Is flax healthy? Most of the information regarding flax seeds is positive. They’re a health food.
However, when I started the GAPS diet this was, in part, called into question. I learned that flax should be eaten in moderation and I plan to share with you why.
Since that time, four years ago, I have also read accounts and studies about flax that raise a few more red flags. Let’s look at 5 reasons to exercise caution and moderation when it comes to flax.
There are 5 main points of concern when it comes to consuming flax:
- Is flax an efficient form of fatty acids?
- Does flax cause changes in hormone levels?
- What are the phytate levels in flax?
- Does flax actually reduce inflammation?
- How is flax grown?
Years ago, when I was a vegetarian, I put two heaping tablespoons of flax seed meal on my morning granola every day. Reminiscent of the wheat bran that was marketed as healthy in the 1980’s, I was adding this supplement to my food, trying to get extra omega-3 fatty acids into my diet.
MYTH- FLAX IS A GOOD SOURCE OF OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
As Chris Kresser explains,
Fish contain a variety of fatty acids, but the ones that are believed to confer the majority of the benefits are the long-chain omega-3 fats eicosapentanaenoic [sic] acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These omega-3 fats are found exclusively in seafood and marine algae… it is also possible for the body to synthesize EPA and DHA from the short-chain omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is found in plant foods such as flax… However, research clearly indicates that the conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA is extremely limited. Less than 5% of ALA gets converted to EPA, and less than 0.5% (one-half of one percent) of ALA is converted to DHA. (emphases mine)
The human body does not produce EPA and DHA on its own and flax consumption cannot meet the body’s need for these vital fatty acids. Consuming fresh fish, and some forms of algae to a lesser extent, are the recommended means of obtaining these nutrients. (Refer to this post if you’re trying to get more fish into your diet.)
NEXT QUESTION- WHAT ARE YOUR ESTROGEN LEVELS?
Flax contains phytoestrogens called lignons. As a result, flax can increase estrogen levels and have a blood-thinning effect, lengthening one’s menstrual cycle or causing mid-cycle bleeding. Those who already have high levels of estrogen, who then consume regular amounts of flax seeds or flax oil can experience symptoms including fibrocystic breast tissue, depression, and the aforementioned bleeding.
Many women report heavy periods while consuming gluten-free flax crackers or flax baked goods, unaware of the correlation. Those with low or moderate levels of estrogen may not be affected at all by regular consumption of flax.
Another example of how flax affects hormone levels is seed cycling, a natural method for women to intentionally support the different stages of their cycle. In this scenario flax is used from the 1st day of menstruating until ovulation, to support the body’s production of estrogen. Up to 2 T. daily is recommended. We can see why eating the same volume of flax seeds throughout one’s cycle would cause an hormonal imbalance.
Like all seeds (and nuts) flax contains phytates. This compound can be neutralized by soaking with most seeds and nuts but flax becomes sticky and soaking isn’t effective. Ranking high in phytate content, flax should be eaten in moderation to prevent mineral depletion, the result of eating a high-phytate diet.
DO FLAX SEEDS REDUCE INFLAMMATION?
All omega-3s reduce inflammation. But as we’ve discussed above, very little omega-3 fatty acid is derived from flax seeds. Therefore, touting flax as a major anti-inflammatory is misleading. Nonetheless, the soluble fiber in flax can help reduce inflammation to some extent.
ORGANIC FLAX- A CROP
Lastly, as with all purchases, our consumerism affects the supply of goods. Buying organic flax, boycotting the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, is a priority for me. Here’s why:
Flax is a popular crop for farmers to choose to grow. With flax oil now being recommended by practitioners and flax seeds being put in many commercially made cereals, not to mention being used by more home cooks than ever before (and as a food supplement), flax demand is on the rise.
Buying organic flax sends a message of demand to farmers that it’s a safe crop to grow, (in lieu of conventional flax)– that they will be able to sell their product come harvest time.
While it’s convenient to grab a bag of Bob’s Red Mill flax from Trader Joe’s, I recommend looking twice. If it’s not organic, what kind of farming is your purchase supporting?
