Does ground flaxseed have more health benefits than whole flaxseed?

Answer From Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

Most nutrition experts recommend ground over whole flaxseed because the ground form is easier to digest. Whole flaxseed may pass through your intestine undigested, which means you won't get all the benefits.

Flaxseed's health benefits come from the fact that it's high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as phytochemicals called lignans. One tablespoon (7 grams) of ground flaxseed contains 2 grams of polyunsaturated fatty acids (includes the omega 3s), 2 grams of dietary fiber and 37 calories.

Flaxseed is commonly used to improve digestive health or relieve constipation. Flaxseed may also help lower total blood cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol levels, which may help reduce the risk of heart disease.

You can buy flaxseed in bulk — whole or ground — at many grocery stores and health food stores. Whole seeds can be ground at home using a coffee grinder or food processor.

Tips for including flaxseed in your diet:

  • Add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed to your hot or cold breakfast cereal.
  • Add a teaspoon of ground flaxseed to mayonnaise or mustard when making a sandwich.
  • Mix a tablespoon of ground flaxseed into an 8-ounce container of yogurt.
  • Bake ground flaxseed into cookies, muffins, breads and other baked goods.

Like other sources of fiber, flaxseed should be taken with plenty of water or other fluids. Flaxseed shouldn't be taken at the same time as oral medications. As always, talk with your doctor before trying any dietary supplements.

Feb. 02, 2021 See more Expert Answers

See also

  1. Add flax to your baking
  2. Calcium
  3. Calcium for better bones
  4. Calcium supplements for men
  5. Timing calcium supplements
  6. Calcium: Think outside the carton
  7. COVID-19 and vitamin D
  8. Can vitamins help prevent a heart attack?
  9. Can zinc supplements help treat hidradenitis suppurativa?
  10. Vitamin C and mood
  11. Eye vitamins: Can they prevent or treat glaucoma?
  12. Fiber supplements
  13. Flaxseed best when ground
  14. Flaxseed for breakfast?
  15. Heartburn medicines and B-12 deficiency
  16. Herbal supplements
  17. I have heavy periods. Should I take an iron pill?
  18. Integrative medicine: Different techniques, one goal
  19. Kratom and pregnancy: Not a safe mix
  20. Multivitamins for kids
  21. Nutrition: Does it come in a pill?
  22. Percent Daily Value
  23. Prebiotics, probiotics and your health
  24. Prenatal vitamins
  25. Magnesium supplements
  26. Nutritional supplements
  27. Are dietary supplements right for you?
  28. Bromelain
  29. Calories and nutrients to fuel sports performance
  30. Curcumin
  31. Dietary supplements: What to know before you buy
  32. Is your dietary supplement safe?
  33. Melatonin
  34. Smart practices for healthy living
  35. Tips for staying supplement savvy
  36. What are omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil?
  37. What are probiotics?
  38. What are multivitamin/mineral dietary supplements?
  39. What is Boswellia?
  40. What is ginger?
  41. What is whey protein?
  42. Vitamin C megadoses
  43. Vitamin C: An essential nutrient
  44. Vitamin D and MS: Any connection?
  45. Vitamin D: Can it prevent Alzheimer's & dementia?
  46. Vitamin D deficiency
  47. Can having vitamin D deficiency cause high blood pressure?
  48. Vitamin D: Essential with calcium
  49. Vitamin D for babies
  50. Vitamin D toxicity
  51. Vitamins for MS: Do supplements make a difference?
  52. What does a 'seal of approval' mean?
  53. Wheatgrass