In this brief guide, we will address the query, “Can you eat flaxseed without grinding it?” We will also discuss what phytates are and the benefits of eating flaxseeds.
Can you eat flaxseed without grinding it?
Yes, you can eat flaxseed without grinding it. Flaxseed as well as chia and sesame can be consumed whole without fear. Whole flaxseed can be a source of fiber and help in the proper functioning of the intestine, but it will not have the benefits of omega 3.
Flaxseed has great nutritional value due to the presence of its good fats, however, the cellulose of its external part that is not digested by the intestine prevents the absorption of its internal part if it is not crushed. Another point of attention is the phytates present in flaxseed that prevent better absorption of nutrients.
What are phytates?
Phytates are antinutrients present in seeds, grains, chickpeas, and some nuts, they can reduce the absorption of iron, zinc, magnesium, and calcium. In addition to phytates, there are other antinutrients such as tannins, glucosinolates, lecithins, oxalates, and saponins.
Antinutrients are a mechanism of defense of plants against bacteria and insects ensuring their survival. In addition to preventing the absorption of vitamins and minerals, it also causes abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, vomiting, and weakening the health of those who consume them through vitamin deficiency.
A way to control antinutrient intake is by soaking and cooking grains and seeds to increase their absorption and reduce the number of phytates and oxalates present, as well as avoiding the consumption of multiple antinutrients in a single meal.
For the best use of flaxseed in milk, bread, and cakes, it is recommended to leave the flaxseed to soak for up to 12 hours, making it easier for our body to digest it
and for the extraction of its fats as omega 3.
Ômega 3 oxidation
Flaxseed is the plant food with the highest omega 3 content on the planet. It doesn’t matter if we consume golden or brown flaxseeds, both are capable of providing a lot of nutrients as long as they are ground before consumption.
However, omega 3 as well as other unsaturated fats oxidize very easily and can bring rancid taste and abdominal pain if consumed oxidized. Omega 3 oxidized has no nutritional value and can be equivalent to eating spoiled food.
Unsaturated fats have unsaturations, that is, double or triple covalent bonds that bring instability to the molecule. The tendency of the molecule is to react with oxygen and thus oxidize, spoiling itself.
For this reason, it is important to grind the flaxseed just before using it and not grind a large amount and store it because it will spoil regardless of whether it is in the fridge or pantry.
When buying ground flaxseed, choose vacuum packaging that has light protection, otherwise, you will be buying a rancid product. Also consider at the moment you open the product, it will begin to come into contact with oxygen.
Many brands add vitamin E and other preservatives to slow down the omega 3 oxidation of the ground flaxseed and this can be an alternative if you don’t have a mixer or blender at home, but it will still be a product that will have its omega 3 value lower than freshly ground flaxseed.
What are the health benefits of consuming flaxseeds?
In addition to good fats, flaxseed has other nutrients as presented from the nutritional information below for a tablespoon of flaxseed (10.3g):
|Total Fat||4.3 g|
|Total Carbohydrate||3 g|
|Dietary Fiber||2.8 g|
|Vitamin B1||0.169 mg (14% of DV)|
|Vitamin B3||0.317 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.049 mg|
As we can see, flaxseed is a superfood, full of vitamins and consuming it without crushing it would be a waste of its potential, preventing our body from absorbing so many vitamins and minerals.
The omega 3 present in unsaturated fats helps with memory, vision, and eye health as well as reducing bad cholesterol, reducing coronary problems, and reducing the chance of heart attacks and strokes.
Fibers help against colds and together with proteins increase satiety. Iron and potassium help in blood circulation and oxygenation is essential for concentration and disposition.
Complex B vitamins are abundant in flaxseed and have several functions, especially aimed at the good mental functioning of people, helping with diseases such as dementia and depression by providing what is necessary to increase the mood and feeling of well-being.
In this brief guide, we have addressed the query, “Can you eat flaxseed without grinding it?” We have also discussed what phytates are and the benefits of eating flaxseeds.
Hope you found this blog useful. If you have any questions, please let us know.