The Weston A. Price foundation does acknowledge the health benefits of flax, recommending up to a 1/2 tsp. flax seed oil daily, the equivalent of which is 1 1/2 tsp. flax seed meal daily. Tim Boyd writes, “Flax oil is fine if it is a good quality and in small amounts… People are taking too much flax oil…Remember to always store flax oil in the refrigerator.”
I personally appreciate baking with flax seed meal. It is one of several ingredients I use in my grain-free baked goods to achieve a certain texture and moistness. So I am not down on flax.
But I do value understanding it as a complex food— both one from which we can derive benefits and one which I will not exalt to a higher nutritional platform than is accurate.
I am also aware of my hormone levels and prefer to eat flax during the first half of my cycle, as I know personally I have a tendency toward estrogen dominance and flax does affect me adversely if eaten too often or universally throughout my cycle.
What about you? What are your experiences with this charming seed that, while truly healthy, must not be misunderstood or over-consumed?
If you enjoyed this article, check out my Facebook page, Eat Beautiful, where I post the best and latest insights on nutrition and healing as well as classic and cutting edge healing recipes.
Hi, I just purchased a cancer summit and they talked about the estrogens in flaxseeds and soy and they say that these estrogens are natural and plant based not xenoestrogens like in plastics and other toxins. They say that there are many forms of estrogen and that these plant based ones are actually good for you not harmful or toxic. Thought you should know.
Megan Stevens says
Thank you for your comment. While estrogens may indeed be naturally occurring, this does not preclude them from being hormone altering. Who hosted your cancer summit? The source of health data is just as important as the data itself. The whole truth was not understood by the summit’s teacher(s), in my opinion.
It’s been awhile since I had cancer, but I remember taking white pills made from something from the nucleus of flax seed. They discovered flax actually slows down, or helps with cancer.
Cloudbird Bonin says
EXCELLENT article! Thank you, as a Weston Price-school Nutritional Therapist, I am often trying to explain this to people. You did a fine job, all in one place.
The only point I might suggest a bit more explanation: the reason soaking is not effective in reducing/removing the phytates is BECAUSE of the stickiness when soaking: it is essentially not possible to rinse the soaked, sticky seeds.
I love that you explain the science of the difference between EFA’s from fish and how difficult it is for the body to obtain proper EFA’s from these high-lignon plant based sources.
Megan Stevens says
Thank you, Cloudbird. I appreciate your emphases on these points and advocacy.
How does one get Omega 3 without fish then? I have a fish allergy and was told to take Flax Oil as a substitute. I am appreciative of the information. i certainly want to avoid the phytic acid and don’t want any hormonal problems added to my list, but I’m desperate for suggestions for safe alternatives to fish oil.
Megan Stevens says
Can you safely eat marine algae?
Marsha McManus via Facebook says
Thanks! I have wondered about flaxseed.
Megan Stevens says
I’m glad this was helpful.
I eat about 2/3 of a flax muffin a day for a year now when j gave up wheat trying to find a nice alternative with coffee in morning
NOw I’ve seen a huge decline in my teeth over last year but that also may be bc of breastfeeding 2 children over last 4.5 years so a lot of actors but it really hit my teeth in last year
I have seen my hormones go crazy but I thought it was due to breastfeeding I do take a red raspberry leaf and maca root for my hormone Imbalance
Saying all that do you think I would benefit from eliminating the muffins all together? I have eliminated them in other areas of food
It is 2/3 of a muffin a day not a lot? I also eat a lot of nuts which I know declines teeth bc of phytic acid but flax has a lot more acid ?
Sammy Jo Roscher via Facebook says
I am glad you posted this!
Rosie Rayner via Facebook says
Interesting. I took ground flax for 2 months, hoping it would help my PMS. It did the opposite
Megan Stevens says
Thanks for sharing your experience.
i grind mine and store in the refrigerator and add 1 tablespoon to my sourdough bread. Adds a nice texture.
Megan Stevens says
I agree; it does add a good texture to baked goods. Your methods sound great.
Stephanie Reese Wogoman via Facebook says
Do you drink flax milk? Brand?
