Which Are Better: Chia Seeds or Flax Seeds?

Which Are Better: Chia Seeds or Flax Seeds?
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What effect do chia seeds have on weight loss, blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, and inflammation?

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

We’ve been eating chia seeds for more than 5,000 years—historically, one of the main crops grown in the Western hemisphere. They are exceptionally high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, though, like flax seeds, it’s better to grind them up. Even eating two tablespoons of whole chia seeds every day for ten weeks led to no change in omega-3 levels. But the same amount of ground chia seeds did lead to a significant increase in blood levels of both short-chain and long-chain omega-3s. But, there appeared to be “no influence on inflammation or disease risk factors.” No change in body fat, blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, C-reactive protein, or any of the other markers of inflammation.

An earlier study had purported to show a significant reduction in C-reactive protein levels (an indicator of systemic inflammation), compared to control. But, if you look at the data, that’s only because there was a significant worsening in the placebo group that was given a couple tablespoons of wheat bran a day, instead. So, it’s not that the chia group got significantly better; the control group just got significantly worse.

Whenever researchers appear to be exaggerating their results, it’s always a red flag to check their funding source. But, they didn’t disclose any conflicts of interest. Five years later, though, the truth came out. The study was indeed funded by a chia company. Furthermore, the lead investigator had filed a patent to use chia seeds to treat diseases. Why didn’t they disclose this? Because the journal’s conflict-of-interest policy evidently didn’t “specifically require the disclosure of such information.”

Anyways, the “patent has since been abandoned,” likely because subsequent studies found no significant benefits for weight loss, blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, or inflammation after eating a quarter-cup of chia seeds a day for three months. The original study did show a significant drop in blood pressure, which was replicated by other researchers—though not as potent an effect as ground flaxseed.

The primary reason I prefer flax seeds over chia seeds, though, is their lignan content, averaging about 15 times more than other seeds, including sesame and chia seeds—thought to explain the anticancer effects of flax seeds, for both prevention and survival.

Chia seeds are certainly better than eggs and oil, though. By mixing one part chia seeds and nine parts water, and letting it sit, you can create a “chia gel” that can be used as an egg or oil replacer in baked goods.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Kristina DeMuth. Image has been modified.

Video credit: Julien Herman

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

We’ve been eating chia seeds for more than 5,000 years—historically, one of the main crops grown in the Western hemisphere. They are exceptionally high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, though, like flax seeds, it’s better to grind them up. Even eating two tablespoons of whole chia seeds every day for ten weeks led to no change in omega-3 levels. But the same amount of ground chia seeds did lead to a significant increase in blood levels of both short-chain and long-chain omega-3s. But, there appeared to be “no influence on inflammation or disease risk factors.” No change in body fat, blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, C-reactive protein, or any of the other markers of inflammation.

An earlier study had purported to show a significant reduction in C-reactive protein levels (an indicator of systemic inflammation), compared to control. But, if you look at the data, that’s only because there was a significant worsening in the placebo group that was given a couple tablespoons of wheat bran a day, instead. So, it’s not that the chia group got significantly better; the control group just got significantly worse.

Whenever researchers appear to be exaggerating their results, it’s always a red flag to check their funding source. But, they didn’t disclose any conflicts of interest. Five years later, though, the truth came out. The study was indeed funded by a chia company. Furthermore, the lead investigator had filed a patent to use chia seeds to treat diseases. Why didn’t they disclose this? Because the journal’s conflict-of-interest policy evidently didn’t “specifically require the disclosure of such information.”

Anyways, the “patent has since been abandoned,” likely because subsequent studies found no significant benefits for weight loss, blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, or inflammation after eating a quarter-cup of chia seeds a day for three months. The original study did show a significant drop in blood pressure, which was replicated by other researchers—though not as potent an effect as ground flaxseed.

The primary reason I prefer flax seeds over chia seeds, though, is their lignan content, averaging about 15 times more than other seeds, including sesame and chia seeds—thought to explain the anticancer effects of flax seeds, for both prevention and survival.

Chia seeds are certainly better than eggs and oil, though. By mixing one part chia seeds and nine parts water, and letting it sit, you can create a “chia gel” that can be used as an egg or oil replacer in baked goods.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Kristina DeMuth. Image has been modified.

Video credit: Julien Herman

Doctor's Note

Who grinds chia seeds? That was a shocker!

What was that about flax seeds and cancer? See:

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

185 responses to “Which Are Better: Chia Seeds or Flax Seeds?

