Are you eating flaxseeds wrong?

Ground Seeds, Whole Seeds, and Flax Oil

Flaxseeds are rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber. Yet there has been debate about which form of consumption is the most beneficial to retaining all of the seed’s nutritional benefits.

Whole Seeds

According to a study by Ganorkar and Jain, 2013, protein percentages are highest in whole seeds compared to oils. Whole seeds are also linked to the greatest effect on lowering blood pressure (Khalesi et al.,2015).

Ground Flaxseed

Most scientists and dietitians agree that grounding flaxseed will lead to the best absorption of nutrients. Whole seeds may pass through the system undigested.

Flax Oil

Flax oil (along with canola oil) has the least amount of the often undesirable saturated fatty acids. Flax oil also has a modest amount of more desirable monounsaturated fatty acids (Ganorkar and Jain, 2013).

So does it matter how you eat a flaxseed? 

I would recommend grounding flax seed or using flax oil, but in the end it really doesn’t matter. Sure you will absorb nutrients better in ground flax seeds, but same thing goes with other foods like corn.

**Be careful about how you store it. If you grind your own flaxseed (can be done in a coffee grinder), make sure to refrigerate and use within a week. When you grind and heat the seeds, the oils can go rancid. This is not a problem with store-bought flaxseed oil which has not been exposed to heat and thus does not need to be refrigerated.

Tips on incorporating flaxseed in your diet:

  • Add a few tbsp to your flour (can also be used as an egg replacement!)
  • Add 1 tsp ground flaxseed to mayonnaise or mustard for your sandwhich
  • Mix into yogurt, smoothies, overnight oats
  • Sprinkle on top of cookies, muffins, breads
  • Make your own flaxseed salad dressings


The possibilities are endless!


Ganorkar, P. M., and R. K. Jain. “Flaxseed – a Nutritional Punch.” Food Research International 20.2 (2013): 519-25. Web. 25 May 2015.

Khalesi, S., C. Irwin, and M. Schubert. ‘Flaxseed Consumption May Reduce Blood Pressure: A Systematic Review And Meta-Analysis Of Controlled Trials’. Journal of Nutrition 145.4 (2015): 758-765. Web. 26 May 2015.

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