Megan Stevens says
No, I don’t drink flax milk. I do enjoy baking with flax seed meal, at carefully chosen times and in not too high of quantity. Most commercially made milks contain carrageenan or other factory made additives. They are best to avoid altogether, in my opinion.
Just put some ground flax in my smoothie for the 1st time in about a year. A very timely post, and I’m glad I came across it, as I tend towards Estrogen Dominance myself.
Megan Stevens says
You’re welcome. I’m so glad it was helpful.
Thanks for the comprehensive article. I jumped on the flax seed and oil bandwagon about 10 yrs ago when it was starting to get so much attention, but have eaten very little in the last few years, partly because I kept hearing/reading about how fragile the oil in the seed is, what a short shelf life it has and how quickly it can go rancid if it’s not manufactured, bottled and stored in a certain way, which most on the market aren’t. I was also concerned about the phytic acid. Something else I read is that people that eat the seeds whole are really not receiving a lot of the nutrition they think they are because the seeds basically just pass thru the digestive system whole and end up serving only as roughage/fiber.
p.s. I am going to feature this on my Self-help Health blog, w/ link and source included, of course.
Megan Stevens says
Thanks for your comments. Good points and thank you for featuring and sharing the article. 🙂
Sarah Kneuer via Facebook says
Loni Ivanovskis via Facebook says
flax oil with Quark and potatoes is a very traditional food from my part of Germany, as with all things moderation seems in order
Cathy Dissinger via Facebook says
I only use flax if I grind it myself and consume it within half an hour.
Mariele Verí via Facebook says
Joy Hagerman via Facebook says
Fifteen years ago, freshly ground organic flax was part of my morning routine, added to homemade raw goat milk yogurt or organic cereals. I developed severe ulcerative colitis the second time, and sought the assistance of a great naturopathic doctor, who was also an M.D. specializing in allergies. Testing showed me to be allergic to flax. Avoiding all the allergens identified, I never had a repeat of the colitis. I mention this as a consideration for other readers who may have food sensitivities. You never think the good stuff is going to be bad for you.
Subsequent developments call into question the accuracy of the diagnostic method that identified flax. I’ve reintroduced it at low levels as part of a broad preventive treatment scheme. I’ve had no reactions.
I can say it’s the most wonderful fiber I’ve used, allowing that different things work for different folks.
Do you have any information about the effect of the estrogen on men?
Note to editor: eicosapentaenoic is misspelled in the article.
Megan Stevens says
There have certainly been many studies looking for the effect of estrogen on men, especially in the wake of the soy epidemic, when many misinformed consumers, often men, consumed unfermented soy daily, believing it to be a health food. Here’s an interesting study reported on by the WAPF showing not elevated levels of estrogen in men who consumed soy but lower levels of testosterone: http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/whey-to-go-soy-protein-lowers-testosterone-in-strength-training-men/ Thanks for your comments.
I’ve tried it before…a friend said it helped with dry hands. It was alright.
It’s also an egg substitute (ground up and with some water added), but my husband is allergic to it as well, so no help there.
I have read your article about flax. I have taken flax seed (grinding it up fresh every morning) to stimulate a lazy bowel.What can I take instead?
Thanks for posting this comprehensive article. I’ve been researching nutrition / good health information for over 30 years, and heard of flax seeds 20+ years ago, but although I did use them occasionally, they never became a daily choice. We prefer Chia, as it doesn’t require the same fragile handling as flax and has some amazing benefits.
A few months ago my husband was diagnosed with cancer in 3 organs, even though we don’t use any processed foods, sugar, etc. I was shocked, naturally, as we are so careful, although I know the many toxins surrounding us. The Dr. assumes it’s a result from his earlier years of being exposed to toxic chemicals such as asbestos, lead paint and more, back when protection wasn’t used.
It was back in the early 90s when I had read of Johanna Budwig’s diet for healing cancer, consisting of flax seeds, flax oil, and quark or cottage cheese and kept the information, ‘just in case.’ She did have amazing results with healing cancers and to this day, it remains a popular treatment. It was with a lot of forethought I decided to try it and since we’ve just started it a little over a wk. ago, I can’t say what will happen. One of our local stores does carry quark, but it’s very expensive for continued use, so we buy their organic cottage cheese.
