If you are searching for a healthy addition to your morning smoothie, you may be wondering what all of the differences are between basil seeds vs chia seeds. Did you know that basil seeds are often used interchangeably with chia seeds, given their similar nutritional profile and texture? But in what ways are they different from one another?
In this article, we will compare and contrast basil seeds with chia seeds so that you can determine which option is best for you. In addition, we will go over the physical description of both of these seeds as well as what they are typically used for. Finally, we’ll give you a brief overview of the nutritional benefits of both of these options. Let’s get started!
Comparing Basil Seeds vs Chia Seeds
|Typically all black in color and oval shaped. Larger than chia seeds, with a chewy texture if eaten raw. Popular in a number of culinary applications, including as a thickening agent and in medicinal settings
|Ranges in color from white, brown, and black, and is shiny. Smaller than basil seeds, with a crunchy texture when eaten raw. If used in cooking or soaked in any way, chia seeds will absorb liquid and become soft, starchy, and easy to use in recipes that require thickening agents
|Medicinally used for centuries in Chinese medicine, but only recently used in the United States. Can be used interchangeably with chia seeds
|Popular in a number of culinary recipes, including smoothies, oatmeal, and baking. Can be used as a vegan thickening agent or starch enhancer, and has a very faint taste. Often eaten raw on salads
|Full of fiber, calcium, and iron, as well as protein
|Full of antioxidants, fiber, protein, and vitamins, as well as healthy fats
|Basil is known as the king of herbs, given just how versatile it is!
|Extremely popular in the diets of ancient civilizations, including Aztec!
Key Differences Between Basil Seeds vs Chia Seeds
There are a number of key differences between basil seeds and chia seeds. For example, basil seeds are typically larger compared to the diminutive chia seed. In addition, basil seeds have a much chewier texture when eaten raw compared to the easy to chew texture of raw chia seeds. Finally, basil seeds should be soaked prior to eating or consumed with liquid, while chia seeds can be consumed raw without preparation.
Let’s go over both of these superfoods in more detail now!
Basil Seeds vs Chia Seeds: Classification
While they may be nutritionally similar to one another, basil seeds and chia seeds belong to very different plant families. For example, basil seeds are typically taken from the sweet basil plant, known as Ocimum basilicum, while chia seeds are taken from the chia plant, also known as Salvia hispanica.
Basil Seeds vs Chia Seeds: Description
It can be very difficult to tell chia seeds apart from basil seeds, especially if you are looking at them separately. Side by side, you will likely notice that basil seeds are slightly larger than chia seeds. In addition, chia seeds are rounded compared to the oval shape of basil seeds. While chia seeds can be found in white, black, or brown, basil seeds are typically only black in color.
In terms of their texture and taste descriptions, there are some key differences between basil seeds and chia seeds. Basil seeds are chewy and not ideally eaten in a raw fashion, while chia seeds have a mild crunch when consumed raw. In addition, both chia seeds and basil seeds absorb water well, but basil seeds should be soaked or eaten in liquid, while chia seeds do not need to be soaked.
Basil Seeds vs Chia Seeds: Uses
The popularity of chia seeds has skyrocketed over the past couple years, given its fantastic nutritional value, but what about basil seeds? Well, basil seeds are relatively unknown in the United States, but they can be used interchangeably with chia seeds. For example, chia and basil seeds are ideal in smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, and in a variety of baking dishes.
You can also use basil and chia seeds as a thickening agent or binding agent in many vegan or gluten free baking. Both of these options absorb moisture well and form a thickened paste if left to their own devices. However, it is important to note that basil seeds should be soaked before consuming them, while chia seeds do not need this treatment.
Basil Seeds vs Chia Seeds: Nutrition Information
Given the popularity of chia seeds compared to the unknown status of basil seeds, you may be thinking that basil seeds have less nutritional value compared to chia seeds. Far from it. In fact, the nutritional information for both of these seeds is strikingly similar to each other. However, basil seeds have more fiber per serving compared to chia seeds. In addition, chia seeds have far more healthy fats in a single serving compared to basil seeds.
Basil Seeds vs Chia Seeds: Special Features
You already know just how popular chia seeds are, but did you know they were just as popular in ancient times as well? Chia seeds were commonly consumed by Mayan and Aztec civilizations, while basil seeds were commonly used in Chinese medicine, and still are today. Basil plants are often referred to as the king of herbs, given just how many health benefits it has!
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Gam1983
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.