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  1. Hello Nutrition Facts Public,

    For those who may not know, I have been participating on this site from the very beginning and was one of the first volunteer moderators. I’ve had many a lovely conversations on this site over the years and am proud of the way I helped shape the forum area.

    That said, I am now resigning (at least for the foreseeable future) as moderator. NutritionFacts is worth supporting. As you know, this site plays an important role in the world. Even though I am not going to be a moderator, I will continue to support NutritionFacts in other ways. I hope you will also.

    I also hope that the people who participate in this forum area will work together to keep it a place where people can come together to respectfully and honestly discuss the various topics of nutrition. The forum area brings huge value to the site by helping to clarify videos and blogs and helping people resolve problems. I love to see when people help others by sharing links to NutritionFacts videos and other resources, looking up source studies, and sharing personal experiences with how a Whole Food Plan Based (WFPB) diet has helped them. Keep going!

    I don’t know how well the ‘Participate in this discussion via email’ feature is working. So, I will continue to check back here for a couple days to see if anyone replies. I really appreciate all the support I have received from so many of you over the years. I wish you the best of luck–and healthy eating!

    – Your Thea




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    1. Thea: So sorry to hear the sad news. Your comments over the years have helped shape the cordial and intellectual atmosphere of this comments section from the beginning. You will be sorely missed by us regular site visitors for sure. And I hope you continue to weigh in with comments when you have the time. Wish you the best! Sincerely, Hal




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    2. I am going to miss your calm and cheerful voice of reason! Warm thanks, Thea, for all of your work here, and all the best to you as you move on to other things. I won’t stop wondering “what will Thea say about this?”, though, so I hope you’ll join us here in future from time to time.




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    3. Thea, Your efforts here has helped to make this the kind, caring and cordial community it is today. This island of civility is quite unique among the variety of groups working in this space. Max Plank once opined that,

      “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”

      But I believe that our goal is to change lives by changing minds by providing illuminating actionable information that can have profound impact upon health and longevity, and not to just simply outlive those who disagree with the information uncovered by this valuable organization.

      It has been a privilege to make your acquaintance. Thank you for all your support. You will be missed.




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    4. Hi Thea
      There is absolutely no reason I can think why you wouldn’t continue to come on line and communicate in the comment section. I so enjoy the discussions. And you have all those saved discussions.
      Anyhow it will be good for you not to work so hard.
      I am not loving this comment section and I am not sure why the switch took place. I think the communication was more instant before. But we shall see.
      Gale




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      1. And…..
        We need the edit ability back.
        Also onto the topic of the video. Great topic but Dr. Greger too much going on in the videos. A bit of a distraction from the message.




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      2. WFPBRunner: I remember when you first started visiting NutritionFacts. It has been great fun to watch your posts evolve.

        re: “There is absolutely no reason…” For starters, I can’t even log into NutritionFacts using IE, the browser I have to use with my home set up. That’s the beginning of a long list of reasons that started with the switch to wordpress and got worse with the site upgrade. There are ways around these various bugs–if one is willing to take several tedious and time consuming steps. My frustration level is through the roof and has been for months. I spent literally hours every day volunteering for this site even with disqus. That’s too much time to be dealing with completely unnecessary pain (different decisions could have been made by NutritionFacts).

        That said, I’m hoping these are just growing pains for NutritionFacts. I love this site and this community enough that I expect to be back sometime. It just won’t be anytime soon. Or we shall see. Maybe I won’t be able to stay away. ;-)




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        1. Yes, yes, yes. I remember when you first came around. (I originally started posting using my real name.)

          The comment section is very frustrating. I would write a comment, try and post and it would freeze. I would try again and same thing would happen. I also don’t like commenting through my email.

          I am not crazy about the videos. Too much going on. Growing pains I suppose. The website is what web designers are doing right now. My niece is a web designer and it looks like nine! :-)

          Anyhow we come for the nutritional information.

          So don’t go far.




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      3. I am sure she has her reasons why she wouldn’t want to continue to come on line – she just said she resigned! She’s not there just for you. Neither is MG. And it is clear she is frustrated with the recent “innovations”. That there is absolutely no reason you can think of why…only shows >you< can't think in terms of someone else's position, or empathize with the difficulties she and the rest of us have had with the site.




