Ground flaxseed or flaxseed oil which is better?
Flax or flaxseed also known as linseed has been cultivated since very ancient times. Based on recent discoveries in pre-historic Georgia, the flax plant was being used as early as 30,000BC. Ancient Egyptians used flax to make linen due to its durable fibers. Discoveries of flax use in Northern Europe dates back to Neolithic times. Flaxseed in roasted powdered form has been extensively used in Indian cooking for ages.
Flax seeds are being rediscovered as an important dietary supplement owing to its fiber content, high omega-3 fatty acids, lignans, B vitamins, magnesium, manganese and micronutrients.
Flax is available as whole flaxseeds, ground or milled flaxseeds and flaxseed oil. Whole flaxseeds which can be brown or golden are the most stable and can be stored at room temperature for a long time. Both varieties have the same nutrients. It is more economical to purchase whole flaxseeds and then grind them yourself with a flaxseed grinder, coffee grinder, spice grinder or blender. Ground flax seeds are a whole food unlike oil which is an extract. Ground flax seeds tend to contain more nutrients than flaxseed oil
However ground flax seeds can go rancid in a week unless stored in a refrigerator in an air-tight container. Ground or milled flaxseed can be stored for 4 -9 months at room temperature if immediately sealed and not exposed to light and air.
Of the three forms of flaxseed available in the market, flaxseed oil is most subject to oxidation even though it is convenient to use. It should never be heated or used in cooking as heat will destroy its nutrients. Flaxseed oil can be consumed as is or added to foods like salads, smoothies and yogurt.
Generally whole flaxseeds or milled flaxseeds contain more nutrients than the oil extract.
Flaxseed meal can be had along with other nuts and seeds as part of a nutritious breakfast. It can be used in making low carb baked goods. Generally 1-2 tablespoons of flaxseed along with plenty of water is recommended daily.