Flaxseed: Is ground better than whole?

Ground Flaxseed

Ground Flaxseed

Ground flaxseed is also referred to as ‘flaxseed meal’ or ‘milled flaxseed’. Don’t be confused by the different terminology as there is no difference between the phrases. They are products resulting from flaxseed being ground-down or milled, to produce a fine powder.

Why Do We Have Ground Flaxseed?

If flaxseed is consumed as ‘whole seeds’ i.e. pre-milled. The seeds will generally pass straight through the intestinal tract and out of the body without any of the healthy compounds being absorbed.

This is because the hard outer shell that protects the delicate seed and its valuable nutrients are very hard to break.

The shell needs to be split for the body to benefit from these nutrients and oils. The easiest way to do this is through grinding or milling.

The Growing Popularity of Ground Flaxseed

With the increased interest and demand for natural health products, flaxseed is becoming more and more popular, with all kinds of foods now containing ground flaxseed.

How Much Ground Flaxseed Should I Eat?

There is no recommended daily allowance for consuming flaxseed. An original pioneer in the study of flaxseed and its health benefits.

States that “One tablespoon of ground flaxseed a day may provide some health benefits in some cases and is most likely safe”.

For the average adult consuming 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed a day will not incur any ill effects and yet could potentially have a very significant impact, including many health benefits such as:

“Preventing and treating cancerous tumor growth including colon, prostate, and breast cancer.”

Improved intestinal health. Flaxseed has shown to prevent constipation and better regulate bowel functions.

  • It helps to lower total and LDL cholesterol levels.
  • Anti-inflammatory properties can help prevent and treat joint problems such as rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Cardiovascular benefits. Flaxseed can help prevent heart disease including strokes and blood clots.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids found in flaxseed is good for bone health.
  • May help lower high blood pressure.

And that’s just what we do know of. More research is uncovering further health advantages, and make this little seed an incredibly important food source we should all be eating more of.

For centuries flaxseed has been used as a health food. It is only now, through scientific tests we can prove its worth.

If you have a specific condition such as high cholesterol then you might want to increase this amount to 2 or 3 tablespoons a day. Bear in mind this is a lot of ground flaxseed to consume, but it is a natural food source and certainly beats taking potentially dangerous statin drugs with their horrendous side effects!

“Studies have shown that a diet containing flaxseed had the same cholesterol lowering effect on patients as did taking statin drugs.”

To Grind or Not to Grind

So flaxseed can be purchased as ground flaxseed (flaxseed meal) or as whole flaxseed. Ground flaxseed gives you the convenience of simply spooning. It straight from the bag onto your food.

The only draw-back with ground flaxseed is its shelf life and the cost. Once the flaxseed is exposed to air it will turn rancid unless stored in a dark, airtight container. Preferably in the refrigerator or the freezer. Doing so will keep it fresh for around 3 months. So still quite a long shelf life if you use it daily.

Ground flaxseed is also more expensive than whole flaxseed due to the cold milled processing and storing.

I prefer to buy my flaxseed whole and grind it up myself. Whole flaxseed is very cheap, can be stored easily and will last around 12 months or more.

Buy a good quality coffee/spice grinder and you’ll have fresh, ground flaxseed within seconds!

I bought a great coffee/spice grinder from Amazon for less than $25 and it has been used every day for well over a year now. Here’s the link to the grinder I use – Krups 203-42 Electric Coffee and Spice Grinder.

Another advantage of grinding flaxseed yourself is that you can decide how crunchy or fine you want it. Some people prefer a more crunchy taste, whereas others like a finely ground powder.

Where Can I Buy Ground Flaxseed?

If you still prefer to buy the convenience of flaxseed already ground for you, then I recommend Bob’s Red Mill Organic Flaxseed Meal – also available from Amazon.com

How to Use Ground Flaxseed

So much more appealing than tasteless and gritty fiber supplements, ground flaxseed needs no special preparation – just sprinkle on your favorite foods or stir into juice or another beverage.

The taste is subtle and the crunchy nutty flavor can be added to baked goods, cereals, yogurt, smoothies, soups, salads, and banana slices to boost their nutritive value.

You could even coat fish or homemade chicken nuggets in ground flaxseed and oven-bake for a delicious family treat.