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Flax Seed

By
Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Should You Grind Flax?

Q: I really enjoyed your episode about flax seed. You suggested grinding them in a coffee mill to get the full nutritional benefit. What about crushing them with a mortar and pestle? Or is this not enough?

A: You don't need to grind flax seeds to a fine powder in order to get the nutritional benefit. Simply cracking the hard outer shell is enough to allow your digestive juices to do the rest!

Do You Have to Refrigerate Flaxseed Oil Capsules?

Q: I heard you mention that flaxseed oil should be kept refrigerated. I buy flaxseed oil in gel caps store them in a cabinet at my home.  Is this wrong?  And if they should be refrigerated, shouldn’t the store place them in cooler, where they keep the bottles of flaxseed oil?

A: Because the gelatin capsules protect the oil from oxygen, flax oil capsules are more shelf-stable than flax oil in a bottle and don’t require refrigeration. But you know what? I'd probably keep them in the fridge anyway. It can't hurt and might extend the shelf life a bit, especially during warmer months. And if you ever notice an off-odor coming from the bottle, you need to toss them. Rancid flax oil is worse than no flax oil at all! Also, keep in mind that flax oil doesn't contain the fiber and lignans found in whole flax seed!

Flaxseed image courtesy of Shutterstock

About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show. 

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