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      4. We are working hard to improve the comments tool from the tech end (including adding edit options). For more background, we’d been having issues with Disqus since we started using the platform a few years ago and finally had to make a change. At the end of last year it began to post comments using other people’s avatars/usernames! So when we would log on, it would look like me, Dr. Greger, or other commenters were commenting, when it wasn’t them who wrote the comments – you can only imagine the issue with this! This, along with issues with the login interfering with our NF login, was getting so bad that we had started discussing using a new platform (especially when Disqus’s tech support would not help us). We then found out that Disqus was putting ads on the site (something that intrinsically goes against NutritionFacts.org’s key values) and upon some late night contact with them, they told us the only way to remove them (which we needed to do immediately) was to pay a significant amount of money to Disqus each month – something that just didn’t make sense given that we were hoping to move away from them soon. So we made the decision to switch. While abrupt, the alternative to doing that would have been to remove the comments altogether, which we did not want to do, even temporarily, as it’s an important part of the community here.

        I know that is a long explanation, but we really do value everyone’s input and are working to make the current platform even more user-friendly!




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        1. It isn’t just the edit button. It was much easier to carry on a conversation. Q and A moved right with an indent. Now they are all up against Left border of screen.

          So anyhow you all might want to put some hours into fixing it. It is so valuable for people who are new here to get responses to their questions.




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        2. Kporigow, you guys are doing a great job. That’s ridiculous what you had to deal with with Disqus! I’m glad you didn’t take the comments down and honestly I don’t think there’s anything that horrible about the comments section right now, at least posts show up and it goes smoothly. I wasn’t even abel to always comment before or it wouldn’t show up and I’d end up commenting the same post 3 times! For me, I just love the information provided and the ability to ask questions or partake in a discussion.




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          1. able* I do miss the edit bottom lol, I hate typos. But anyways, sounds like you guys are working hard. I’m just glad there’s no more issues with actually posting now.




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    5. Thea, I don’t always comment on Dr. G’s videos (I’ve learned so much from you Dr. G over time), but I’ve always enjoyed your modulated comments, pulling the disparate comments together and seeing the center of the road for us all. Thank you for your service.




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    6. Thea, As in so many things we take for granted … some good person is behind the scenes doing good things. Thank you so much for your efforts. Nutrition Facts has been an important piece in my life. I worked through cancer last year and have really appreciated the information and dialog this site has brought me.
      Thanks again and good luck in your future ventures.
      Vern




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      1. I would like to thank Thea for all the support that she has given us. I often praised her for the quality and quantity of work and effort she put on this website. I wish you health and happiness in your life journey.




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    7. It’s like loosing one of the family Thea. You were always a voice of calm, reason, and scrupulous references. A real Pro. Don’t go. Good luck. Metta. -Blair




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    8. Thea, I am very sad to hear your news, and hope as do others of this forum that you will join us as often as you can. Your detailed, carefully crafted responses to questions are not only treasured by all for the information and resources they contain, but for the insight and encouragement you offered so generously to one and all. I personally would like to thank you for the support I have received on my health-seeking journey. All the best to you!




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    9. Thea, as many have very eloquently expressed already, your comments in the forum have always been something I looked to when the sometimes excitable and confused comments of others muddled the facts. Thanks, and good luck with moving on!




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    10. Thea, thanks for your hard work. Your comments were always helpful. I’m sorry you have to leave, and I hope you will come back to share your thoughts from time to time.




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    11. I have been visiting your website for nearly 2 years and read the book. I can’t thank you all enough. I’m sure we all hope to hear from you soon Thea.




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    12. Oh Thea, this place just won’t be the same without you! Sure hope all is good with you and you will stick around and comment. even if not as a moderator! Hugs!!!




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    13. Thank you so much Thea for all you’ve done. I’ve learned a ton reading your clarifications and comments for many posts. If life did not offer us so much to do, I could spend days on end just watching the videos and reading through the comments. Best to you for your future endeavors. -Denise Rose, 1/2 of the Happy Vegan Couple.




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    14. Thea, I’ve read all the comments below and I have to agree with all of them. You have been a beacon of light and reason, and an amazing resource, helping answer our questions with solid information we can trust, just as does Dr Greger. I’ve wondered in the past how much time you spend every day on your volunteer efforts. I’ve wondered if you are retired, or simply serve us all so beautifully before or after working. In fact, I’d love to know you, or more about you – what work you do, or have done, what you are moving on to now, etc. I think I’m not alone in feeling you have been friend, mentor, wise woman, and gifted diplomat in your responses. Thank you for your gentle, intelligent, and steady service over the years. I, too, hope you will continue commenting as you have time.

      And I, too, don’t quite know how this forum is working. I much prefer Disqus. It was easy, quick, and I only received emails from people as a direct response to a comment I’d made or question I’d asked. That worked much better than getting every single comment in a thread, after I’ve already read them.

