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  • Nothing beats flax, just two table spoons a day will keep most diseases away :)

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      I don’t know about most diseases, but a 2011 review did conclude that “Studies proved that flaxseed has tremendous potential in disease prevention particularly cardiovascular disease (CVD), osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer (breast, colon, and prostate cancer), and constipation and also affects immunity favorably.” So listen to Nouh–two tablespoons a day!

      • Ronni

        Hi Dr. Greger,

        I’m a pregnant vegan and I’m concerned about not getting enough Omega 3. The ob/gyn told me to stop taking algal oil because it’s not FDA regulated. So I’ve been having 1 tablespoon of chia seeds a day. The dietician told me yesterday to have chia seeds and flaxseeds everyday. I’m so confused! Are you saying she’s wrong about flaxseeds? And is a tablespoon of chia seeds enough Omega while I’m pregnant?

        • ArtyB

          Ronni, this was the dr.’s reply to someone up in the thread italics mine.
          “Michael Greger M.D. NF Team chewy • 10 months ago

          Not only safe, but extremely healthy! I would encourage you to eat them with your vegetables to enhance carotenoid consumption (and encourage you to eat other nuts and seeds). The only population that I would advise against flaxseed consumption is pregnant women.”

        • Thanks for getting back to me via email. Sorry to read about morning sickness… medicine still hasn’t figured that one out. First congratulations on the vegan nutritional approach to pregnancy… you have already taken a huge step in avoiding exposure of your baby to persistent organic pollutants such as dioxin and endocrine disrupters and metals such as mercury and arsenic. Dr. Greger cites a study which says preliminary data suggests avoiding flax seed in last two trimesters of pregnancy to decrease preterm delivery…. see video Unfortunately the cited reference isn’t listed in under Sources Cited. It is very important to take Vitamin B12, insure adequate iodine and Folate. There is a book, The Everything Vegan Pregnancy Book… I haven’t read but it might be worth a look. I would review the other video’s that Dr. Greger has on pregnancy and work with your Ob/Gyn to work out a program for you. As I mentioned my daughter had two very successful pregnancies but had to “show” her physicians that her protein intake was adequate as they were pushing meat/dairy… maybe they learned from her. Seems like avoiding flax for the last 2/3 of pregnancy is reasonable. Good luck with the pregnancy and congratulations.

    • Will73

      How do you prepare/use/incorporate Flax?

  • JJ

    I learned about chia seeds only a few months ago. I had been buying and throwing away flax seeds for over a year. I just can’t make myself eat flax. I don’t like smoothies. I don’t like texture of flax seeds on things that I put them on. I just have them in my fridge until it is time to throw out. (Until recently when I started giving 2-3 tablespoons a day to my Great Dane who loves it.)

    So, I jumped on the idea of the chia seeds, but was really wondering if they were as healthy as the websites claim. This video answered two thirds of that question and I’m grateful.

    My thought would be: OK, so chia has only 80% of the omega 3s as flax – but if I will eat chia and not flax, then the one that is healthier is the one that I’m willing to eat. yes?

    It’s still something of a question for me because of the lignan issue. You say that flax has more lignans, but how much more? Do we know how many lignans are in chia seeds?

    Here’s another question: To get the nutrition from flax, you have to grind it up. I’ve been soaking the chia seeds over night. The seeds swell up and for the most part, get the consistency of tapioca (which I love). However, there is still a tiny, tiny hard spot in the center. So, am I absorbing all the nutrition I should be absorbing from chia seeds which are soaked overnight, but not ground up? Or is all the good parts of the chia seeds in that teeny tiny hard spot and my body won’t absorb it?


    • Toxins

      Get the ezekial cereal with flax in it. you dont even notice it

    • Melissa

      You might consider flax oil. It doesn’t have the texture. I added it to my daughters soy milk when she was a toddler because she was not putting on weight to the Dr’s liking. She didn’t complain of any taste. ;)

      • Melissa

        oh and I put my milled flax seeds in ground beef and don’t even notice its there. My family doesn’t either. So I sneak the extra fiber and nutrients into them. My friend’s very very picky eater son(textures and in general) that comes to my house often didn’t even notice.

    • Cory C

      This comment is super old, but I had the same question about Chia lignan content, so I did some research. I haven’t read the studies cited in the article, but according to this article from Dr. Fuhrman’s website Flax has 85.5 mg/oz lignan content while Chia has 32 mg/oz. That would mean flax has about 2.6x more than Chia. Definitely a large boost.

