Frequently Asked Questions About Flax

flax in bloom

What is the difference between brown flax seed and golden (or yellow) flax seed?

Both brown and yellow flaxseed provide the same nutritional benefits: lignans, dietary fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids, which together work to enhance your health and heart fitness and give protection against certain types of cancer. The yellow flax generally has a higher oil content, and may be preferred by some because of its light color.

Do I have to grind the flax? That seems like a lot of work.

Whole flaxseeds are hard and are difficult to crack even with careful chewing. If the flaxseed passes through the digestive tract unbroken, the body does not receive the full nutritional benefit. Grinding breaks up the seed, making it easier for the body to digest. Therefore, ground flaxseed provides more nutritional benefits than whole flaxseed.

What if I’m allergic to flax seed?

Allergies to flax are very rare, but it is always best to be cautious. When starting to eat flax, as with any new food product, start with a small amount. If you have a history of allergies, we recommend 1/4th teaspoon or less per day for the first week. If no adverse effects are noted, gradually work up to the recommended amount of flax, which is 2 to 4 tablespoons per day.

What does flax taste like?

Flax has a pleasant, nutty taste. Mark and Esther like to grind their flax in the morning and add it to their juice or cereal. Mark likes it mixed in with his orange juice or oatmeal, and Esther prefers adding it to her yogurt. There are many recipes one can use with flax, many of which are included on our website, and more of which may be found in our cookbook. Flax is surprisingly versatile, and you’ll find that it mixes well with almost anything.

How much flax should I eat in a day?

Health experts recommend an intake of 2 to 4 tablespoons per day. Please note, however, that flaxseed is high in fiber—you should generally start with about 1/2 to 1 tsp per day, and gradually add more until you reach the recommended amount. Give yourself about a month to get to the recommended amount per day. When adding fiber to one’s diet, it is important to drink an adequate amount of fluid—about eight glasses of water per day.

How long can flax be stored?

Whole flaxseed’s naturally hard hull keeps it fresh for several years at room temperature. Ground flaxseed, on the other hand, requires more care. Ground flaxseed may develop an off-flavor and taste. Therefore, once ground, it should be kept in an air tight container and refrigerated. Ground flax will stay good for up to four months if kept refrigerated or frozen.

How long do flax pax neck and shoulder pillows retain their heat/cold?

Flax Pax retain heat/cold for up to 45 minutes.

What’s the difference between Natural Flax and Organic Flax?

Golden Valley Flax is available for you in both natural and organic varieties because we believe that this is an important choice for you, the consumer, to make. The difference comes from the way in which the flax is produced—our Natural Flax is produced using the best available modern agricultural methods, as approved by our North Dakota State University. Our Organic Flax is produced according to the strict guidelines set forth by the approved Farm Verified Organic organization.

Both the natural and organic production methods produce very high quality flax, and in fact, even produce precisely the same variety of flax—“Omega” flax, which was specially developed by North Dakota State University. The natural flax production method begins with a scientific analysis of the fertility needs of the soil, followed by application of the recommended plant nutrients. During the growing season, the weeds are controlled using officially approved NDSU guidelines, by myself, which I have been trained and licensed for by the state of North Dakota. The organic production method relies on techniques such as summer fallow (leaving the land dormant for a year) to build up the needed nutrients in the soil, and during the growing seasons, efforts are made to control weeds by mechanical means such as rotary hoes and harrows. The weeds that compete with the flax are then cleaned out after harvest.

The production systems are different, and therefore result in different yields and costs per bushel of flax. Therefore, the cost per unit difference is reflected in our lower price for natural flax, which costs less than organic flax to produce. The difference in price does not mean that one is better than the other; it simply reflects a cost per unit difference. We believe that both systems are valid and produce high quality flax. With this understanding, then, we leave the ultimate choice between natural and organic flax up to you, the consumer.

Should I Eat Flax During Pregnancy?

Flax seed is a phytoestrogen, which is a plant estrogen.

Pregnant mothers and their children are especially sensitive to hormones. Human studies have not been done on the effect of flax and pregnancy, however animal studies have been completed. High estrogen levels are needed by the mother to prepare the uterus for the growing fetus, on the other hand, too much estrogen given to pregnant animals can reduce litter size and the birth weight of the offspring. Therefore, until human studies have been completed, I would advise to refrain from eating flax when pregnant.