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Basil Seeds And Chia Seeds: What Is the Difference Between These Two Seeds ?

basil seeds and chia seeds

Basil seeds and chia seeds are both popular seeds known for their nutritional value and health benefits. However, they differ in appearance, taste, nutritional content, culinary uses and more. Here’s more information on the comparison of basil seeds vs chia seeds.

Nutritional profiles

Basil seeds, also known as sabja seeds or tukmaria, are derived from the sweet basil plant (Ocimum basilicum). These tiny black seeds are rich in dietary fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, C, and K, and minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron.

Chia seeds come from the Salvia hispanica plant native to Central America. They are known for their exceptional nutritional value, high fiber, complete protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

Basil seeds and chia seeds

Health benefits

Basil seeds have a high fiber content that promotes healthy digestion, controls appetite, regulates blood sugar, and has a natural cooling effect on the body, making them a popular ingredient in seed drinks in summer.

Chia seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. They offer sustained energy, promote satiety, and aid in weight loss by forming a gel-like substance when mixed with water.

Read more: 10 Benefits Of Basil Seeds And How To Drink


These are insightful details on basil seeds’ physical characteristics and appearance versus chia seeds. Let’s review the key differences:

  • Basil seeds are smaller and rounder in shape compared to chia seeds.
  • Basil seeds are black when dry but turn gray with a gelatinous outer layer when soaked in water.
  • Chia seeds are slightly larger and have an oval shape, coming in black and white varieties.
  • When soaked in water, chia seeds develop a gel-like coating, which is less prominent than the basil seeds.

These distinct physical attributes can be useful in visually differentiating between the two types of seeds and identifying them in various product applications.

Basil seeds and chia seeds


Basil seeds are described as having a mild, neutral flavor profile. This makes them versatile for incorporation into a wide range of dishes and beverages without overpowering other ingredients.

Chia seeds, conversely, are known to have a mild, nutty flavor. This subtle nutty taste can complement many food and drink applications.


The key differentiator is basil seeds’ more pronounced gel-like texture when soaked in liquid. This gelatinous quality can impart a unique mouthfeel and consistency to the final product.

Chia seeds also develop a gel-like coating when soaked, but it is generally less prominent and pronounced than basil seeds’ texture.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Basil seeds contain a relatively low amount of omega-3 fatty acids, especially compared to chia seeds. The primary omega-3 fatty acid in basil seeds is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

In contrast, chia seeds are widely recognized for their exceptionally high omega-3 content, primarily as ALA. Chia seeds can contain up to 5-6 grams of ALA per 100 grams of seeds, making them an excellent plant-based source of this essential fatty acid.

Basil seeds and chia seeds

Culinary Uses

Basil seeds are commonly used in Asian cuisine, particularly in beverages and desserts like the traditional Indian drink falooda. They have a gel-like texture and can be added to smoothies, salads, and yogurt-based products for their unique mouthfeel.

Chia seeds are versatile and can be added to smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, and baked goods. They can also be used as a thickening agent and are commonly used in puddings for their ability to form a gel-like consistency when soaked in liquid.

Absorption and Expansion

Basil seeds quickly absorb water and expand, creating a gel-like coating around the seeds. Their fast absorption and expansion make them suitable for applications where an immediate gel-like texture is desired, such as in beverages, puddings, or some baked goods.

Chia seeds absorb water and expand, but this process takes longer than basil seeds to achieve a gel-like texture. This slower absorption is beneficial for recipes like overnight oats, chia puddings, and certain baked goods that require the seeds to maintain their integrity.


Chia seeds have become widely mainstream and are readily available in most mainstream grocery stores, health food stores, and online retailers.

In contrast, basil seeds are more commonly found in specialty or ethnic grocery stores, particularly those catering to Asian or Middle Eastern cuisines.

This broader availability of chia seeds makes them more accessible to a wider range of consumers than the more niche availability of basil seeds.

Basil seeds and chia seeds


Chia seeds tend to be more affordably priced compared to basil seeds. The increased production and supply of chia seeds, driven by their growing popularity, has helped keep prices more competitive for consumers.

Basil seeds, on the other hand, are often more expensive due to their limited production and demand and the specialized nature of the ingredients.

Both basil seeds and chia seeds have unique characteristics and offer health benefits. While basil seeds are known for their gel-like texture, chia seeds are more widely recognized for their omega-3 fatty acid content and versatility in cooking. The choice between the two can depend on personal preference and the specific culinary applications you have in mind. Thanks to the great benefits of basil seed drinks, they are increasingly consumed worldwide.

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