Flaxseed, while tiny, offers enormous health benefits, making it a favorite commodity among many health gurus. However, flaxseed comes in several forms (and names), including whole, ground, or flaxseed meal. Therefore, what’s the difference between ground flaxseed and flaxseed meal?
The primary difference between ground flaxseed and flaxseed meal is how they are ground. Ground flaxseed is made by grinding whole flax seeds, while flaxseed meal is a by-product of producing flaxseed oil. However, they offer the same nutritional benefits and both have a flour-like texture.
The rest of this article will discuss the main differences between flaxseed meal and ground flaxseed, and other ways flaxseed is produced for consumption. I’ll also discuss the different types of ground flaxseed and the differences between them.
Smoothie Tip: Add ground flaxseed. Also, adding frozen fruit, instead of ice, enhances the flavor and nutrient content. The secret to an easy smoothie with frozen items is having a blender powerful enough to handle the workload.
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Is Ground Flaxseed the Same As Flaxseed Meal?
Ground flaxseed and flaxseed meal are closely related, with only minor differences. While the names differ, the process for making the two is very similar as they both have to be ground. Nutritionally, there isn’t any difference.
Ground flaxseed is the same as flaxseed meal. Both ground flaxseed and flaxseed meal are made by grinding whole flaxseed into a powder consistency. However, the main difference between the two is the way they are ground.
Both ground flaxseed and flaxseed meal are the same consistency and have the same nutritional benefits 1, but they are often processed differently. With ground flaxseed, whole flax seeds are ground into a powder consistency. In contrast, flaxseed meal is usually the by-product of creating flaxseed oil.
According to Manitoba Milling Company, after pressing the seeds to extract the oil, the flax seeds left behind are sold as flaxseed meal 2.
Nutrient comparison between ground flaxseed and flaxseed meal:
|Fat||6.0 g||4.5 g|
|Carbohydrates||5.0 g||4.0 g|
|Protein||3.0 g||3.0 g|
|Calcium||31.0 mg||24 mg|
|Magnesium||51 mg||49 mg|
|Potassium||102 mg||113 mg|
|Fiber||4.0 g||3.0 g|
|Omega-3||2,280 mg||2,430 mg|
Making Your Own Ground Flaxseed
Many people prefer making their own ground flaxseed to ensure they get the most health benefits. This process is simple, as all you have to do is take flax seeds and put them in a food processor or coffee grinder until you have a powder-like consistency.
A food processor speeds up the process depending on the size of the coffee grinder used. Amazon has many affordable food processors you can check out here, Food Processors. Also, check out their coffee grinders.
However, if you don’t have a food processor or coffee grinder, buying ground flaxseed might be a better option.
If you’re thinking about buying ground flaxseed, I recommend the Herbal Secrets Organic Ground Flaxseed from Amazon. This flaxseed is entirely organic, and you get 2 pounds for a reasonable price. Not only that, but it’s USDA certified and NON-GMO verified.
Are There Different Types of Ground Flax Seeds?
There are different types of ground flax seeds, and they have similar nutrient contents. However, they differ slightly, just not enough to claim one is better than the other.
There are two different types of ground flax seeds: golden flax seeds and brown flax seeds. Nutritionally, the two are very similar, with only slight differences. However, brown flax seeds typically have a stronger flavor than golden flax seeds.
When it comes to the nutritional differences, the fats, carbohydrates, and protein content between the two is almost the same. However, golden flax seeds contain more polyunsaturated fatty acids and fewer monounsaturated fatty acids than brown flax seeds.
However, brown flax seeds always have a higher concentration of antioxidants 3.
The differences between the two types of ground flax seeds are almost nonexistent. Therefore, choosing the right kind of flaxseed for you probably won’t have much to do with the health aspects and everything with the flavor.
How about organic, does it make a difference with flaxseeds? Check out my article on the topic, Organic Flaxseed vs. Non-Organic Flaxseed: Which is Better?
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Health Benefits of Ground Flaxseed and Flaxseed Meal
There are many health benefits when it comes to flaxseed, including the prevention of many cancers and other diseases 4. Flaxseed is in several foods; however, most people sprinkle ground flaxseed over meals like cereal, oatmeal, yogurt or muffins. There are three main nutritional benefits:
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Flaxseed has many omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to heart health. One tablespoon of flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of omega-3 5.
- Fiber: Flaxseed contains both insoluble and soluble types of fiber.
- Lignans: Lignans are compounds found in plants. They contain benefits like a lower risk of heart disease, breast cancer, osteoporosis, and menopausal diseases 6, are seen in large quantities in flaxseed. Flaxseed contains 75-800 times more lignans than other foods.
While these are the main nutritional benefits often advertised with both ground flaxseed and flaxseed meal, there are other beneficial factors:
- It reduces the risk of cancers: Colon cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer.
- It reduces the risk of diabetes: Helps improve blood sugar.
- It helps prevent cardiovascular disease: It works to reduce plaque build-up and helps cholesterol levels.
Which Is Better Ground Flaxseed Or Whole Flaxseed?
Ground flaxseed is better than whole flaxseed because it is easier to digest. Whole flaxseed may travel through the intestine undigested, meaning the most benefits will be unreceived by the body.
For that reason, many health experts will agree you should grind whole flax seeds to receive the most benefits.
Flax seeds are commonly used to improve digestive health, like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and even constipation 7. Therefore, getting all the benefits (especially the fiber) is essential to the consumption.
Can I use ground flaxseed in place of flaxseed meal? Ground flaxseed can be used in place of flaxseed meal because they are both ground flaxseed. They both contain similar nutrients, nutritional value and will not change the outcome of the recipe.
What is flaxseed meal? Flaxseed meal is made when flaxseeds are pressed to produce flaxseed oil. The leftover crushed flaxseeds after the oils are extracted is flaxseed meal.
Can I substitute flaxseed meal for ground flaxseed? Flaxseed meal can be substituted for ground flaxseed. Both can be used interchangeably in recipes and provide similar nutritional value.
Is flaxseed meal bad for you? Flaxseed meal is not bad as it provides a good number of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and protein. Flaxseed meal benefits digestion and lowers bad cholesterol.
Is whole ground flaxseed meal the same as ground flaxseed? Whole ground flaxseed meal is not the same as ground flaxseed. Ground flaxseed is made from ground flaxseeds while flaxseed meal is made from ground flaxseed after the oil has been extracted.
Wrapping Up The Ground Flaxseed and Flaxseed Meal
Ground flaxseed and flaxseed meal 8 might have different names, but the products are the same. Both ground flaxseed and flaxseed meal undergo grinding, creating a powder-like consistency often used as a supplement for flour when baking.
The main difference between the two is how each is ground; however, this doesn’t affect the nutritional value.
Ground flaxseed or flaxseed meal is considered the best way to consume flax seeds, as you’ll be able to digest it entirely and receive all the nutritional benefits.
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- USDA: Seeds, flaxseed
- Manitoba Milling Co: Whole-Milled Flaxseed VS. Flaxseed Meal: There’s A Difference
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Effects of brown and golden flaxseed on the lipid profile, glycemia, inflammatory biomarkers, blood pressure and body composition in overweight adolescents
- Cleveland Clinic: Flaxseed: Little Seed, Big Benefits
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: The cardiovascular effects of flaxseed and its omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Naturally Lignin-Rich Foods: A Dietary Tool for Health Promotion?
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Dietary Flaxseed as a Strategy for Improving Human Health
- Bob’s Red Mill: Flaxseed Meal