By Nigel Kinbrum
How do I eat flaxseeds & flaxseed oil?
Flaxseeds (also known as linseeds) have a fibrous seed coat which swells-up when wet and passes through our guts undigested.
To get the benefit of the protein, omega-3 essential fatty acids and minerals in flaxseeds, the seeds need to be crushed, cracked, chopped-up, sliced-up or ground-up using a coffee grinder, adjustable pepper grinder, pestle & mortar or most simply, a blender. The resulting powder can be mixed with liquids or sprinkled on foods, though extra fluid must be drunk as the soluble fibre absorbs lots of water.
Although whole flaxseeds will keep at room temperature, once ground, it’s advisable to keep them refrigerated to minimise oxidation of the exposed fat.
What’s in flaxseeds and flaxseed oil?
For the full nutrient breakdown of flaxseeds check out https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3163/2 and set serving size to 100g.
For the full nutrient breakdown of flaxseed oil check out https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fats-and-oils/7554/2 and set serving size to 100g.
Flaxseed oil must be kept refrigerated at all times after opening and must never be used for cooking. It’s okay sprinkled over hot food as long as the food is eaten shortly afterwards.
Oxidised flaxseed oil tastes bitter and has lost any health benefits it had when fresh, so it should be discarded or used to varnish something or thin down putty. Unoxidised flaxseed oil has a nutty kind of taste or it may taste a bit like tea. Ground-up flaxseeds hardly taste of anything.
How much flaxseeds and flaxseed oil do I need to eat each day?
As men are much poorer converters of alpha-linolenic acid (the omega-3 fatty acid in linseeds) into the longer-chain omega-3 fatty acids than women (1,2), men need to eat approximately 50g of ground flaxseeds per day and women need to eat approximately 25g per day. The suggested daily amount of flaxseed oil for men is 20g and the daily amount for women is 10g.
Where can I buy flaxseeds and flaxseed oil?
Flaxseeds / linseeds come in different colours. The cheapest linseeds are brown ones which are often found sold as bird seed in pet shops, but can also be found in high street health food stores. There are also golden linseeds, which is the type most often found in supermarkets.
Linusit and Granovita are two well-known brands. Granovita organic flaxseed oil is a good brand and comes in dark glass bottles to keep the light out, as light causes oxidation of omega-3 fatty acids.