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Flax Seed - Ground or Whole?

Question…I am under the impression that to be of nutritive value flax needs to be ground? Am I correct?

A relative of mine is eating hers whole because CURVES told her it would only help her…ummmm elimination issues, if it is whole.

Can someone clarify the fiber benefits…ground vs. whole?

Thanks! AG

Its a couple of years since I read Udo’s book but if I remember correctly whole flax seed passes straight through the body and you don’t gain any nutritive benefit from it.

I’ve always understood that it has to be ground in order for the nutritive properties to be absorped…

Yep, I just checked Berardi’s “Gourmet Nutrition” and it confirmed this. (I definitely recommend it… GM rocks! Can’t wait to get Precision Nutrition)

So, grind your flax seeds, or they’ll pass right through ya!

Her claim was it will not help her ‘go’ if it is ground. I’m certain that is incorrect but I didn’t want to come off as a know it all.

Everone is correct. Flaxseeds cannot be digested if ingested whole. The outer shell is not penetrated, thus trapping all the nutrients inside. As for being regular, either will work, though I’d imagine the milled would probably help here more also.

As for grinding, can I just say my coffee grinder does this trick waaaaay better than my food processor.

I buy my flax seeds pre-milled and keep them in an air tight can in the refrigerator. I use them to in my yogurt, shakes, in waffle mix, and under pizza dough to keep it from sticking to the pan. No only does milled flax seed digest easier than whole, it can be used as a substitute for fat in a recipe.

if you ever eat them unground, you will find whole flax seeds in your feces, they just scrape ya out.

in this case isn’t the point that it doesn’t digest as well, hence the whole seeds, thereby aiding in elimination ?

[quote]swivel wrote:
in this case isn’t the point that it doesn’t digest as well, hence the whole seeds, thereby aiding in elimination ?[/quote]

That is what she was told and i’m trying to find out if this is true. Her goal is not nutritive but regulatory.

whole flax is fine if she wants to increase in insoluble fiber without increasing calories. But no, she won’t get other benefits.

Still, flax is kind of overrated imo. If she’s trying to lose weight and increase regularity, whole is fine.

I have been buying my flax seed in the baking section at walmart in a box like a cereal box. Is there any difference in this and the vacuum packed stuff they sell in the pharmacy?

Wouldn’t ground up seed give you the best of both world. Good for your intestine, and you get the added nutritional value?

Plus it sucks wiping with seeds in your waste.

I am pretty sure you get more nutrition if it is ground, but you are asking as far as helping you be regular. Catherine and I used milled flax seed with our V Diet (per Shugart’s recommendation). Neither of us had any issues in that area, and I am certain that would not have been the case if we had not used the milled flax seed.


Ground flax is also high in fiber - but it’s not low in calories. If she’s at Curves, you can bet she’s trying to lose weight. A tbsp a day of ground would be okay, but not too much. A combination of ground and whole might solve the “which one” dilemma.

Also, just eating an overall high fibre diet is critical. If she eats low fiber and thinks a little flax will make the difference, she’ll be disappointed. Veggies, veggies, veggies. And some low GI fruit too (apples!). Something about pectin (with a little coffee) really gets things moving!


If she is only looking for the ‘bulking’ effect of the insoluble nature of the flax seed, then she might as well just use a different ‘fiber’ supplement. Any of the OTC fiber supps would do the trick, Benefiber, Citracel, Metamucil, you name it. They would be cheaper for that purpose, plus, if by chance she had any diverticula, the small flax seeds could potentially get stuck in one of those outpouchings and cause inflammation/infection.

She will still get fiber from the flax when it is ground, plus she will get the other benefits as well. It will contibute calories. Also, the ground flax should not pose the problem with diverticula that I mentioned earlier.

Hope that helps.

Take care,


[quote]Jinx Me wrote:
Still, flax is kind of overrated imo. [/quote]

I ditched flax for years on that same basis. Until I found this little wonder: Omega Nutrition Hi-Lignan Nutri-Flax certified organic Flax Seed Protein.

Nutrition Facts (per 9 grams, 1 tablespoon)

Calories 35
Fat 1 g (I will spare the breakdown)
Sodium 5 mg
Carbohydrate 3.5 (of which 3 grams of fibre, broken down into 1 g of soluble fiber and 2 g of insoluble fiber)
Protein 3.5

A protein + fibre supplement, without gluten. Excellent for my gluten-sensitive gut. :slight_smile:

Not too costly either, CAN 6.59 pre-tax for a 227 g / 8 oz container.

(Nice avatar by the way.)

I know this thread is a little old, but here’s my $.02:

Pick up Udo Erasmus’s book Fats that Heal Fats that Kill. It explains the benefits of flax better than what any of us can summarize here. I found it cheap used on Amazon.

Here’s what I do: I alternate ground flax with psyllium and a product called Super Seed Beyond Fiber from Garden of Life. Another good fiber supplement is Colonix Internal Cleanser from www.drnatura.com. I alternate just to make sure that I don’t get any kind of dependency on a particular type/product.

I personally don’t take OTC fibers, especially citrucel. The fiber type in citrucel has shown to do nothing about aiding cholesterol elimination (just pure cellulose, I believe). The fiber found in flax, okra, and apple pectin has shown to be very good at getting rid of excess intestinal cholesterol. Flax, psyllium, apple and grapefruit fibers aren’t expensive (cheaper than OTC, I’ve found).

I was diagnosed with diverticulosis last year (the pain of diverticulitis is not fun, trust me) and I decided to take intestinal health much more seriously. Either that or end up with a colostomy. Screw that.

Despite what some people may think, flax seeds are not a danger to people with this condition (at least not according to the Mayo Clinic). Some seeds and nuts should be avoided, but for the most part it’s ok to eat just about anything. Just go look for diverticulitis on the Mayo Clinic website if you want to read more about that.

Your lady should get at least 25 grams of fiber per day. The fats present in ground flax will not make her fat, and will aid in ease of elimination and improving her skin. Plus, the mucilage in flax is a great benefit as it has shown to be a gentle laxative.

Just buy the whole seeds and grind them when needed, to keep it as fresh as possible. I bought a Krups coffee grinder for less than $20 and it rocks. I just throw a tablespoon of flax into it, grind for a few seconds then throw them into my shakes (just not the PWO shakes) and into yogurt.

ground flax is best for the reasons above. Anyone using whole flax as a means of calorie free fiber needs to rethink their thinking, if you will.

Calories are necessary to lose weight. without them your metabolism will stall out ah la my sister. and it sucks.

A HOT TIP for grinding your flax::

Get the whole seeds bulk

take them over to the coffe grinding thingy in the coffee section of your grocery store

run some hazel nut columbian through it (or any coffee flav that gets ya)

then run your flax through that bad boy now you have ground hazelnut coffee flavoured flax. So good with choco meta drive.

Purchase as whole seeds (usually cheaper) cashiers don’t care.

Tell them they need to clean the coffee grinder (oil goes rancid, it’s only polite and keeps em busy)