      The question then becomes how much lignan consumption is recommended to see the various benefits it can provide.

  • JJ

    For anyone who is interested, here is the breakfast that I have been eating every morning for 2 months.

    Put the following in a bowl the night before and stir:
    * 2 tablespoons chia seeds (organic)
    * 1/3 cup thick rolled oats (organic)
    * 2/3 cup water
    * a good dash of vanilla extract (maybe a teespoon)
    * a large amount of date sugar (maybe 1/3 cup?)
    * a large amount of cocoa powder (maybe 1/4 to 1/3 cup?)
    * 2-3 teespoons of a nut butter. I’ve been experimenting with different flavors.
    * sometimes I also add one or more of the following: cinemamon, cloves, pumpkin pie spices, banana slices

    By the morning, it is the consistence of a nice thick oatmeal, but it has a taste and texture that beats plain oatmeal by a million miles!

    And it’s pretty healthy, right???

    • JJ

      If I get 2 tablespoons of chia seeds every day, do I still need an EPA/DHA supplement??

      • LynnCS

        See toxics post to me, above. There’s a couple good books on chia seeds on The Raw Food World Store site. Lynn

    • Kaz Pen

      Sounds good – will give it a try!

  • JJ

    Flax seed question: Roasted Flax Seeds?

    I recently purchased a bag of flax seeds (admittedly: mostly for my dog, but some for me too) from Trader Joes. I guess I didn’t look very closely at the bag. It actually says, “Roasted Flax Seed”. The flax has a strong nutty smell – very strong compared to regular flax which I can’t smell at all.

    The back of the bag says, “Roasting the flax seeds reduces the natural moisture level in the seeds, resulting in 8-10% more fiber, Omega-3s and protein than regular flax.”

    Does this claim make sense to anyone?

    Also, even if the claim is true technically, I wonder if humans would actually benefit from this additional fiber and omega-3s? Wouldn’t some of that good stuff be destroyed in terms of bio-availability somehow through the cooking? I’m thinking about often hearing the advice that it is healthier to buy raw nuts and roast them ourselves. I’m not sure why, but I think it is because the roasting causes the good stuff in the nut to degrade faster??? Wouldn’t the same process apply to flax seed?

    Or maybe the issue with the roasting of flax seeds would only apply depending on the temperature of the roasting? I thought I remembered that Dr. Greger wrote somewhere that it is not temperature that affects the Omega-3s in flax, but exposure to oxygen – at least up to a certain temperature.

    Note that the bag does say, “Refrigerate After Opening”. If I did refrigerate, along with putting the seeds in an air-tight container, would the flax seeds stay fresh for a good long time even if they are roasted?

    Another related question: One of the reasons I give the ground up flax seed to my dog is that a vet said that flax seed has anti-inflammatory properties. I assume the same is true for humans. The question is, would roasting destroy the anti-inflammatory properties of flax seeds?

    Any thoughts?

    • DrDons

      See if I can answer some of your questions. Ground Flax seed has many nutritional benefits. Dry Roasting seems to enhance the nutrient absorption of nuts see video and since seeds are similar to nuts it might also apply. I’m not aware of any science to support. Roasting may drive out some water but seems to me since we want to avoid processed food it is more advisable to go with unroasted flax seeds. Of course you want to make sure you either grind the seeds or buy it already ground up. The seeds are very tough and the flax seeds will come out without contributing to your health. Flax is very healthy. I find that buying the ground flax meal and then refrigerating/freezing is the best way to keep it from spoiling. It does have antiinflammatory properties being high in Omega 3’s. Whether heat would destroy the antiinflammatory properties would depend on the temperature. I would stick with unroasted in the future until a study comes out supporting roasting flax seeds… keep tuned to…

    • Alexandra Georgiadis

      Hi JJ, I’m not well-informed on flax seed, but in many cases cooking foods, especially grains, can actually increase some nutrients’ bioavailabiltiy by breaking down materials that can interfere with the body’s ability to properly absorb important nutrients. As far as I’ve seen, roasted flax seeds are very beneficial. I imagine that you will indeed be getting the nutrients mentioned on the package, and may even be better off with roasted rather than raw. Until we know more information, maybe you can switch betwen raw and roasted. I’ll keep an eye out on this topic for a more informed answer. I hope this helps! Alexandra

  • LynnCS

    Well, Now I think I may be overdoing the Omega 3 thing. I use a big T dry of Chia seed in my morning smoothie and I still use a lot of Fish Oil. I have the same question as JJ. Also the lignan issue. How am I doing with the chia? And to share how I do it, I used to soak them up ahead of time, but became lazy, so I just put a glass of water in the bottom of the blender with a tablespoon of chia and run it on the lowest speed to stir. Let it sit while I get the vegis and fruit ready. Stir again and in goes everything else with some more water. It really only takes abt 5 minutes to start to gel. Just make sure it has enough water.