Sorry for the long post, but in reading completely through your post, I’m wondering if this might help or hinder the situation. I’ve been trying to get him detoxed and also been using some other methods that may be helpful in shrinking the cancer, along with a LOT of prayer. Do you have an opinion about this – like in this instance, if the mixture might do its job for helping the cancer and not interferring with estrogen or creating further problems?
Thank you —–
Megan Stevens says
Hi Ann, my heart is with you but I am not an expert on flax in regard to cancer. I’m so sorry and pray with you for your husband’s remission and healing!!
I so much appreciate your kind words and prayers. I understand your position, as I realize it’s difficult to know how something may apply in different situations. I will continue researching.
Thank you for your response.
I’m glad I read this article before I start on my journey to become gluten free. I do have hormonal issues being post-menopausal and having other health issues.
Teresa Brandon Long via Facebook says
I make my hair gel with flaxseed! lol
Colby House via Facebook says
“Should men worry about the tiny amounts of lignans found in flax oil? No. As mentioned in other places and articles, I have known and or trained some high level men using up to 7tbl spoons per day of flax oil, with no negative impact on them that I could see, and one mentioned a reduction in gyno, which he attributed to the addition of the flax oil, but of course that’s an n =1 observation and not objective science by any means.” – See more at: http://www.brinkzone.com/general-health/flax-oil-should-men-avoid-it/#sthash.tkm2Z81J.dpuf
There should not be so much concern about flax as a phyto estrogen. In fact, it is a SERM, which stands for ‘selective estrogen receptor modulator’ that adapts to excess or deficient circulating oestrogen. It does not always increase oestrogen, but rather balances it out depending on the amount of circulating estrogen.
Timmi Dobesh via Facebook says
I’ve heard people take flax oil to help with depression any thoughts on that?
Megan Stevens says
No, thanks for asking; but I’m not familiar with the correlation. Certainly its effects on hormone levels could be the angle.
Isabel Appleton via Facebook says
I heard not great for people with thyroid issues too..I quickly replaced it with chia seeds…need moderation with chia too probably
Ghenelle Yancey via Facebook says
flax makes my palms burn and itch terribly….I did some research and found out that while that reaction is not common…it is not unheard of.
Verity Nutri via Facebook says
Casey Alexis this is interesting
Such good information here. It’s so easy to get caught up in the “hype” or “fad” of different “super foods” so it’s nice to hear the truth about it broken down in lament terms. Thanks for an insightful article Megan!
My diet is mostly consistent with paleo, which unfortunately, causes me to become constipated. I’ve already had a very recent bowel resection as a consequence of severe, chronic recurring diverticulitis. I have to be very careful about my digestive health. After trying various forms of fibers with no success, I have found ground flax to be a life saver for me. I’m approaching peri-menopause and find my PMS to be quite noticeable. I don’t know if it’s from consuming the ground flax, but other than breast tenderness, my PMS has been undetectable since regularly consuming ground flax for two months. I think sometimes, for some people, the benefits just simply outweigh the risks, and I think this is the case with me. Thanks for the informative article.
Gwyn Koenig via Facebook says
Naomi Schoenfeld via Facebook says
Hey, neat — flax has come of age as a healthy food. No healthy food has really made it until it reaches the stage where people start calling for caution. 😉 Kidding aside, I love flax. Does wonders for skin, nails and hair in my household… and I go more by results than by what the latest studies insist I must be wrong about. That said, I’m pretty sure moderation is a good rule for /any/ food, including flax. Always a good reminder!
Jamie Ellis Paget via Facebook says
How do you use your flax?
Megan Stevens says
Hi Jamie, I use flax primarily in baking. My cookbook comes out this month, June 29! 🙂 It has many recipes that utilize small amounts of flax. Here’s a peek, if you are interested: http://eatbeautiful.net/my-cookbook/
Janell Richardson via Facebook says
Only use flax to make hair gel.
