Whole Flax Seeds
Copper-coloured flax seeds add colour and texture to your foods. For a long time, whole flax seeds have been used in dry cereals and more recently, in energy bars. Eating the whole seeds provides you with the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic (ALA), lignans, and fibre. However, the seeds must be thoroughly chewed for you to gain all of these benefits. Whole flax seeds are the least expensive way to add flax seed nutrition to your diet. Whole seeds are the most economical because they keep fresh for a long time. By pulverizing the seeds when needed, you can prepare your own flax seed meal.
Add bright and shiny whole flax seeds to foods wherever you want to add colour, texture, taste and crunch. The seeds taste slightly nutty and are about the size of sesame seeds. Whole flax seeds decorate cracker and cookie tops, and add texture and flavour to batters, bread doughs and salads.
Each seed contains 57 per cent of the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic (ALA). To release the oil, you must carefully grind the seeds with your teeth as you eat. Without being broken, the seed keeps the ALA inside it throughout digestion, meaning you will not receive omega-3 benefits. However, whole flax seeds provide roughage that can aid laxation.
Where to Buy
Depending on where you live, whole seeds are sold in the bulk food sections of grocery and specialty food stores. Sold by the scoop, kilogram or pound, whole flax seeds are an inexpensive food ingredient, with a high nutritional value.
How to Store
The hard outer shell of whole flax seeds keeps the oil within from being affected by extremes of heat or light. Studies conducted by the Flax Council of Canada show that whole flax seeds can be kept at room temperature for up to 10 months, without spoilage or loss of the omega-3 fatty acid. However, you must be the judge of your own storage conditions. In situations where storage conditions are not ideal, whole seeds are best kept in the refrigerator or freezer.