    • Toxins

      Hello Lynn,
      I must address your use of fish oil, as I highly recommend stopping its use entirely! Fish oil does not reduce inflammation which is one of the main reasons people take it
      Fish oil, similairly to fish, is the number one source of contaminants in the food supply and the distilling process to clean fish oil of heavy metals does not work.
      If you must supplement for omega 3, then take algae oil

      I have said this before in a previous comment, but I am not an advocate of consuming any oil since oil is essentially liquid fat with no nutrition. According to Dr. McDougall, “a condition of ‘essential fatty acid deficiency’ is essentially unknown in free-living populations….true essential fatty acid deficiency would result in: loss of hair, scaly dermatitis, capillary fragility, poor wound healing, increased susceptibility to infection, fatty liver, and growth retardation in infants and children.” Here is the full article Although the algae oil may have the DHA, oil is still oil and not a whole plant food. I respect Dr. Greger’s statement of avoiding fish oil for its many contaminants and using algae oil as a substitute but is it really necessary to ingest any pure DHA in the form of an oil? After weighing it out, to me, it doesn’t seem necessary.

      • LynnCS

        Hi Tox! I was just surfing the new site and noticed you had talked to me a year ago. Thanks! I guess I missed it then, but am pleasantly surprised to see all the info you included. I might say I stopped the fish oil shortly after I posted that. I also read the report that it wasn’t doing any thing good for my heart. I also love what I have learned from Drs. Esselstyne and McDougall, etc. My Doctor is a McDougall-er, so am getting the NO OIL talk from him too. As long as I have some weight to come off I avoid nuts, olives, avacados, and other fatty vegan goodies. Of course I miss them, but must get the job done. Probably won’t go back to them in the long run. Funny how one gets used to a new way of living when willing! Huh?

  • chewy

    is it perfectly safe to eat 2 Tablespoons of pre-ground flaxseed daily for the long term?i am a gluten-free vegan who eats no other fats/seeds/nuts/avocados….i eat vegetables,beans,fruit,squash,brown rice/brown rice cakes/air popped organic popcorn.

    • Soymoon

      You need healthy fats in your diet. Avoiding all fats is truly not good for you.

      • McRyan

        Fats are for babies. Or the injured. Or if Winter is coming.

  • chewy

    hoping to hear whether 2 Tablespoons of ground flaxseed daily for the long term is perfectly safe….

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      Not only safe, but extremely healthy! I would encourage you to eat them with your vegetables to enhance carotenoid consumption (and encourage you to eat other nuts and seeds). The only population that I would advise against flaxseed consumption is pregnant women.

      • ElizabethGrace

        Can you consume Chia seeds when pregnant instead of flaxseeds?

  • chewy

    why should pregnant women avoid flaxseed?what is dangerous about eating it?i wish that i’d known this 9 years ago when i was pregnant! i ate 2 heaping tablespoons daily the entire pregnancy which was great by the way. 20 pounds on and off within a week of giving birth.

    • Toxins

      The risk for having a still born baby is increased when one consumes flax seeds when pregnant.

      • chewy

        is this true?

        • Toxins

          Dr. Greger covered this in one of his videos. He mentions that there is an increased risk of stillbirth seen with flaxseed use when one is pregnant. I believe the video has not yet been released.

        • Leif

          Flaxseed has some of the highest levels of cadmium.

  • badgett

    A great breakfast:
    dump into a smallish saucepan:
    1/3 cup quinoa,
    1/3 cup steel cut oats,
    2 T. chia seeds,
    2 T. ground flaxseeds,
    1 t. cinnamon,
    1 t. ground cardamom,
    1 t. ground nutmeg
    1 sliced banana
    1 dash salt
    1 1/2 cup hot water
    Let it all soak for at least 15 minutes to overnight. Then simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring often. A splash of vanilla extract at the end is good, also.

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      Flax versus chia? Why not both–thanks Badgett! Sounds delicious. Anyone else have any personal recipes to share? I’ve only got a few (see

      • Eset

         What are your thoughts on the new book called
        “Chia: The Complete Guide to the Ultimate Superfood” by Dr. Wayne Coates. ?

