0
Riboflavin (mg) 1.3 0.2 0.3
Vitamin A (µg) 900 53.3 0.0
Vitamin E (mg) 15 0.5 0.8

Both seeds have a significant amount of several vitamins and minerals, which is a big part of why they are such healthy foods.

However, both have their own strong points:

  • Hemp seeds are much higher in manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, thiamin, zinc, potassium, and folate
  • Chia seeds are higher in selenium, calcium, and vitamin A

Depending on the specific nutrients that you might be interested in, one may be slightly better for you than the other.

Chia Seeds vs Hemp Hearts: Which is Healthier?

Chia seeds and hemp hearts are both very healthy foods and there’s not a clear winner between the two.

In support of chia seeds, they have a lot more fiber and a better omega fat ratio.

However, hemp seeds have about double the protein, and more of certain important minerals like zinc and potassium.

The healthiest option is to include both in your diet.

Can You Use Chia Seeds Instead of Hemp Seeds?

In most recipes you can substitute chia seeds for hemp hearts without problems, although it will affect the taste a bit.

The reverse is not true. Chia seeds are sometimes used in recipes to soak up liquid and provide a gummy texture, which hemp seeds do not do.

Can You Eat Hemp Seeds and Chia Seeds Together?

Mixing seeds like hemp and chia seeds on top of a meal is a great way to add extra nutrition to a recipe without making it bland. Both seeds go great in a variety of salads, smoothies, and even oatmeal.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. I've spent over 6 years as a freelance nutrition writer and researcher. During this time, I've tested over 50 vegan protein powders, and over 100 other types of vegan supplements.

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