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Frequently Asked Questions


Is it safe to use flax seeds whole? I have not found anything that will grind whole flax seed.

Flax seeds need to be ground or chewed thoroughly to release the helpful components that our bodies need (the omega-3 fatty acids and the lignans and likely many other molecules). Birds have gizzards to grind up seeds, but our bodies cannot benefit from these compounds unless we individually chew each seed (it can be done but whew! that is tedious) or find some other way to grind them up. Both my blender and coffee grinder easily grind my flax seeds. In fact, I have stopped pre-grinding flax seeds for my soy shake and simply throw them into the blender whole and intact.

Try adding whole flaxseeds to your blender when you make the shake some morning. If the whole seeds are not sitting in the bottom of your blender or cup after making or drinking your shake, then they must have been ground up enough during the blending of the shake. If your blender will not grind them, then it seems you have 3 choices:

(1) buy a blender or coffee grinder with a more powerful motor or sharper blades,

(2) buy pre-ground flax seeds (one brand that I have seen sold in grocery stores and natural food stores is Bob's Red Mill), but be sure to store them in the freezer after opening the package to prevent them from becoming rancid, or

(3) chew, chew, chew!

The web site for Canadian Flax Council (http://www.flaxcouncil.ca/flaxpd5.htm) has lots more info and recipes for flax seeds.


Back to Main QandA Page


Flaxseeds Is it safe to use flaxseeds whole? I have not found anything that will grind whole flaxseed.
Flaxseeds Is the omega-3 fatty acid content of brown flaxseeds and golden flaxseeds really different? updated 4/02
Flaxseeds Do you have more recipes using flaxseeds? posted 1/02, updated 4/02
Breast Cancer Should women with ER+ breast cancer avoid flaxseeds and flax oil that contain the phytoestrogens called lignans?
Flaxseeds Will taking my medications mixed with flaxseed powder and applesauce cause them to not be absorbed? posted 2/02
Flaxseeds How quickly does one need to eat ground flaxseed to prevent spoilage? posted 5/02
Flaxseeds What is the best way to clean out my coffee grinder when switching from grinding my coffee to flaxseeds? posted 12/02
Flaxseeds My husband had prostate cancer. Should he be avoiding flax? posted 4/03
Flaxseeds Does consuming flaxseeds potentially interfere with the anti-estrogen effect of Tamoxifen? posted 9/03, updated 2/04, updated 3/05
Flaxseeds Are flaxseeds safe to eat after heating? posted 1/04
Flaxseeds The May 2004 issue of Prevention Magazine says that women with ER+ breast cancer should not be eating flaxseeds. Do you agree? posted 4/04



These questions and answers are intended to be of a general informative nature. Please consult with the Registered Dietitian in your cancer center or your health care provider for nutritional advice that can be individualized to your specific medical condition.

Contact Information:
Phone/Fax: 734/996-9260

P.O. Box 130221, Ann Arbor, MI  48113

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