        After browsing in this book today, I found out that overall Chia seeds are better for you then flax seeds. He states that lignans are known to start and prevent cancer. So, from what i understood and maybe you can clarify is lignans are good but how much?

        I found this book very informative as i take about a TBSP of chia seeds with my oatmeal w/almond milk and cinnamon. yummie. Just set it in the fridge for about 10-15mins… its sooo good.

        • Toxins

          Flax seeds are actually the number one source of lignins, and second to flax would be sesame seeds.

      • Kulas

        Hi Dr. Greger…
        Here’s my Morning Smoothie

        Few Blackberries, Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries
        1 Pitaya or Dragonfruit
        1 Kiwi
        1 Apple
        350ml Green Tea (Cold Steep)
        2 to 3 Cloves of Garlic (Organic)
        Pinch of All Spice, Cayenne, Black Paepper, Turmeric
        1/8 tsp Freshly Ground Cloves

    • I’m allergic to banana :-( What could I replace it with??

      • I bet there is no need to replace it, just leave it
        out. However, I bet blueberries (or some
        other fruit, like diced apples) would work great, too!

      • We have left the banana out many times. My husband does food-combining so doesn’t usually eat fruit with grains. The banana is not needed for this to be delicious.

      • Date-o-rade


    • Guest

      No need to replace it, just leave it out. However, I bet blueberries (or some other fruit, like diced apples) would work great, too!

    • Thanks for sharing this amazing breakfast! We fell instantly in love with this the first time I made it. I have a food blog and will be posting this on there very soon! A batch is simmering on the stove right now.

  • chewy

    regarding your interview with dr fuhrman:are you more in agreement with dr fuhrman’s eat to live and his inclusion of nuts/seeds and not in agreement with dr esselstyn and dr mcdougall?i definitely got that impression in regards to eating nuts/seeds. 2 TAblespoons of ground flaxseed is the only added fat i eat daily with my vegetables,fruit,beans and starchy vegetable/ 2T a fine amount?thank you!

  • DrDons

    No study that I am aware of shows harm from eating two tablespoons of ground flax seed a day. You need to look at recommendations of the “experts” based on the best science, the populations involved and what the goals of the patient are. Dr. Esselstyn deals with patients who have heart disease a different population than the “normal” population that showed value in consumption of nuts in the primary prevention of heart disease He himself eats nuts/seeds. Dr. McDougall also accepts the consumption of nuts/seeds which are whole plant foods. As he and Jeff Novick RD point out if you are trying to decrease your body fat consuming foods that are high in caloric density (2800 cal/# for nuts) isn’t a good choice. Dr. McDougall emphasizes starch intake due to meeting caloric requirements in populations. He does support the consumption of a wide range of vegetables. For all these “experts” you need to evaluate their claims based on the best science. All the information about antioxidants is hopeful but understanding it both within populations and for the individual patient requires assumptions that are effected by many considerations. So you have to beware of sweeping generalizations that aren’t supported by the scientific literature. It is challenging to make sense of it all. Sounds like your diet is consistent with the best current science but keep tuned to as the science is constantly changing.

  • badgett

    Ground flaxseed have (or is it has?) 37 calories and 3 grams fat per tablespoon. Not too much for me.
    Nutrition is like religion. The research becomes the bible and just about every idea can be backed up by research, as folks do with bible verses. We follow our nutrition gurus as we do with our religious leaders, with faith.

    • DrDons

      I think folks hang on to their beliefs about how they should eat almost as hard as they hang on to their religious beliefs. I think the difference is that there is science on which to base how and what you eat as well as which “guru” you should follow. We tend to navigate our complex world through our beliefs which can be based on information, stories, relationships and goals. Since science is constantly changing our beliefs are constantly tested against the newest information until at times we get to the point of shifting our beliefs. For instance I once believed that “Milk does the body good” currently I believe that it does the body harm and often contains poisonous substances. My new belief drives me to eat, shop and cook in a different way. If a “religious” text were to tell me to eat milk I would ignore unless given information to shift my belief. Religion is not being exposed to new science and most religious texts were written at a time when scientific paradigms or beliefs were wrong. So when selecting your belief system about eating I would go with the science keeping current via sites like In picking guru’s I would be cautious especially if they have vested self interests in what they are “selling”. Of course beyond the health aspect is the issue of what we eats effects the environment and the suffering of animals. You might be interested in the YouTube video by Dr. Melanie Joy, Carnism: The Psychology of Eating Meat, that provides an interesting view on the non health aspects of eating. Be well.

