How To Benefit From This Superfood

If you aren’t eating flaxseed every day already, find out how! Check out how to buy the very best flax for your body and how to use it in your baking and cooking.

It seems like everyone has heard how good flaxseeds are for your health — whether eaten to prevent cancer, reduce pain or the seed’s many other superfood benefits.

There are three forms of flaxseeds:

1. Raw whole flaxseeds
2. Flaxseed meal
3. Flaxseed oil

Let’s start with flaxseed oil since, in some ways, it’s the simplest.

Make Sure You Purchase the Best Flaxseed Oil

  • Buy only refrigerated flaxseed oil stored in black containers.
  • It is important that it is cold pressed and organic. It’s worth the expense since the Omega 3′s are so beneficial.
  • Buy flaxseed oil in smaller containers depending on how fast you use it. Flaxseed oil easily turns rancid.

Flaxseed oil has amazing benefits, but must be kept fresh.

How Long Before Flaxseed Oil Goes Rancid? + How to Store

  • Use within 6 weeks of opening the container; the oil easily turns rancid.
  • Keep flaxseed oil refrigerated at all times with the lid on tight; do not leave out on the counter for hours.
  • Minimize exposure to heat, light and air. Store flaxseed oil in black containers.

How to Add Flaxseed Oil to Your Diet:

1. Never cook with flax oil! There are much better oils for frying and cooking. Any oil high in essential fatty acids is not good for cooking. The heat turns the healthy fats into toxic ones.
2. Flax oil taken with other food can increase the nutritional value of other foods.
3. Add the oil to your homemade salad dressings.
4. Add flax oil to foods just before serving; pour a little on cooked vegetables and healthy grains while they are already on your plate.
5. Put some in your smoothies.

The other two categories, whole flaxseed and flaxseed meal, overlap since you will NOT use whole flaxseeds by themselves and will instead turn them into usable flax meal.

The body can't easily digest whole flaxseed so it must be broken down.

Purchasing Flaxseeds and Meal for Consumption

  • Reminder: Flaxseeds need to be ground into meal to make the nutrients available. No one ever fully chews the seeds thus whole seeds pass undigested through the intestines.
  • Check to see the “Best Before” date on packaged flaxseeds and meal.
  • The bag should be opaque and vacuum packed. Light and oxygen will turn the meal rancid quicker.
  • Purchase from a source where you’re sure there is rapid turnover.
  • Ideally the meal should be refrigerated at the store.

Note: There are two varieties of flaxseeds for consumption: golden and brown flaxseeds.

Brown flaxseed has only slightly more nutrients, so for cooking I prefer the golden flaxseed as it is lighter in flavor and easier to sneak in my baking.

How Long Before Flaxseed Meal Goes Rancid + How To Store

  • Flaxseed meal when packaged in a gas-flushed, light protective container and refrigerated after opening will last 6-16 weeks.
  • Whole flaxseeds will last for 6-12 months when stored in an airtight container in a dark, cool dry spot. When immediately refrigerated, they can last for 1-2 years.
  • Conflicting information:  some studies suggest that coarsely ground flax seeds can be stored at room temperature for up to 10 months, without spoilage or loss of the omega-3 fatty acid.
  • Flaxseeds have a mild nutty taste; if there is a bitter taste then they have gone bad and should be thrown out.

Caution about Flaxseeds:

If you have a significant digestive disorder, the fiber/laxative effect of flax could be serious. The National Institutes of Health recommends that people with bowel problems or diseases should not consume flaxseed. People with strong digestive systems can eat up to five tablespoons per day with no problems.

Some researchers are concerned about the levels of cyanide compounds (cyanogenic glycosides) in flaxseed, but all studies so far have shown that they do not create the anticipated problems in the body. Heat, especially on dry flax seeds, breaks these compounds down. U.S. government agencies say that 3 tablespoons of flaxseed meal is safe and is probably a good dose for health purposes.

My favorite variety of flaxseed for cooking: golden flax meal.

How to Add Flaxseeds to Your Diet:

It’s best for you to make your own flaxseed meal for freshness, and it is easy to do; see my video: How to Prepare Flax Seed Meal

Baking with Flaxseed meal:

Heat doesn’t have the same effect on whole flaxseeds that it does on the oil. Studies testing omega-3 fat in baked goods found no significant loss of beneficial fats occurring. Want flax seeds in your meals and baked goods? Flax meal is the answer.

In my kitchen, flaxseed meal is an important ingredient in my cakes, muffins, quick breads and cookies, because all my baking is vegan meaning there are no eggs or milk. The flax meal helps it all stick together.

I also find the flax meal a extremely useful ingredient in my detox classes.

Flax meal is an often used egg replacer.

Egg replacer:

1 Tbsp. Golden Flaxseed meal (ground flax seeds)

3 Tbsp. Water

Mix flax seed meal and water in a bowl and let it sit for two to three minutes to thicken it, before adding it to the recipe.

Fat replacer:

3 parts flaxseed meal for 1 part oil

Baked goods with flax meal tend to brown more quickly than regular recipes; you may need to modify normal cooking times.

Delicious Recipes With Flaxseed in Them

Orange Spring Cleanse Green Smoothie - The foods in this smoothie are chosen for springtime cleansing. 

Pear Upside Down Cake – Vegan Gluten Free - Wow!  This tastes good and it is GOOD for you.

Cranberry-Celery-Onion Stuffing - You don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving or Christmas to enjoy this recipe!



Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson4 years ago

Flax seed...

Elena T.
Elena Poensgen4 years ago

Thank you :)

Colin Hope
Colin Hope4 years ago

Thanks for sharing!!

Tanya W.
Tanya W4 years ago

Heard of flax but never tried it .

Tanya W.
Tanya W4 years ago


Jonathan Harper
Jonathan Harper4 years ago


Panchali Yapa
Panchali Yapa4 years ago

Interesting. Thank you

heather g.
heather g4 years ago

I would have appreciated hearing why flaxseed contains cyanide...........

I do know that flaxseed is more nutritious than chia seeds - but then they may not contain cyanide....

Zahra I.
Zahra I4 years ago

Thanks for the article!! I try to include flax seeds in my meals whenever I can!

june t.
reft h4 years ago

I won't be buying the oil because I know I won't use it up before it goes bad. I always have flax seed on hand, either ground flax or whole seed, and I always put a spoonful in anything I bake, pancakes etc. I haven't gotten into using it in smoothies though, I may try that. I don't believe the "superfood" hype, I just figure it will add a little something good and somewhat healthy.