Flax Seed Oil gave me hot flashes; they went away within a couple of days of eliminating FSO.
I do use FSO for hair gel too. 😉
Oh wow! Thank you. I have been using flaxseed milk for about 2 months and my periods have gotten way heavier -miserable to be honest and with it sadness. I purchased the milk trying to find healthy alternative to cow’s milk because my 1 year old daughter is having problems with cow milk. I feel awful I gave her flaxseed milk now 🙁 I was trying to avoid soy because of same estrogen mimicking issues. Back to square one. I’m lost at what to give her as we’re about to embark weaning.
Megan Stevens says
I’m happy you found the article. 🙂 Is it possible that you or your daughter would flourish with raw goat’s milk? Can you access a local farm near where you live? The smaller molecule is easier to digest than cow’s milk and the raw nutrition is excellent. If not goat milk, then making your own coconut milk is a good alternative. Homemade sprouted seed and nut milks can be good, but only in moderation and rotating them, not too much almond, for instance. (I even have a lovely avocado milk on my Eat Beautiful blog, for those with lots of food allergies.) Let me know if I can help in any way. Blessings and best!
Kurt F. says
Megan, what is your background? Are you a registered Dietitian? While you bring up some decent points regarding overconsumption, I see some things in your article and comments, to which I disagree with. I also think you painted a healthy food in a bad light. Too much of anything can be ‘bad for you.’ However, flaxseed and oil is generally well tolerated. Personally, I doubt that many people are ‘overdosing’ on flax. I’d like to see where the survey evidence for this is.
In your article point regarding hormone levels, you write “those who already have high levels of estrogen, who then consume regular amounts of flax seeds or FLAX OIL can experience symptoms including fibrocystic breast tissue, depression, and the aforementioned bleeding.” This is not correct, according to Mayo Clinic.
To quote Mayo Clinc:: “Lignans are a type of plant hormone similar to estrogen. The lignan components of flaxseed (not flaxseed oil) may possess antioxidant properties and alter estrogen activity.” Reference: http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/flaxseed-and-flaxseed-oil/background/hrb-20059416 Thus, alteration of hormone level does not apply to flaxseed oil, but rather the lignans.
While it’s true that Fish Oil contains more anti-inflammatory properties than Flaxseed, so what? That doesn’t mean that Flaxseed doesn’t have a ton of other health benefits to go with that. That’s like saying not to eat strawberries because blueberries have more antioxidants. Case Study: My eye doctor recommended that I take Flaxseed Oil daily many years ago for my dry eye disease condition. Needless to say, it has helped a lot and is known as one specific, beneficial effect of flaxseed oil consumption.
Finally, in your comment section you suggested staying away from Flax Milk….and that most commercial made milk contains carrageenan or other additives. While I’ll agree that some additives like the “gums” can cause abdominal discomfort in some individuals, generally they are tolerated in small doses and are considered safe. Also, GoodKarma Flax Milk, the largest market share, does NOT include carrageenan. Given a choice of having additives or not, obviously you would choose not. However, the product benefits far outweighs this for the majority of people who tolerate it well….especially when comparing it to an alternative that is not tolerated, like dairy milk. Personally, I drink Flaxseed Milk every day and do well with it. It has been a saving grace compared to dairy and even Coconut Milk, both to which I haven’t tolerated well. I’m also allergic to almond and nuts and stay away from soy. That leaves out all other milks. Flax Milk has a comparatively good nutrient content to milk, with high levels of Vitamin D and Calcium.
Flax and flaxseed oil both send me into the worst PMS. Fat, bloated, emotional, and extremely sore breasts. While the first three complaints could be considered subjective, albeit not to me, sore breasts is a clear physical indicator. The estrogen effect is very real. I question this “flax” craze. I remember when my grandfather was told by the doctor to eat margarine and not butter!
