It’s no secret that flax and chia seeds can do wonders for your health—lowering cholesterol, promoting a healthy heart, and decreasing the risk of diabetes, just to name a few. The tiny seeds pack a powerfully nutritious punch making them especially beneficial for those who have chosen to omit meat and dairy from their diets.
Although flax and chia seeds both make excellent additions to your diet, they do differ when it comes to appearance, taste, and nutrient content. For starters, flaxseeds can be brown or golden with a nutty flavor, while chia seeds are black or white and lack any noticeable flavor. They both provide substantial nutrients and vitamins to the body, but chia seeds reign supreme when it comes to fiber, calcium, phosphorus, and antioxidants, whereas flaxseeds contain higher amounts of protein, folate, potassium, and magnesium. Even though flaxseeds may have more protein, chia seeds are considered a complete protein because they contain all nine essential amino acids.
Although they appear to be neck-and-neck nutritionally, flaxseeds do have their downsides—they tend to go bad rather quickly when stored improperly (keep them in dark, cool places like the fridge) and they do not digest well when consumed whole. In order for the body to absorb all of their valuable nutrients, flaxseeds must be ground prior to eating.
Along with adding the wholesome seeds to your smoothies and oatmeal (or a delicious cherry, white chocolate parfait!), you can also incorporate them into your beauty regimen! Keep reading to find out how flax and chia seeds can promote vivacious curls, glowing skin, and stronger nails with three, all-natural DIY beauty recipes!
Flax & Chia Seeds For Luscious Locks
The abundance of nutrients found in flax and chia seeds strengthen hair, lock in moisture, and prevent breakage. Their anti-inflammatory properties help reduce dryness, dandruff, and other scalp conditions. A consistent diet rich in seeds may also prevent male baldness and improve cicatricial alopecia—a severe case of hair loss. If you suffer from a flaky scalp or simply want to prevent hair breakage, incorporate flax and chia seeds into your diet and try this hair gel recipe!
How To Make Chia Seed Hair Gel:
In a saucepan, warm 3 cups of chia seeds in 1 cup of filtered water on medium heat until it thickens into a gel-like mixture. Strain out the chia seeds and blend in 1 tablespoon of aloe vera. For a pleasant scent, add 5 drops of your favorite essential oil (such as tea tree or rosemary oil) and comb through dampened hair.
Flax & Chia Seeds For Healthy Skin
A diet rich in flaxseeds and chia seeds can also improve the look and feel of your skin. Flax and chia seeds contain several skin-friendly nutrients such as zinc, fiber, lignans and omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-Linoleic acids) that help smooth the skin, fight wrinkles, prevent acne, and heal unsightly blemishes. When consumed regularly, the fatty acids in the seeds also lock in moisture to prevent dry, itchy skin and alleviate skin irritations such as rashes, psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema. Along with being used internally, the seeds work exceptionally well when applied topically. You can use flax or chia seed oil directly on the skin or use the seeds in an exfoliating scrub for smooth, glowing skin. Here’s how!
How To Make Chia Seed Exfoliating Scrub:
Combine 1/4 cup of coconut oil, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of chia seeds in a bowl. (Pictured is liquid coconut oil—regular coconut oil works best because it contains lauric acid which further helps to fight acne and infections. Traditional coconut oil will give your scrub a white, creamy consistency.) Mix the 3 ingredients together and let them sit for 15 minutes until they thicken. Be sure to patch test a small amount of the mixture on your skin to prevent irritated skin or breakouts.
Dampen your face with warm water and gently apply the scrub in a circular motion using a washcloth or a cleansing brush (depending on your skin’s sensitivity) to exfoliate your skin. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes then remove with a damp washcloth. Rinse your face with cold water and store the remaining mixture in a mason jar. If you have ground flaxseeds, you can also try this recipe to make a facial mask using only two simple ingredients!
Flax & Chia Seeds For Stronger Nails
If you’re tired of cracked cuticles or weak nails, a diet rich in these seeds can greatly improve the look of your nails when consumed regularly thanks to the high amounts of protein, fatty acids, and calcium they contain. You can also massage flaxseed or chia seed oil directly onto your nails to help stimulate growth and strengthen your nails. Try this quick and easy nail serum!
How To Make Flaxseed Nail Serum:
Boil 1 cup of whole flaxseeds in 3 cups of filtered water until it thickens. Strain the seeds and add 5 drops of lavender or jojoba essential oil (they work wonders for nails!) to the mixture, stir, and let cool. Apply the serum to bare nails and let it dry. Repeat on a daily basis for unbreakable nails!
Have you experienced a change in your hair, skin, or nails since using flax seeds and chia seeds?
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Photo: Tiko Giorgadze on Unsplash, Audrey Enjoli, Peaceful Dumpling