Flaxseeds: Brown, Golden, And More. Nutritional Values of Flax Seed Products

Written By: Gloria Tsang, RD

Title: Founding Registered Dietitian

Alumni: University of British Columbia

Last Updated on:

Their high content of omega-3 alpha linolenic acids (ALA) has made ancient flax seeds a modern miracle food. In the past 20 years, flax seeds have been touted as a super food, and these tiny wonders surely live up to the name! With multiple types of flaxseed products available in the market such as whole seeds, ground flax meal, flax oil and more, how do you go about choosing the right one for your use?

Various Flaxseed Products: Golden, Brown, Ground, and more

Nutrition Facts of Flax Seeds: Golden, Brown, Ground, and Oil

Brown
Flax Seeds
Golden
Flax Seeds
Ground
Flax Meal
Flax Oil
Serving Size:3 Tbsp
(31 g)
3 Tbsp
(31 g)
3 Tbsp
(21 g)
1 Tbsp
(13.6 g)
Calories:165170112120
Protein:5.6 g6.0 g3.8 g0.02 g
Fat:13.1 g11 g8.9 g13.6
ALA:7.1 gn/a4.8 g7.3 g
Carbohydrate:8.9 g10 g6.1 g0
Fiber:8.4 g8 g5.7 g0
Net Carb:0.5 g2 g0.4 g0
Potassium:251 mg269 mg171 mg0
Table 1. Nutritional Facts of Various Flaxseed Products

1. Brown Flax Seeds

Most flax seeds available commercially are brown flax seeds. They are oil seeds, also known as linseeds, originated from the Middle East. In addition to the beneficial alpha-linolenic acid content, flax seeds are also known for its rich lignan content. Studies found that flax seeds provide ~ 9 to 30 mg of lignan per gram of seed. Lignan provides fiber, and is a source of antioxidant phytoestrogen. Researchers revealed that lignan in flax seeds shows promise in fighting disease – including a possible role in cancer prevention, especially breast cancer. It is thought that lignan metabolites can bind to estrogen receptors, inhibiting the onset of estrogen-stimulated breast cancer.

2. Golden Flax Seeds

Golden flax seeds taste slightly more buttery, and lighter in taste. Nutritionally,  golden and brown are almost the same. In the latest quality research report published by Canadian Grain Commission in 2022, golden flax seeds were found to have more ALA than brown flax seeds. Researchers found that 54.6% of the fatty acid comprised of alpha-linolenic acid in brown flax seeds, while 58.7% of the fatty acid comprised of ALA in golden flax seeds. In the same report, golden flax seeds are found to provide more fat than brown flax seeds as well.

3. Ground Flax Seed

Ground flax seeds are also available commercially; sometimes they may be labeled as flax meal. Ground seeds are easier to digest, as the outer shell of the whole seeds may be difficult to chew or digest for some individuals. Alternately, you can always use a food processor to grind whole seeds yourself.

4. Flax Seed Oil

Flax seed oil is not the same as flax seeds. Extracted from flax seeds, flax seed oil is a concentrated source of ALA, the use of which has been questioned because of its potential association with increased prostate cancer risk. Cancer-protecting lignans, for instance, are only present in flax seeds, not oil.

Recommended Intake of Flax Seeds

There is no clear recommendation of how much flax seed one should take to reap the health benefits. Most studies investigated the doses between 10 to 50 grams of raw, ground flax seed. Some studies reported that an intake of 45 g of flaxseed has laxative effects.

5 Delicious Ways to Include More Flax Seeds in Your Diet

Many commercial food products now contain flax seeds, including bread, cereal, and bakery goods. Bakers sometimes use flax seed flour or include flax seeds in baking as well. Certainly, flax seeds can be added to a variety of homemade dishes!

Both brown and golden flax seeds taste better toasted. The easiest way to toast flax seeds is to lay them flat on a cookie sheet and bake them in the oven at 350F for about 8 minutes.  Make sure to stir half way.

  1. Sprinkle coarsely ground flax seeds on your cereal, yogurt, oatmeal, or salad.
  2. Substitute flax seed meal or flour for eggs in home baking, such as muffins and pancakes (1 tbsp milled flax seed plus 3 tbsp water = 1 egg). The final product will have less volume and taste gummier.
  3. Combine breadcrumbs and coarsely ground flax seeds; use the mixture to coat fish or chicken.
  4. Mix toasted flax seeds into homemade granola bars or trail mix.
  5. Toss flax seeds into your morning smoothie, along with banana, milk, and a touch of honey.

Tell Us: How do you eat flax seeds?

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flax seeds, flaxseeds, golden flaxseeds, omega-3

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