      I also feel like everybody who used to make such informed and intelligent comments abandoned ship all of a sudden, but I guess that was because everybody’s name changed with the new forum. I’m seeing comments from familiar people again now.

      We’ll all miss you. Don’t be a stranger!




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      1. Rebecca Cody: Thank you for your incredibly kind feedback.

        I share your frustration with the current comment system. You can see more about this topic in my reply to WFPBRunner above.

        As for myself: You have picked up that I am a very private person. It’s been such an interesting task to balance sharing myself with the world (which I think is necessary for a good moderator) while also preserving my privacy. So, while I probably won’t satisfy all your curiosity, I will answer some of it. I literally spent hours every day volunteering on this site while working full time and having other obligations. For the last several years, I have given up breaks and lunches at work to moderate. I’d have the computer on all the time from when I first woke up at home to the time I went to bed, including all day on weekends. I’d do my best to keep an eagle eye on conversations, both moderating and participating as much as I had time for. I at least skimmed every single comment, regardless of where the comment was posted, and took one of several actions on comments when possible. I even took my computer on vacations when possible to keep up the moderating.

        I did all that, because a) I really do believe that this site has the potential to be a very important resource for the world and b) I believe that the forum is a super important part of making the site successful. And I believe that for the forum to work correctly, it requires the type of work that I did. c) It is extremely rewarding to help people when possible. Maybe I am wrong about what is necessary for the forum area to be productive. I hope so. Maybe you all can keep it going without me and even do it better! Perhaps it takes a village to run a forum. :-)




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        1. Thea, You are irreplaceable! Thank you for all those hours of loving effort. I can see, though, that you need to spend time outdoors, time away from computers, time to smell the roses. Spring, with its’ blossoms and longer days, seems the perfect opportunity. Oh, and you probably need a series of massages from all those hours on computers. I did after working long hours writing and editing at my last job before retiring.

          Rebecca Cody




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        2. Hi Allisfood
          There are so many wrong things in this comment I don’t know where to begin. Thea chose to spend that much time on the website out of a love for the WFPB cause. It is important that we all get along in the comment section because food is a passionate topic and people can get very upset and discussions can go South very fast.

          This website has come a long way. I am not sure what you are talking about when you mention charity. The money goes back into the website. Pictures used cost money etc. It costs money to have access to the articles. What used to be a one man show is now done by many. Dr. Greger has been able to quit his day job and and devote all of his time to this very important website. He is spreading the word and hopefully WFPB eaters will not be the minority. Your comment makes him sound like a bad guy and he isn’t.

          This is not about Thea! It is about the message of getting people to stop eating the SAD and dyeing from heart disease, cancer, and diabetes? Gezzzzzz!




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    15. Thea,

      I have been lurking for quite a long time already, but as soon as I saw your good bye message I created an account and this, my first comment here, is to thank you for all your work and all the good things you have brought to this site.

      You will be greatly missed. The only thing that comforts me is to know that I will still probably keep finding your comments as I dig through all the older videos.^^




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    16. Thea, I have read with great sadness, the news of your retirement as moderator.
      Thank you for your insightful, concise, intelligent, kindly put observations.
      May the universe bless you with all good things on your journey through life. Thank you for touching mine.




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    17. Thea, we had some heated debates, interesting nonetheless, here on the site in the good old Disqus days.
      I can only hope your resigning is the start of another journey and I wish you all the best.
      And because I always like to have the last word, and because now that you are not a moderator anymore maybe you won’t contradict me: WFPB, in some of its promises, is highly speculative. :P




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      1. George, in honor of Thea… No, a WFPB diet is the most life saving, healthy, disease preventing diet there is. It is truly the way we are biologically designed to eat. See, when it comes to irrefutable science as well as those of us concerned with sustainability and a compassionate and just world, you never get the last word ;) MUAHAHA




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    18. Thea, If there ever was a person who personified the true meaning of the word “moderator”, it is you. Watching you calmly answer even overt trolls was inspirational and helped me to self-moderate my own comments when I all I wanted was to rain down righteous snark all over the head of some obdurate and sanctimonious troll. I would just think to myself “How would Thea answer this?” and a wave of calm would wash through me and I could craft a thoughtful, fact based reply or realize that any reply was pointless and quietly move on. So thank you for providing such an illuminating example for the rest of us.

      With Great Affection,

      Jim Felder




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  2. The Swedish National Food Administration says to not eat grounded flax seeds because of their ability to release hydrogen cyanide and to limit whole flax seed consumption to 1-2 tablespoons per day. Opinions?




