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Flax FAQ

The following questions and answers about flax seed have been developed from those most often received worldwide. We encourage you to browse our site for more flax information, or to contact us with your specific question.

Where can I buy flax seed?
Flax seed is a popular food item! You can buy whole flax seeds and packaged milled flax at bulk food and health food stores, and in the health or regular food sections of major supermarkets. Check your local stores, as more outlets are carrying flax now than ever before. 

Which is better for me, whole or ground flax seed?

Ground flax seed provides more nutritional benefits than does whole seed. That’s because flax seeds are very hard, making them difficult to crack, even with careful chewing. Grinding flax seeds breaks them up, making them easier to digest when eaten. Then the body can profit from all that flax goodness.

If whole flax seeds remain unbroken, they may pass undigested through the body, reducing the nutritional advantage of eating flax seed in the first place.

How can I grind the seeds?

Flax seeds are easy to grind, and you likely have the right tool in your kitchen. Grind flax seeds at home using a coffee grinder, food processor or blender. Like coffee beans, you can grind flax seeds coarsely or finely, but generally, recipes call for finely ground flax seed.

What is the difference between brown flax seed and golden or yellow flax seed? Is one better than the other?

No, one flax seed is not better for you than another. Brown flax seeds provide the same nutritional benefits as golden (or yellow) ones. Both brown and golden flax seeds have plenty of lignans and dietary fibre, and both contain more than 50 per cent alpha-linolenic acid. This is an omega-3 fat which offers you health and heart fitness.

While some people prefer yellow-coloured seed in their cooking, brown flax seeds add the same nutrition to your diet as do golden ones. This means you can choose your flax seed freely. Brown flax seed may be more commonly found than golden, as more brown than golden flax seed is grown commercially.

Note: There is another yellow seed that looks like flax, but is not flax. It is most likely solin seed, a crop developed from flax. Solin seeds do NOT provide the same nutritional benefit of flax seeds. Solin seeds contain less than one-tenth of the alpha-linolenic acid found in flax seeds. Thus, the important omega-3 advantage of flax is missing in solin.

How should I store flax seed and for how long will it keep?

Whole flax seed

Whole flax seed comes with Nature’s own finest packaging – its natural hard hull keeps it fresh. You can store clean, dry, good quality whole flax seed at room temperature for up to a year. Some people keep a jar of flax seed handy on their kitchen counter.

Ground flax seed

All vegetable oil products require some care in handling and storing. Once you grind flax seed, there is greater risk of it developing an off-flavour and taste. That’s why it’s best to grind whole flax seed as you need it. This ensures its freshness. After grinding, you should refrigerate it in an airtight, opaque container. Ground flax seed handled this way will keep for up to 90 days.

I’m currently taking a prescription medication. Can I still eat flax?

If you are taking any medications, the Flax Council does not suggest or recommend that you eat flax or flax products without the specific approval of your physician. This is in keeping with the advice of experts who advise patients to consult their physicians before making any changes to their diet.

Does flax contain gluten?

Flax contains no gluten.

How many calories are in flax seed?

100 grams of flax seed has approximately 450 calories

Weight and calorie content of flax seed per specific measurement


Ground Flax

Whole Flax







1 cup 130.0 4.5 585 180 6.3 810
3/4 cup 97.5 3.4 439 135 4.8 607
2/3 cup 86.6 3.0 390 120 4.2 540
½ cup 65.0 2.3 293 90 3.2 405
1/3 cup 42.3 1.5 195 60 2.1 270
1/4 cup 32.5 1.1 146 45 1.6 202
1 tbsp. 8.0 .3 36 11 .4 50
1 tsp. 2.7 .1 12 4 .1 18

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