Organic ground flax seed caused internal inflammation in my sister and myself. So much so that our ankles became stiff when we got up in the morning and we both got bad hemmers. My internal inflammation got so bad I got blocked and had so much blood when I could finally have a BM. Read the side effects of consuming flaxseed. Just google it and you will see a list of bad side effects. Know that they are real. I was consuming 2 tblspn a day my sister less bit she has been eating it for a long time and then suddenly she is having physical problems. She things spectrum is getting their seeds from a different place before bc her side effects are just happening now
Joel Martin says
Interesting article. There has always been a discrepancy among physicians about the difference between estrogens and phytoestrogens in how they affect the body and if the anti-cancer effects of phytoestrogens out weighed the risk in some individuals. Then there is the high omega 3’s; so good for you at 1200 mg per serving in Flax milk. A good thing?
Interestingly enough, I found myself drinking a ton of Flax milk as a great healthy alternative to diary allergy and a mild psoriasis condition. After consuming an average of a 1/2 gallon a week for months I developed a cough and a serious outbreak of psoriasis for me like nothing I’ve ever had in my lifetime. For months I labored with the why??
I discovered that this may be a food allergy when I ran out of the milk one day and switched to Almond milk. Within 24 hours my skin was clearing for the first time in months. How could this be I asked myself? What was different? Could it be the Flax milk?
Could the process of how they make this product called Karma Flax milk be the reason I have labored with this for months? Doesn’t seem that regular Flax oil affects me the same way. Could this be possible? Appreciate your input. Thanks
“Years ago, when I was a vegetarian,”
Right off the bat, you lost a huge chunk of credibility with me. Using animals for food (fish, goat’s milk, “free-range”, “grass-fed”, etc.) is plain wrong, cruel, unsustainable, bad for the planet, and the main driver behind most American health and environmental problems. Why the hell would a baby human drink raw goat’s milk? Goat milk is for… wait for it… BABY GOATS!! What’s next? Dog milk? If puppies and kittens were found to be super nutritious, would you eat them too? If your answer is no, but you still eat or exploit other animals for food, you’re a hypocrite and anti-environmentalist. Sorry to be harsh, but the sooner we move away from animals as food, the better off the planet will be for our kids.
Goats milk is excellant for babies allergic to milk. Goats milk does not have to be homogenized like cows milk. Goats milk seems to also be better for a childs bone structure. A study was done showing the difference between kids on goats milk. They had stronger, wider jaws with much better, not crowded teeth,
Exactly! She promotes fish oil over flax. Not everybody wants to live a cruel promoting life style. For generations my family has lived on a purely vegetarian diet in India and no one has EVER touched seafood or marine algae either. My great grandmother lived to be 93 and died healthy. This article is just pure bogus.
Thank you for your article…..it’s very informative.
What about Flax Milk?
Does store bought Flax Milk have high levels of Phytic Acid?
Megan Stevens says
I don’t have a way to measure that product. I would say that it’s not a good idea to have this kind of milk everyday. In moderation it may be fine, same as any flax. 🙂 Thanks for your comment.
Pat Heckman says
Thank you for this post, I was eating too much flax, about four tablespoons a day. I think I better change this! I was wondering, on another subject, what you think about Tiger Nut flour and coconut flour. I enjoy the taste of both, are these good for us?
Great article, thanks. I’ve been using a lot of flax after becoming interested in Johanna Budwig’s work, and my period cycle has become much longer! Glad I found out why so soon!
thank you for taking the time to share this. I am trying to research to know if consuming seeds such as flax will effect my hormones. seems I may have more estogen than needed. I found an article that may answer questions of some who have commented here regarding: cancer, & men consuming flax.
hope it helps.
Pretty sure there are no hormone-altering lignans in the oil.
You took the time to worry about a few potential negative health effects of flax, but missed the big one. Cooking omega oils turns them seriously toxic. Eat that stuff freshly opened and raw, or not at all.
Could you provide links to the research verifying the claims made in this article? Thanks!
if your a man NEVER take flax seed or soy because of estrogen unless your going trans i guess
Megan, I’ve eaten flaxseed for years especially through menopause. I had read that flaxseed is a good estrogen and can take the place of bad estrogens in our body. Please correct me if I’m wrong. That being said, I am also very estrogen dominant. I am a very clean eater and I exercise daily. Do you think the ground flaxseed that I have been eating almost daily is not allowing me to lose weight since it’s an added estrogen? Thoughts?