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    1. I eat a tablespoon or more of ground flax seeds daily and I’m thrilled by the results. Two years now. If I miss them for more than a couple of days I get BPE symptoms. No plan to abate.




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    2. Hi Patrick, I agree with the limited amount as certain plants have cyanogenic glycoside compounds in them as a form of protective factor for the plant. A few examples could be apricot kennel, cassava, linseed (flax seeds). There are a lot of studies on bioavailability of cyanide after consumption of foods containing high levels of cyanogenic glycosides. I refer you to this study and which goes into a lot of detail. But What is interesting is that our body has such complex mechanism from liver enzymes to stomach acids and above all the gut bacteria to protect us.
      In summery, I would agree with the limitations from Swedish Food Administration.

      Bioavailability of cyanide after consumption of a single meal of foods containing high levels of cyanogenic glycosides: a crossover study in humans




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    3. Human food grade flaxseed has about 139 ppm HCN, and animal toxicology reports the no observed adverse effect limit (NOAEL) for chronic oral cyanide (HCN) at 12.5 mg/kg/d, with a human equivalent dose of 2 mg/kg/d. So, for an average 60 kg adult, up to 120 mg/d of HCN, or 860 g flaxseed, or 60 Tbsp of flaxseed, would match that NOAEL. The Swedish food authority doubtless add safety factor to their calculations of about 30 fold. 60 Tbsp of flaxseed would be 4600 kcal, its very unlikely that any human could approach the human equivalent of animal study NOAELs. I couldn’t find any case studies in the literature of toxic exposure from flaxseed.

      Food HCN poisoning isn’t uncommon with apricot seed ingestion in Turkey. The food with the highest HCN content appears to be raw bamboo shoots, and there are both cases of HCN poisoning from bamboo shoot juice and tragic deaths from HCN inhalation in a well for pickling bamboo shoots.




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    4. Cyanide is also found in most B-12 capsules, apple seeds. Lima beans, cassava peaches and almonds. But “the dose makes the poison” and it’s much too small to do you any harm in these foods.Your body is in fact, adept in dealing with the small amount of cyanide found in foods. If flax seed were harmful, you’d suffer from respiratory distress, dizziness, rapid and unsteady breathing, headache, weakness and tremors as the first signs of cyanide poisoning. These symptoms would be felt within less than a minute if you ingested even 5% of a lethal dose. Flax seeds are on the FDA’s Generally Recognized as Safe list, have been tested for cyanide toxicity and have been found to be safe in amounts of 50 grams (5 tablespoons of whole or 7 tablespoons of ground flax seeds). A greater danger would be anaphylactic shock for the rare individual who is allergic to flax. https://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/GRAS/NoticeInventory/ucm181935.htm




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    5. They’re full of crap, they just don’t want people to be healthy and eat plants because it takes money away from big pharma as well as the animal agriculture industry who work together hand in hand, incidentally. I was eating at least 3 tbsp of ground flax every single day for months when I got my blood tested and decided to check for cyanide… the results? Zero cyanide issues. My blood work came out fabulously. And my skin and hair looked amazing. Try it out for yourself. See how great you feel and look after a few months taking flax, then get your blood tested.




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    6. There’s cyanide in Almonds and Apple seeds too. It’s best to eat a variety of foods anyway. It would be better if we only had access to items during their time of readiness versus year round.




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  3. Thea: So sorry to hear the sad news. Your comments over the years have helped shape the cordial and intellectual atmosphere of this comments section from the beginning. You will be sorely missed by us regular site visitors for sure. And I hope you continue to weigh in with comments when you have the time. Wish you the best! Sincerely, Hal




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    1. Exactly my question too. How does hemp fare? I was doubly fooled regarding chia, both the need for grinding and the absence of efficacy. I chose it over hempseeds in non-grinding applications for it’s higher W-3 content (and, of course, the pet thing). Live and learn.




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      1. I use chia seeds for a thickener and it works great. I use a lot more hemp seed and go through about 40-80 grams a day. I don’t use flax much as I hate to grind things up all the time. I too would love to see a comparison of hemp & flax. If anyone has some links please post them.

        PS. Costco has the best deal on hemp hearts in my area. $12 (US) for 900 grams.




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        1. Hey TRM. I hate daily grinding of flax too. What I do is just grind a bunch at once and keep them in an air tight container in my freezer. I got the idea from a moderator on this site who said he froze his flax, too.