      • April

        Just a passing thought… the Bible( one religious text)
        does not say to drink milk. God did say he would lead his people into a land flowing with milk and honey, but that could mean the health of humans(breast milk) and abundance of plants(that bees use to make honey). Sorry, but I just hate to see people try to say the Bible is not “scientific”. Our creator is the ultimate scientist!

  • justava

    Should chia seeds be ground like flax seeds, or is it best to soak them first before consuming? Also, why should pregnant women avoid flaxseed?


  • Michael Greger M.D.

    For some context, please check out my associated blog post The Best Foods: Test Your Nutrition Knowledge!

  • bee

    How is it best to grind flaxseeds?

    Also, is it ok to use preground, or is it best to grind them yourself prior to consuming?

    • Toxins

       A coffee grinder may do the job. Pre ground flax seeds are much easier and nutrients are still stable in pre ground flax seed unless expired.

      • stacy

        I found a brand that uses sprouted flax seeds!  Is this worth the extra money?  They claim the sprouting method increases nutrients, increases absorption, and breaks down the enzyme inhibitors.

        I thought that preground flax goes rancid and oxidizes?

        • Toxins

           Sprouting is more of a diet fad then any real boost to health.

          “The magnitude of the nutritional improvement is, however,
          influenced by the type of cereal, seed quality, sprouting conditions,
          and it is not large enough to account for in feeding experiments with
          higher animals.”

          “Sprouting of grains causes increased enzyme activity, a loss of
          total dry matter, an increase in total protein, a change in amino acid
          composition, a decrease in starch, increases in sugars, a slight
          increase in crude fat and crude fiber, and slightly higher amounts of
          certain vitamins and minerals. Most of the increases in nutrients are
          not true increases, however. They simply reflect the loss of dry matter,
          mainly in the form of carbohydrates, due to respiration during
          sprouting. As total carbohydrates decreases, the percentage of other
          nutrients increases.”

           Yes pre ground can go rancid and oxidize but this is why you should keep it refrigerated until expiration.

          • stacy

            A fad? I’ve never heard that. All my research has shown that it is significantly healthier and more optimal…ugh, nutrition is so confusing!

            Re flax: so it is better to buy a bag of WHOLE seeds and grind them myself prior to usage…or is buying a bag of preground and keeping it in the fridge/freezer ok?

          • Toxins

            The studies I presented are worth looking into regarding sprouting. Advocates tend to misconstrue the data. Buying a bag of pre ground flax is just fine.

          • Lew Payne

            Nutrition tends to be quite straightforward when you focus on current peer-reviewed scientific studies (i.e., preponderance of evidence) and reject non-sourced statements (conjecture and hearsay).

  • lefty capuccino

    I cant agree with this assment of flax seed. how can a product that is a common carrier used in oil paint be healthier than chia?

    • Toxins

      Flaxseeds have more omega 3 and a much higher lignan content then any known food. Further benefits can be seen with this video

    • Lew Payne

      Water is a common carrier in water-based paints… so using your same analogy, one might conclude that water is not healthy. Science does not operate by analogy – it operates by evidence and observation. Perhaps decisions based on current scientific studies might prove more fruitful than those based on analogy and conjecture.

  • Flax seeds are always available, and cost far less than chia seeds. Flax seeds are easily ground with a coffee grinder and keep well in the freezer.

  • Neil

    I would say that if you enjoy flax seeds, stick with it. My only concern is that flax seed, when not ground fresh for use is susceptible to oxidation – particularly the omega 3 fatty acids. Chia is easily digested, though with about 20 % less Omega 3 – I wonder if chia might ultimately have more biologically available omega 3 in the end due to it’s more bio-available O-3s. When I make my morning smoothie it includes 3 oz of spinach, 3 oz of assorted kale (seasonally available here in Georgia and a cup of mixed frozen berries blended with some soy milk (deliberately not in a vitamix to retain more fiber) then I mix in 2 tbsp of chia, which absorbs up to 30x it’s weight in water and gives you a major load of fiber. Mix it together, let sit and mix again in fie minutes, let sit and consume fifteen or more minutes later. I call it time released water and nutrition throughout the morning and early afternoon. I’d be interested to see Dr Greger’s point of view on the oxidation factor in O-3 availability, as it is more or less just my own theory and I’d appreciate learned counsel. Also, I can’t get past the taste of linseed oil. hah

  • I just discovered Sweet Basil Seeds at my local market. They are fun to eat and kind of resemble chia seeds when soaked. Any nutritional or scientific data on these yummy seeds?

