Organic Flaxseed vs. Non-Organic Flaxseed: Which is Better?

According to the Flax Council of Canada, organic and non-organic flaxseeds may not be as different as you think. This may steer you to examine which is better, organic flaxseed vs. non-organic?

Organic flaxseed is better than non-organic because of the lack of pesticides and harmful chemicals. While organic flaxseeds are the safer of the two, non-organic flaxseeds represent an excellent alternative because they’re affordable and nutritious. 

This article will delve into what flaxseeds are and the differences between organic and regular. In addition, I’ll inform you of three medical conditions, which if you possess one of, flaxseed may not remain a choice for you.

What Are Flaxseeds? 

organic ground flaxseed in a bowl.
Organic ground flaxseed

As a Certified Health Coach many clients ask me about food comparisons including flaxseed. Also, I purchase and consume it every day in my smoothies. Therefore, I have researched this topic in the past and present. Let’s examine the two types closely.

Flaxseeds are golden to reddish colored seeds that come from the flax plant. They have been eaten or used for medicinal purposes since ancient times. Today, flaxseeds are considered to be a “superfood” because of their incredible health benefits 1.

Research has found that consuming these little seeds may help lower the risk that you will get certain health conditions 2.

Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Smoothie Tip: I add organic ground flaxseed to all of my smoothies. I use ground flaxseed on Amazon that are very affordable. In addition, check out the high speed blender I use with the multi-tiered blade that blends frozen fruit with ease, Nutri Ninja BL685 with Auto-iQ Technology.

What Does “Organic” Mean? 

In Canada, some companies grow organic flax and label their products with the “organic” symbol. For flax to be considered organic in Canada, the producers must keep chemicals away from the crops throughout the entire growing and harvesting process. 

Producers need to have records that prove that their crops were grown organically. These records also need to trace the whereabouts of the crops, so the buyer will know everywhere the crop has been since it was harvested.

Flaxseeds are also grown in the United States where similar regulations are followed in regards to pesticides and chemicals.

Organic regulations are similar with other foods like in my blog post about organic bananas vs. regular ones. You may want to check out that one by clicking here, Organic Bananas vs. Regular Bananas: Which is Better?

Should I Buy Organic Flaxseeds? 

Organic flaxseeds in Canada go through more stringent tests than non-organic flaxseeds, so if you do buy organic, you’ll know that you are getting a safe product that hasn’t been tainted by pesticides or herbicides. 

However, organic flaxseeds also cost more than non-organic ones. So, if you are on a budget, you may want to consider buying non-organic flax. 

Since Canada puts all of its flax through stringent testing, deciding whether or not to buy organic is really up to you.

regular flaxseed.
Regular flaxseed

Are Non-Organic Flaxseeds Safe? 

Canada is the greatest exporter of flax in the world. Therefore, most of the flaxseeds available in the United States are imported from Canada. 

A nationally recognized organization called the Flax Council of Canada took a closer look at organic and non-organic flaxseeds to determine if there are any advantages of buying organic. According to their website, organic flax and non-organic flaxseeds are pretty similar as long as they come from a reputable supplier. 

Flax in Canada has to pass several tests and meet a number of health standards before it can be exported. Reputable suppliers make sure that their flax meets these qualifications before selling. 

The Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) tests flaxseed quality and ensures that only high-quality grains are exported 3. During these tests, members of the CGC check for contaminants or any unusual substances that may be harmful to human health. To do this, they bring grain samples back to their labs and conduct tests to make sure that no harmful chemicals remain. The CGC makes sure that every export meets the suppliers’ and consumers’ standards. 

Additionally, Flax has to meet Health Canada’s standards before it can be exported 4. Health Canada only allows for safe food products to enter the market. It is Health Canada’s job to determine that all food is completely safe for consumption. 

So, as long as non-organic flax comes from a reputable supplier, it is likely safe for consumption.

Health Benefits of Organic & Non-Organic Flaxseeds 

Listed below are three health benefits you’ll receive from eating both kinds of flaxseeds.

High in ALA

Flax seeds contain an omega-3 fat called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). This is a type of fatty acid that can only be obtained through your diet. 

The benefits of ALA are well known. A study found that individuals who consumed more ALA were less likely to get heart attacks 5. Additional research discovered that people with more ALA had a 14% lower chance of developing heart disease 6

Having more ALA in your body may also prevent you from having strokes. 

organic flaxseeds in a bowl and on a spoon.
Organic flaxseeds

Contains Lignans

Flaxseeds contain plant-based nutrients called lignans. Lignans have properties similar to antioxidants and estrogen. 

