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You Ask, I Answer: Ground Vs. Whole Flaxseeds

My question is about Kashi and Nature’s Path products that claim to have Omega 3’s from flaxseed, but clearly only have whole flaxseeds in their products.

Don’t they need to be ground for our bodies to receive [nutritional benefit[s]?

I’ve always been puzzled by this. Thanks!

– “Glidingcalm”
Via the blog

Yes, only the ground-up form provides all the wonderful nutrition packed inside those tiny seeds.

If you were to thoroughly chew each flaxseed you would theoretically also be getting the same amount of nutrition, but it is very easy to swallow them whole (particularly when they are part of a waffle or cracker), in which case they pass right through the digestive system without contributing their Omega-3 fatty acids or lignans.

To ensure you are getting the most out of this great seed, have ground flaxseed ready to go in your refrigerator or buy whole ones and pulverize them in a coffee grinder.

Keep in mind, though, that many Kashi products (i.e.: their thin crust pizzas) are made with ground flaxseeds.

Similarly, some Nature’s Path cereals (like their flax plus cold cereal with raisins) list “flax meal” as an ingredient, which refers to ground flaxseed.

And so it comes down to a common theme on Small Bites: always read the ingredient list!


One Comment

  1. glidingcalm said on August 12th, 2008

    Thanks for your help, Andy! Sometimes I would see the same thing on Kashi granola bars…and you know, they have that little diagram with the picture on the back pointing to the WHOLE flaxseed as though it was providing us the Omega-3′s and I was always so confused! I really appreciate you answering my Q so quickly too!

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