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    2. All three (Chia, flax and Hemp) have plant based, vegetarian, vegan protein with all essential amino acids. All are gluten free and have (omega 3 & 6 fatty acids. They are all good source of fiber. Hemp has more protein in compare the two other seeds. It has up to 7 gram in 2 table spoon in comparison with Flax and Chia seed have 3 g protein in 2 table spoon serving.




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    3. I tried a package of hemp seeds when I wasn’t watching the price…$4.50 for a few oz. I liked the taste except for the fact that they are 3/4s or more husk…with not much seed inside. Major fiber and not a lot else. Hemp hearts (the seed inside) are even more expensive.




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  4. Just watched the documentary “Food Choices” last night and WOW. I’ve watched at least 50 food documentaries and this by far was the most inspiring. Thank you Dr. Greger for your contribution to the movie and for this website. I realize now that even though I’ve always tried to eat healthy, I’ve been going about it the wrong way. As Americans, we are “fed” so many ideas on how to eat healthy, and I finally feel like I learned something that makes sense. With some will power, I now have the chance to increase my health and regain the energy I’ve been lacking for so long.




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  5. Not sure where the animation issue currently is but I prefer the old animation over what’s this video. It’s sluggish, overdone and distracting IMO. Too busy but also not snappy.

    Interesting about chia. Figures. If flax has natural cyanide we should know. I eat more than 2 tablespoons a day. I toast it lightly in a dry skillet. Rather like shuffling popcorn. A bit of salt and it’s a delicious crunchy, bacony snack easily sprinkled over other foods, bursting with savory flavor.




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    1. I eat a lot of flax every day and for this reason, last summer when I got my blood work done, I had it checked for cyanide and I had no issues with cyanide in my blood work :) I think instead of waiting for studies to come out (which are always helpful), we should try these things out for ourselves. Also paying attention to how we feel alone is a good way to know whether a food is safe or not… it’s how our ancestors learned and sometimes simplicity is all it takes. I’ve never had any of the cyanide poisoning symptoms and I’m really healthy, feel great and my hair and skin has never looked better and I don’t even get head aches or colds anymore (haven’t gotten sick since going WFPB vegan and it’s been years).




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  6. I’ve had both … whole chia seed changes the flavour of foods and I find ground flax seed doesn’t .. or maybe I just like flax better, they both thicken up my oatmeal when I add too much water which is what I mostly use it for .. as a thickener ………. sorry to hear of any moderator leaving .. thanks for your services.




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  7. I eat between 120 and 130 different plant varieties every day. I do this by bundling like plants. For example, I buy, portion identically, mix, grind, and freeze the following seeds for daily use: chia, flaxseed, hemp, poppy, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower. I sprinkle a tablespoon of the seed flour into each of my daily meals.

    I bundle my fruits, legumes, nuts, spices, vegetables, and whole grains similarly. Why benefit from a half-cup of one type of plant when you can enjoy the flavors and the nutrients of a half-cup of four or more?




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    1. I like your style. Variety actually trumps volume, not that volume is unimportant. I make a big batch of breakfast smoothie (whole food, non-dairy) with six kinds of fruit, six kinds of vegetables, ground green tea and hibiscus, cinnamon, and flax, package it up into single portions and drink one with my home made muesli (which includes five nuts/seeds). (Got to love that Vitamix.) My lunch salad follows the same approach, which is where I add spices.
      But no way can I compete with 120-130 varieties. Very impressive.
      The story I like to tell is about the nutritionist who was asked, “What is the healthiest nut?” Her answer was almonds, which is a great nut. But I think the correct answer is, “all of them, in moderation.”
      Good health to you!




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      1. Stephen, 120–130 daily plant varieties is very easy to achieve through bundling. I am happy to share the details of my techniques, free of charge and free of obligation, with anyone who wants the information.




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          1. Stephen, I developed my bundling system primarily because I hate to shop, even once a week, and I will not cook distinct recipes every day and especially every meal. My method allows me to batch portion, batch store, and batch cook an unusually diverse variety of plants and then just thaw single servings and warm them as I wish.

            Here’s a link to a text document that explains my process: https://www.dropbox.com/s/728t2rfvyzbke4m/170407bundling.rtf?dl=0

            I hope that NutritionFacts will allow the public to include URLs in their posts.




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            1. Glad to meet another “bundler” :-) I also bundle many types of foods, but not quite the total number that you list in your very comprehensive write-up. I subscribe to the philosophy of T. Colin Campbell regarding the synergism of many foods working together to enhance their efficacy. Of course, logically, there could be a few combinations of foods that lead to a detrimental effect, but I think on the whole, the benefits outweigh the detriments. And, of course, the astronomical number of combinations prevent complete testing to find out which combinations are positive and which are negative! Thanks for posting your write-up.




