If you are looking for flaxseed in the trade, you have the choice between crushed or whole grains. But in which form are they the healthiest?
Flaxseeds provide many healthy nutrients. For example, they are full of fiber, protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which protect our intestines, our heart and our immune system, among other things.
Flaxseeds in particular are known to be a good digestive aid. This is due to the mucilage contained in their shells: these substances bind water in the intestine and swell up, which increases the volume of the stool and stimulates digestion.
However, if you want to include flaxseed in your diet, you should clearly give preference to crushed, i.e. coarsely ground grains.
Is ground flaxseed healthier?
Flaxseeds can only really develop their positive effects if they have been crushed beforehand. Because the shell of whole flaxseed can hardly be broken open in the gastrointestinal tract. As a result, their valuable ingredients can hardly escape to the outside.
So it makes more sense to buy already ground flaxseeds or to use whole flaxseeds and grind them fresh before the meal. In this way, the healthy mucus can be better absorbed. Squeezing also causes some linseed oil to escape. This is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which, among other things, can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Buying ground flaxseed: What should you watch out for?
If you want to buy ground flaxseed, you’d better choose a smaller pack. Because ground grains, unlike whole flaxseeds, quickly become rancid through contact with oxygen and then taste bitter. Fresh flaxseeds, on the other hand, have a nutty aroma.
In addition, you should prefer products of organic quality and from regional cultivation. This avoids pesticides and long transport routes. Because flaxseed is considered a “native” superfood because the flax plant also grows in Germany and other European countries. In fact, however, the oilseeds are often imported from countries such as Russia, India or China. We therefore advise you to take a close look at the packaging beforehand.
It is best to keep the flaxseed in a dry, dark and cool place. This also applies to whole grains. Be sure to seal the pack airtight after opening. It is best to fill the seeds in a screw-on glass.
Easily grind flaxseed yourself
A good alternative is to buy whole flax seeds and grind them yourself. The advantage: Whole grains spoil much more slowly. They remain edible for up to two years if properly stored.
In principle, a simple mortar is sufficient for crushing. To do this, place a portion of the seeds in the mortar and pestle, then use the pestle and rub in a circular motion until the grains are the desired consistency.
If you own a grain mill or a coffee grinder, you can of course also use these. Whichever method you choose, it is important that you only grind the seeds in small quantities and use them immediately. Because freshly ground flaxseed can be kept for a maximum of seven days.
How often should you eat flaxseed?
In general, you should eat no more than one to two tablespoons (15 grams) of flaxseed per meal, based on three main meals per day. Important: drink plenty of water. Otherwise, the mucous substances can “stick together” and lead to constipation – or even to a life-threatening intestinal obstruction.
Incidentally, linseed is only recommended in small doses, since it releases hydrocyanic acid and can absorb the cadmium contained in the soil. Cadmium is a toxic heavy metal that can damage the kidneys over time.