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Is Whole or Ground Flaxseed Healthier?

This Type of Flaxseed Is Better at Preventing Belly Bloat

Not a fish fan but you know you should be getting your omega-3s? Look to the amazing flaxseed in order to get your daily recommended amount of 1.1 grams. When perusing the aisles of your grocery store, you'll see they come in two forms — whole and ground. Is one more beneficial than the other? The chart below shows how they compare nutritionally.

1 tbsp. whole flaxseed 1 tbsp. ground flaxseed
Calories 55 37
Total Fat (g) 4 3
Saturated Fat (g) 0 0
Carbs (g) 3 2
Fiber (g) 3 2
Protein (g) 2 1
Calcium (mg) 26.1 17.9
Iron (mg) .6 .4
Omega-3s (g) 2.3 1.6
Omega-6s (g) .6 .4
Folate (mcg) 8.9 6.1

As you can see, they're pretty similar, but it's recommended to consume ground flaxseed because whole flaxseeds just pass right through the body undigested. Eating ground flaxseed allows your body to get the omegas as well as the phytochemicals called lignans, which may have antioxidant actions and may help protect against certain cancers. What about flaxseed oil, you ask? It also contains omegas and lignans, but it has no fiber, so go for the ground flaxseed to keep you regular and to help prevent bloating caused by constipation.

Since the RDI of omega-3s is 1.1 grams a day, just one tablespoon of ground flaxseed added to your smoothie, oatmeal, cereal, or sprinkled in your soup or on your salad is way more than enough. You can also bake with it as an egg substitute in recipes like this protein banana bread.

Join The Conversation
Murat15010717 Murat15010717 3 years
How do you store whole flaxseed once it's opened? It says it should be consumed in a week but two spoonsful of it every morning might as well last me a whole month! Should I throw it away?
Asche Asche 8 years
@Jbenny: that is VERY true. Flax is incredibly high in fiber, so it should do the trick for your child!
Soniabonya Soniabonya 8 years
I've been adding ground flax seed to my cereals, toast, sandwhich and some baked goods for about 2 years now :) Love my flax.
cg130 cg130 8 years
I've never eaten it before! Maybe I'll start.
jbenny jbenny 8 years
My child's dr. recommended flax oil to relieve constipation. Was she wrong? I've been adding it to smoothies since he can detect the ground flax.
meowhubbs meowhubbs 8 years
does anyone have any healthy bread recipes with GROUND (haha) flax seed?
dd-sugar dd-sugar 8 years
I've been eating flax seed for years and buy it by the 50 lb bag! It helped me so much with my dry eye syndrome and dry skin. Some women have had hot flashes reduced with about 4 Tablespoons/day (which is a bit much but can be done). Hopefully more studies will be done but it has so many other benefits. It's a pain to grind but I keep a small batch in the fridge (but not the 50 lb bag obviously!) Much cheaper that way.
Asche Asche 8 years
I had no idea! I've always cooked with whole flax.
1apple 1apple 8 years
I would imagine that if you chew whole flax seeds, you get the same benefits as eating ground up ones...?
Jabbadoo Jabbadoo 8 years
Awww I'm so sad, because I love the crunchy whole seeds. I guess I'll start doing half of each.
luckykarma luckykarma 8 years
I did read somewhere else that your body cannot digest or breakdown the coating unless it is ground, but I heard you get more benefits if you buy whole and grind it yourself. I am gonna try this when I move into my house, I will add to the bread I bake =)
Retro23 Retro23 8 years
I love the texture of whole flax seeds and the benefits of ground flax seeds. I buy whole, and grind up half of them and mix them together before adding a few tablespoons worth to cereal or oatbran!
xtinabeena xtinabeena 8 years
bummer! i didn't know whole flaxseeds just pass through!
Beaner Beaner 8 years
Well that's good to know. I'll start adding ground flaxseed to my bread recipes instead of whole flaxseeds.
pookie-poo pookie-poo 8 years
I always wondered about this.
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