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              1. Likewise, I’m glad to learn that others also practice bundling.

                You make a good point about some combinations perhaps working to a negative effect, but I assume that, because my daily dose of so many nutrients from so many sources is small, the likelihood of any causing serious conflict with others is reduced / eliminated. I’ve been eating this way for six years and have experienced nothing but perfect health, unparalleled energy, and innumerable compliments about my youthful appearance from complete strangers.

                The only changes I intend to make to my diet are those recommended by Dr. Greger as his study of nutritional research continues.




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            2. Wow, I have not thought about any of this. New to a healthy diet am very grateful you wrote this all up! :) It will definitely change my meal preparing habits.

              Thank you very much Prolongevity!

              Grüße, Denis




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              1. Tahnour, I’m glad you found my explanation to be helpful, and I hope that you’ll share the information with others.

                Just curious, are you the same Tahnour that appears in Lang-8 conversations?




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                1. Should I find likeminded eaters I will share your link for sure :)

                  I have signed up to lang-8 as Tahnour at the beginning of my Japanese studies a couple month ago because as native German speaker I was sure I needed some help, sadly, due to Job reasons I had to pause my studies an learn Dutch, which goes way quicker.
                  I intent to return to Lang-8 once I have reached a sufficient high proficiency in Japanese so I will not bore the people with overly simple textbook phrases :)

                  Greetings, Denis




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            3. I soul de love to see a few days of your daily menus so I can try to duplicate this. Your nutrition plan sounds incredible and intriguing and I would love to try it.




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              1. Newbie, the bundling document that I uploaded for anyone to download and use explains what I eat every day.

                I eat several kinds of fruit and spices plus coffee at breakfast. For lunch, I eat several kinds of crudité raw, separately. Then I cook together several kinds of cooked dried beans, several kinds of roots/tubers/gourds OR several kinds of mostly-green vegetables, several kinds of ground seeds, and several kinds of spices. Later in the afternoon, I eat several kinds of grains and two or three kinds of fruit, several kinds of spices, and coffee. Later I eat several kinds of nuts, drizzled with Bragg liquid amino and Bragg nutritional yeast.

                I batch prepare (portioning and cooking) as much and as many of these as I can for seven days. At the end of seven days, I run out and then grocery shop again. The nuts, seeds, roots/tubers/gourds, and mostly-green vegetables I batch process in much larger quantities in order to freeze and deplete over the course of ten weeks. I store these in nine-ounce glass jars.

                I don’t really prepare meals according to recipes ever. And I never tire of what I eat, even though I eat essentially the same thing every day, because I’m eating so many different plants every day.

                If this strikes you as being too much work and trouble, just start modifying your recipes by adding more than what is suggested. For example, if a recipe calls for a quarter cup of ground chia seeds, mix chia, hemp, sesame, pumpkin, flaxseed, and sunflower seeds together and use a quarter cup of the mix. If a recipe calls for a cup of mashed apple, use a quarter cup of a mixture of mashed apple, mashed pear, mashed banana, and mashed apricot, or strawberries, or almost any other kind of fruit.

                In other words, just replace any single ingredient with a variety of like ingredients in the same amount as the recipe requires. This isn’t a precise science, and it doesn’t need to be. Try it and then return to this page and let me know about your experience. I want to know how you adapt the idea to your own life.




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                1. Thank you for your explanation. It actually clarified the previous document.  I will try to do this and Ill let you know how it goes.  Tks again.




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        1. I’d love to learn more of your bundling of various foods. I imagine most of us who eat WFPB mix it up a lot, but you probably take the prize!




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      2. Variety allows us to hedge our bets. But as Dr. Greger and a growing body of food scientists continue to dig into the weeds, we’re starting to see that some plants may trump others.

        All nuts are not created equal, or so it seems. There are several comparative studies out there (discussed here) showing the Juglandaceae family of nuts–pecans and especially walnuts–to be tops when it comes to health-promoting properties. Of all nuts, English walnuts appear to be richest in phytonutrients and omega 3s. They’re a rare source of ellagitannins, melatonin, myricetin and both gamma and delta tocopherols, forms of Vitamin E that help fight cancer, and according to Dr. G, have ten times the anti-oxidant capacity of black walnuts.

        Unfortunately, almonds, even organic ones, are usually pasteurized to reduce the possibility of contamination, and heating diminishes many phytonutrients.