Megan Stevens says
Hi Cyndi, hormones are a subtle, complex and individual conundrum that only become more enigmatic during perimenopause and menopause. It’s certainly possible, but I can’t say with your body what’s happening.
I would agree! I always see weight gain when eating soy ( is an allergin) or flax I AVOID these always!
*However, when I started the GAPS diet, this was in part, called into question.
The problem with “health” bloggers is that they think of themselves as if they are medical doctors and this could be dangerous. Take this article for example, what is the author’s background? what are her sources of information? She doesn’t provide links to them… she only mentions Chris Kresser..and who is he? is he an Oncologyst or is he an Endocrinologyst? no, Kresser studied “Chinese and integrative medicine” at the ACUPUNCTURE & Integrative Medicine College.
We need to be cautious when evualating Internet information.
Vivian Feggans says
I researched by my question, “Is flax truly good for you?” My question was based on what my body intuitively informs me. Lately, I’ve taken in quite a bit of flax grain hot cereal and it appears to be causing a little discomfort in my belly. Knowing that flax is also plant from which fabric is made, I felt compelled to look up its effects when consumed for food. Your article is eye-opening and I’m happy I stumbled on it. My decision is to drastically cut my intake, not necessarily made solely because of your article, but, along with my own observations, intuition, and your article. Thanks.
Nori Taylor says
I’d probably write the same stuff if I were a tree hugger too. LOL! It’s not anything to overthink. Baking with flax meal – doesn’t heating up the flax meal destroy most of it’s benefits?
On the back of a package of Bob’s Red Mill flaxseed meal (flaxseed that has been milled) it says Its Latin name, Linum usitatissimum means “most useful”. Hippocrates, the father of medicine prescribed flax to patients with intestinal issues. King Charlemagne was so convinced of its benefits that he passed laws requiring his subjects to consume flaxseeds. I eat it raw as a food by combining it with raw honey. I put one very heaping teaspoon of flaxseed meal in my mouth and hold it there and then add one and a quarter teaspoons of raw honey and chew them together real good. I’ll do this about 6-8 times and call it a lunch. Eating the flaxseed meal and raw honey together in the same mouth full will lower the glycemic level of the raw honey. This simple meal of flax & raw honey has sometimes kept me full till close to dinner time, and that includes doing a 6 mile roundtrip bicycle commute. It also tastes good, and seems like I’m eating a desert/meal. I’m currently experimenting partially with The Wahls Protocol diet based on Paleo. I mainly eat raw and low temperature cooking Vegan, but do include Red wild caught canned Salmon once or twice a month. I also have the benefit of my creator Jesus Christ to help guide me on what to eat. Thank you! I hope some will be helped by my comment!
Carol Little R.H. @studiobotanica says
Great article! Definitely agree that we need to support organic agriculture and here’s another example of that.
I use flax in moderation and don’t buy commercial cereal. It is a good fibre source but as you mention in the article, fish is a better source of long chain EPA/DHA and convertible EFAs
Moderation best ~ agreed!
I hav also read that the benefits of flax r better derived wen u eat the seed/meal than thru the oil…what do u say to that?
Tired of these plant estrogens that are making people FAT with estrogens like soy and flax and pomegranites etc I always gain weight on these I AVOID
Bryce Hallam says
Love the article, people are too quick to decide something is healthy. You always need to look further into a food, especially, when it’s heavily processed like flax milk, flax oil, flaxseed supplements etc.
Ned brewer says
Thanks for what you do! More information available causes the turning of the wheels, the change, the improvement…..thanks again
Flax wreaks havoc on my hormones. FAT and sore breasts. Not enough attention given to the fact that certain foods mimic estrogen especially flax and soy.
I’m glad I read your article about flax not having the health benefits I thought it had. It doesn’t agree with me because it gives me gas. I won’t bother trying to coax my body to tolerate it anymore. I try to eat salmon and fish but probably not enough. I don’t tolerate fish oil because it made my atrial fibrillation worse. I came across your article reading articles on Wardee’s web site Traditional Cooking School.