I ran out of flax seeds a few weeks ago and couldn't find any whole seeds - just ground. I like to grind them myself for a couple of reasons. I figure that they'll be fresher if I do it myself. Whole seeds also last much longer than ground ones do. And, I've also found that when I pour a 1/4 cup of seeds into my coffee grinder I get 1/2 c. back. So, it's also a cheaper way to stretch them. Anyway, back to not finding whole seeds... I finally went to my CVS and found a 15 oz. container that didn't say they were ground. Since they were in a white plastic container I couldn't actually get a look at them. But, I needed them. So, I swallowed hard and handed over $11.99 + tax only to get home and find out that I had just bought ground flax seeds. Bummer. :0(
Friday when I went shopping at Trader Joe's, low and behold, I found a 15 oz. bag of whole flax seeds in the cereal aisle by the oats. Yay me! Can you imagine how I felt when I saw that they only cost $2.99? I swear, if it hadn't been so crowded I would have done a back hand spring! Well, really, I would have thought about doing a back hand spring. Momma don't move that way.
The bag on the left is my Trader Joe's whole flax seeds. Love how they leave a clear opening so I can actually see what I'm buying. How novel! The container on the right is my $12.99 ground flax seeds. So mysterious I wasn't even sure what I was gettin until I got home. Oh, and I forgot to mention that I even talked to the pharmacy about it and they had no clue, either. I felt like I was opening a jack-in-the-box just waiting to be surprised by the contents.
Anyway, CVS charged me 4 times more than Trader Joe's and I'll get twice as much from the seeds. That's just one more reason I love that store!
Below is some information copied from Wikipedia describing some of the health benefits of consuming flax seeds.
Flax seeds contain high levels of lignans and Omega-3 fatty acids. Lignans may benefit the heart, possess anti-cancer properties and studies performed on mice found reduced growth in specific types of tumors. Flax seed may also lower cholesterol levels, especially in women. Initial studies suggest that flaxseed taken in the diet may benefit individuals with certain types of breast and prostate cancers. Flax may also lessen the severity of diabetes by stabilizing blood-sugar levels. There is some support for the use of flax seed as a laxative due to its dietary fiber content though excessive consumption without liquid can result in intestinal blockage.
One tablespoon of ground flax seeds and three tablespoons of water may serve as a replacement for one egg in baking by binding the other ingredients together. Ground flax seeds can also be mixed in with oatmeal, yogurt or any other food item where a nutty flavor is appropriate. Flax seed sprouts are edible, with a slightly spicy flavor. Flaxseed is called 'Tisi' in northern India, particularly in the Bihar region. Roasted 'Tisi' is powdered and eaten with boiled rice, a little water, and a little salt since ancient times in the villages. It is aromatic and considered soothing for the stomach, useful as a laxative, and good for health.
Flax seeds are chemically stable while whole, and milled flax seed can be stored at least 4 months at room temperature with minimal or no changes in taste, smell, or chemical markers of rancidity. Ground flaxseed can go rancid at room temperature in as little as one week. Refrigeration and storage in sealed containers will keep ground flax from becoming rancid for a longer period of time.
There is much more information out there on the goodness and nutritional value of flax seeds, but the above information gives a pretty good idea. I've also heard that flaxseed oil is a good way to get in those Omega 3's. I'm not crazy about swallowing pills, so the seeds work well for me.
I hope you learned something today!