At first, researchers were concerned that lignans’ estrogen-like properties might increase breast cancer risk. 

However, a study conducted in 2013 discovered that women who ate flaxseeds had lower breast cancer rates than those who did not, especially among postmenopausal women 7.

Similarly, a study found that women who ate flaxseeds were less likely to develop breast cancer than non-consumers 8

The lignans in both organic and non-organic flaxseeds may also fight against cancer by inhibiting tumor growth. Lignans may help stop tumors from forming new blood vessels, which prevents them from getting larger. 

Flaxseeds provide you with 800 times more lignans than most other plant-based foods 9. So if you want to eat food that fights cancer, flaxseeds are the way to go.

Improves Cholesterol 

Flaxseeds may help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. 

One study of high cholesterol people found that eating three tablespoons of flaxseed powder a day reduced LDL cholesterol by 20% 10.

Another study found that consuming just one tablespoon of flaxseed powder per day was able to increase individuals with diabetes “good” cholesterol by 12% 11

Flaxseeds contain phytosterols, which also have cholesterol-fighting effects. Phytosterols are compounds found in plant cell membranes that can stop the body from absorbing bad LDL cholesterol, thereby reducing your overall cholesterol levels 12

Lower Blood Pressure

The antioxidants and many nutrients are beneficial for lowering high blood pressure. Blood Pressure explained has flaxseed listed as one of 30 supplements backed by science to lower blood pressure 13.

In addition, in a study where people consumed flaxseed for six months, both systolic and diastolic pressure were reduced significantly 14

So, eating flaxseeds is the way to go if you want to improve your cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

Do Organic or Non- Organic Flaxseeds Have Health Risks?

Flaxseeds may be unsafe for individuals with certain health conditions. 

  • During pregnancy, eating flaxseeds may be unsafe 15. The lignans found in flaxseeds have a similar effect as estrogen, which may negatively affect pregnant individuals. While the exact effects of flaxseeds on pregnant women is still inconclusive, it is simply safer to avoid them. 
  • Individuals with bleeding disorders should avoid flaxseeds. Flaxseeds have been found to slow blood clotting, leading to excessive bleeding in individuals with bleeding disorders 16. You should also avoid non-organic and organic flaxseeds if you are taking blood thinners (such as warfarin or aspirin) for the same reason. 
  • If you have diabetes, you’ll need to keep a close eye on your blood sugar levels while using flaxseeds 17. Flaxseeds have been found to lower blood sugar levels. When combined with diabetes medications, flaxseeds may cause blood sugar levels to drop dangerously low. 

If you have any questions to ask me about this article don’t hesitate to comment below or email us. You can find an email on our contact page.

Read Next – More Food vs. Food!

6 Reasons Chia Seeds Can be Bad

Chia Seeds vs Hemp Seeds: Which is Better? A Comparison

Ground Flaxseed vs Flaxseed Meal: The Differences

How to Store Flax Seeds

  1. USDA: The benefits of flaxseed[]
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Dietary Flaxseed as a Strategy for Improving Human Health[]
  3. Canadian Grain Commission: Grain harvest and export quality[]
  4. Government of Canada: Health Canada[]
  5. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Alpha-linolenic acid and risk of nonfatal acute myocardial infarction[]
  6. National Center for Biotechnology Information: a-linolenic acid and risk of cardiovascular disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis[]
  7. Springer Link: Consumption of flaxseed, a rich source of lignans, is associated with reduced breast cancer risk[]
  8. National Center for Biotechnology Information: The Effect of Flaxseed in Breast cancer: A literature Review[]
  9. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Flaxseed-a potential functional food source[]
  10. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Evaluation of flaxseed formulation as a potential therapeutic agent in mitigation of dyslipidemia[]
  11. National Center for Biotechnology Information: An open-label study on the effect of flax seed powder (Linum usitatissimum) supplementation in the management of diabetes mellitus[]
  12. Cleveland Clinic: Boost Your Cholesterol-Lowering Potential With Phytosterols[]
  13. Blood Pressure Explained: 30 Supplements To Lower Your Blood Pressure Proven To Work[]
  14. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Potent antihypertensive action of dietary flaxseed in hypertensive patients[]
  15. ScienceDaily: Pregnant Women Consuming Flaxseed Oil have High Risk Of Premature Birth[]
  16. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Flaxseed and cardiovascular health[]
  17. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Flaxseed and Diabetes[]

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