  • denise

    How do you grind flax seeds?

    • fringetree

      I use a coffee grinder.

    • Gerard

      vitamix blender

  • Sorry, have scanned through the comments and cannot seem to find the answer to how to ensure to get all of the nutrients out of chia seeds. Are the best to soak, grind or will the nutrients be released by our own digestive juices? I’ve bought organic seeds but want to ensure that I’m not missing out on the nutrition & it is not just passing through if you catch my drift?

    • Toxins

      It is best to grind the chia seeds to get the benefits. If not that, then you have to chew each and every individual seed to break through the tough cell wall.

  • Suresh Mathew

    Flax seeds have goitrogens , chia seeds don’t , so chia seeds are better considering the prevalence of hypothyroidism ….

  • Thanks for being succinct .

  • VeggyDC

    I cracked up after you said you called them….that was classic. I really appreciate your work. Thank you.

  • Damn, doc, you hardcore. Calling up the company and challenging them! You’re my effing hero.

  • Katiedid

    Just eat both! :)

  • Kulas

    Hi Dr. Greger…
    Here’s my Morning Smoothie

    Few Blackberries, Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries
    1 Pitaya or Dragonfruit
    1 Kiwi
    1 Apple
    350ml Green Tea (Cold Steep)
    2 to 3 Cloves of Garlic (Organic)
    Pinch of All Spice, Cayenne, Black Paepper, Turmeric
    1/8 tsp Freshly Ground Cloves

    2 tbsp Flaxseed
    1/2 tbsp sunflower seed
    10 pcs almonds

    all freshly ground

    • jazzfeed

      Wow! Tough love!

  • Isn’t a good reason for chia over flax calcium, though? I’ve been eating ground flax every day in my breakfast cereal or in my smoothies for a long time but I recently decided to do chia instead because chia seeds have some 16% to 18% calcium and iron, but ground flax only has 4% of each of those in 2 tablespoons. I find it hard to get enough calcium without making choices to incorporate more, like picking chia over flax. In my attempts to find high-calcium foods I saw in the bulk isle that chia has a lot of calcium and it seemed natural to jump ships.

  • Annette

    I was looking for something beside ground flax seed to take. The reason is that when I take ground flax it stops me up big time….and yes I do drink water about 2 to 3qts a day. I am vegan so I really dont know what to do. Was taking 2tbs a day with my salad in the evening. I am a breast cancer survivor and have high triglycerides at 187 but that is better then 2 years ago when it was 258 before I went vegan. Its going down slowly was hoping flax would help. Anyone else have this problem with flax? Thanks

    • Toxins

      Do you mean it causes you constipation? This would be very odd, as flax is not a low fiber food, but is actually quite high in fiber. Do you mix it with with other foods, such as oatmeal?

      • Annette

        I have a hard time going to the bathroom when I use flax not hard stool its soft but hard to come out, and i go very little once a day, strange as it may seem. But when I do not use it I have my normal BM’s twice a day without any problems. I do mix it with other food like my large dinner salads or sprinkled in my homemade vegan soup. Only like oatmeal with sugar and butter and since I do not eat butter or processed foods like sugar I stay away from it. Was wondering maybe I need more water say a qt 30min after a meal..just guessing. Thanks :)

        • Toxins

          That is very strange, and I wonder if it truly is the flax causing your digestive “back up”.

          PS. I have oatmeal every morning for breakfast, and what I find to be very tasty is when I have bananas, date sugar (ground dates), walnuts, raisins, ground flax and ceylon cinnamon. The large walnut halves taste almost buttery to me. Also, THICK rolled oats makes the whole difference and tastes far better then regular rolled and much better then quick.

          • Annette

            Hummm I will try the oatmeal with the ingred you have mentioned looks good to me.. thanks again

    • jazzfeed

      Try cutting to 1T, and have it in the morning instead of evening since you’ll be moving all day. Go from there as far as dose.

  • marialuciagomezgreenberg

    I love flax, but I also take a teaspoon of chia every day. My triglycerides have been really high, and I have been told that chia may be the culprit. Is there any truth to this?

  • Ian

    Can someone please clarify the actual amount of lignans in chia vs flax? This video uncharacteristically leaves one wanting for the actual stats and simply states flax is better. Come on doc! ;)

  • Complete protein seeds

    Not totally relevant for this video but can’t find a more suitable – what about hemp seeds? How do they compare to flax and chia seeds? Hulled or not hulled?

  • sue

    What about phytoestrogen? i heard flax is high in this.

  • David

    This article says chia is better, for several reasons.

    It also says that chia and flax have different kinds of fiber–chia has
    insoluble and flax has soluble, both of which have different benefits.
    The author’s conclusion was to eat both chia and flax.

  • Kay

    Hi Dr. Greger,
    I have uterine fibroids and fibrocystic breast disease. Can flax help with these issues? How about soy?
    Thank you!

  • Derrek

    For iodine, is 150 mcg of a supplement ok if it is kelp?

  • Emily Cohn

    Would it be too much to have two tablespoons of flax and two tablespoons of chia a day?
    If so, would having one tablespoon of chia and one tablespoon of flax be a healthier balance(with the fiber) compared to two tablespoons of flax a day?

    Thank you!

  • caro

    i am intolerant to flax seed, can I have chia seeds instead or is it in the same family

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Chis is fine :-)

  • Wade Patton

    SEEDS on FIRE!
    chiazy chiazy.

    go flax!

  • Rohit Chopra

    SUPERB! we can also go with these top rated Reviews that gives you amazing ideas to lose weight:

  • j parks

    For men, flax oil is a not good. Starting taking it 4 months ago (Udo’s Oil) at 1 tbsp per day. Started noticing more belly fat. Since it’s the only thing I changed, it’s not good for guys. Can’t find much info about chia’s effect.

    • Johanna Martin

      Dr. Greger recommends that one not consume flax oil; he recommends the seeds only.

      • CrystalClearTruth

        Seeds are the same as oil. The only good thing about seeds is that the oil inside does not go rancid as fast as the pressed oil. As an update – after a further 5 months of NOT taking any flax, I’ve lost all the fat that I had gained while on the flax oil. I have been taking fish oil and chia instead and that has done the trick for me. Flax is bad news.

        • Johanna Martin

          While I think you are going in the right direction to consider flax, I think there is great benefit from consuming the whole item, as opposed to an extraction. Flax seeds contain a number of benefits that the oil does not contain. Consider reading the book, “Whole,” by T. Colin Campbell. The oil is not the same as the seed. It is an extract. We know that plant extracts are not as healthy as the whole plant itself. This can be seen in a number of examples with different plants.

          • CrystalClearTruth

            there are studies that back up my experience as well. Flax is bad. End of story. There are no benefits to flax that can not be gained by using other alternatives.

          • Johanna Martin

            The anti-cancer benefits of flax are the deciding factor for me since I had cancer in 2001 followed by surgery and radiation. I have not had a recurrence yet and hope to keep it that way. I still think you would find the book “Whole” interesting in your nutritional searches. Also, your weight gain was caused by oil–not the seed itself–so we really don’t know if the seed would cause a weight gain for you.

          • CrystalClearTruth

            no, both the oil and fiber are unhealthy. Flax is known to cause cancer – not cure it. A close relative died of cancer – only later did we realize that it started after a health kick of using lots of flax. And there are studies to this effect – only later and too late did we come across them

          • Johanna Martin

            Check these out:
            Of course your relative’s experience is anecdotal.
            Flax presumably fights the inflammatory effects of interleukin-1.

            Can you provide links to the studies that show that flax causes cancer?

          • CrystalClearTruth

            right. anecdotal. He’s dead, you insensitive monster. I have no use arguing with people like you.

        • Alan

          You would have to eat a LOT of flax seeds to equal the same amount of fat in 1 TBLS of flax oil. Or even 1 tsp for that matter. The seeds win out !!!!

  • Franciny

    Can you eat chia seeds after opening them and not refrigerating them for months?

  • Littlel

    I am wondering if bought ground flax seeds reduce the anti oxidant, vitamin and/or mineral quality or content compared to whole flax seeds?
    I know that this is true of ready sliced vegetables, can the same be said for seeds?

    • Alan

      From all that i have read it is by far the best to ground your flax seed daily – once a week is a good second best, lots better than buying them already that way. After grinding refrigerate if not eating them soon.

  • Littlel

    I was wondering whether or not buying ground flax seeds reduce the anti oxidant, vitamin and/or mineral quality or content compared to whole flax seeds?
    I know that this is true of ready sliced vegetables, can the same be said for seeds?

  • Mojorisen X

    Hello, I just want to verify, I’m ok to continue with the 2 Tbs of Chia and I can just add the 2 Tbs of Flax seeds. It should more than enough of what they both offer correct?

  • Tennitra L Scott

    Flaxseeds in my oatmeal awesome

  • Kaz Pen

    But surely chia seeds aren’t bad !!? Chia are better for fibre, calcium, and phosphorus, as well being a complete protein. So surely they are both good in their own ways for a healthy diet? Does it matter if one has more lignans than the other?

    • Thea

      Kaz: The video is not saying chia is bad. Not at all! The video is saying that flax has an “egde” on health because of the lignans. Does it matter? Well, if lignans are responsible for fighting cancer, then flax may be healthier in that respect over chia. It doesn’t mean that chia is not also very healthy. Does that help?

      Personally, I use both flax and chia. I try to incorporate flax into my diet for the range of known health benefits from flax. But chia works better in some recipes than flax in my opinion. So, I use chia when the situation calls for it, knowing that chia is also a very healthy food. Just sharing.

      • Kaz Pen

        Many thanks Thea – yes that is how I use flax and chia seeds, a mix! To me the video came across as being negative on chia which was a bit confusing.

  • jimothy66

    The Daily Dozen app has Chia Seeds listed under the 1/4 cup serving of nuts per day, but surely 1/4 cup of chia seeds is not being suggested, is it?

  • Bill Goff

    Ground flaxseed is usually suggested, on the premise that unground passes through the digestive tract undigested. So does fiber. I eat the whole flaxseed, chewing them up as best I can, thinking that the satiety of eating them and letting them pass through undigested, and the cleansing from larger stools as with fiber, is a good thing. I simply eat more of them, so that I chew enough of them to get the nutritional benefit as well. Surely our ancestors ate a lot of seeds similarly, with much benefit. Comments? Dr. Greger?

  • Vishal

    Hi, My age is 30, height is 5′ 7” and weight is 55 kgs. So i am underweight. Should i eat chia seeds to get required nutritions….can it cause more weight loss or helps me in gaining weight…

    • Joan E, RD-NF Volunteer

      Vishal- a few thoughts for you.. Your weight is at the lower end of normal BMI range. If you have always been slender and come from slender heritage… Then I wouldn’t worry too much about needing to gain weight. Unless it bothers you. If you want to gain weight there are some good recommendations listed below to help you. Chia seeds won’t give you all the necessary nutrients, but a well rounded diet will. In Dr. Greger’s book, How Not To Diet, he has a daily dozen recommendation that is really helpful in guiding and balancing your daily food choices to meet all your nutrition requirements. There is also an app called Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen which is great too!!

  • charles

    does anyone know of any solid information on whether Chia seeds or Flax seeds can produce a false positive on a Drug Test? I am tested randomly at my job of 16 years and dont want to lose it! thanks for any info. so far I find conflicting stories online. thanks!

  • Robin Manoli

    Ground flax seeds are recommended to not be eaten at all by the National Food Agency of Sweden (not translated but here is the source: The reason is because they contain cyanogenic glycosides and hydrogen cyanide. So perhaps the lignans of flax are great and all, but if you ground them and consider their omega-3 and mineral values, you would also have to consider their toxicity, right?

    Since chia seeds are a lot more palatable than flax (though flax mix well with coconut), I’m not so sure about flax winning here. Would be great to have an update on flax and cyan*.

  • andreaser

    Dr. Greger,
    What about someone who cannot have flax seeds?
    I have tried to consume ground flax seeds daily for several weeks at a time, and each time, it has resulted in severe cystic acne. I already have sensitive skin and a have had acne my entire adult life, but it’s mostly under control with a clean diet and a variety of dietary restrictions (no dairy, grains – especially wheat in any form).
    However, several health foods other people consume all result in several cystic acne for me – flax and coconut oil especially.
    Can you think of another way for me to get more Omega 3s into my diet without these side-effects? I’m guessing the problem is the phytoestrogens in flax, but I don’t know of any other options.
    Thanks for any help, you website is a great resource!

  • Bat Marty

    My former naturopath used to tell me that the fiber in flaxseeds was an obstacle to the absorption of its Omega 3 and that I’d better eat omega 3 fish capsules, instead…what do you think about the absorption matter?

    • Joanne B, RD

      The issue is really about whole vs ground flaxseed. Whole flaxseeds aren’t broken down in the digestive tract which means that the beneficial omega 3’s inside the seed are trapped. By using ground flaxseed or flaxmeal you solve this problem.

      • Bat Marty

        so the fier do not interfere (even if broken down there are some fibers) ?
        thank you!