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  8. Ya know, Chia seeds, cocoa, dates and soy or almond milk make a terrific chocolate pudding, but I find myself usually reaching for a piece of fruit when I want something sweet.

    That being said, I eat ground flax seeds every day. When combined with balsamic vinegar, flaxseeds make an amazingly creamy salad dressing that brings out the flavors of both savoy vegetable or sweet fruit salads. I made a big bowl of potato salad with spinach and red onions yesterday using this dressing, and it was a revelation. It was all I ate or wanted to eat. It was very satisfying.

    Give it a try. It a great way to eliminate a place where oil is typically used, and it does the job better.

    AND, it’s a great way to work more vinegar into one’s WFPB diet which provides provides a variety of benefits, not the least of which is increased insulin sensitivity… see “Can Vinegar Help with Blood Sugar Control?” https://nutritionfacts.org/video/can-vinegar-help-with-blood-sugar-control/




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  9. The new website does not allow me to see the entire video on my laptop (top and bottom at the same time) without going to full-screen viewing, which I find extremely annoying. I miss the old website. I agree with others that the animation is overdone. Just a clear snapshot, not moving for highest resolution, that clearly shows the title of the journal cited, and the ability to freeze-frame it to read the entire page, would be more than adequate. Newer does not mean better, as the newer website is less intuitive, less attractive, less functional and less viewable. Big fail.




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    1. Hi José, thank you for the feedback. The new design was developed after gathering a large amount of user input, and while we may not be able to make other changes immediately we are capturing all of this feedback, as it’s very important to us to ensure a happy audience! With regards to the video size, I had this same experience at first and it’s a result of the default resolution settings on many computers. If you have a Mac you can simply hit Command then the – sign key, and it will decrease the page size a bit so you can see more of the page (and the full video) in your browser. If you have another kind of computer, there should be a similar function available. I hope that helps!




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          1. On my Chromebook I can enlarge and reduce with Control+ or -. There is also a function key at the top for making the picture larger or smaller.




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      1. Thanks for the tips, kporigow. On a Windows computer, one can zoom out by holding the “CTRL” key and hitting the “+” key. (Zoom in with CTRL “-“)
        It’s just a little extra work, because when one zooms out to get the video to fit entirely within the screen, then the text is too small to read, so when the video is finished, one must zoom in again to get the text back to a normal reading size. I think it would help a lot if the two menu bars at the top could be made thinner. That might prevent the need for so much zooming in and out.

        I hope this is taken as helpful suggestions. I know the whole NutritionFacts team is trying hard to make a wonderful website even better! And many thanks to you all for your hard work.




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        1. Ooops, I just realized I got my “+” and “-” keys backwards in my previous post! Correct way is CTRL “+” for zooming in and CTRL “-“” for zooming out.




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      2. I have the same problems as Jose.
        Very few people will bother trying to find out how to fix the website’s screen size problem – I won’t because I expect websites to be user friendly. If this site isn’t, I will spend less time here. I used to come here every day before the changes. Now I visit only every few days and find the new videos difficult to watch.




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  10. Isn’t there research showing that consumption of soluble fiber helps lower LDL? If so, I’m confused as to why eating chia seeds wouldn’t help lower LDL. Can anyone point me to an explanation of this?




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    1. Thanks for your question.

      It took me a while, but I have found a review that states:

      indicated that serum triglycerides (TG) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) were significantly decreased whereas high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and ω-3 PUFA levels were increased

      The downside: these were done on animals and there is indeed lack of evidence on chia seeds being able to lower cholesterol. And in regards to the fibre content, could it be because according to this review:

      Water-soluble fibers (specifically, beta-glucan, psyllium, pectin, and guar gum) were most effective for lowering serum LDL cholesterol concentrations, without affecting high density lipoprotein (HDL) concentrations.

      And since chia seeds are high in insoluble fibre, the effect may not be as sound?

      Hope this answer helps.




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  11. I like your style. Variety actually trumps volume, not that volume is unimportant. I make a big batch of breakfast smoothie (whole food, non-dairy) with six kinds of fruit, six kinds of vegetables, ground green tea and hibiscus, cinnamon, and flax, package it up into single portions and drink one with my home made muesli (which includes five nuts/seeds). (Got to love that Vitamix.) My lunch salad follows the same approach, which is where I add spices.

    But no way can I compete with 120-130 varieties. Very impressive.

    The story I like to tell is about the nutritionist who was asked, “What is the healthiest nut?” Her answer was almonds, which is a great nut. But I think the correct answer is, “all of them, in moderation.”

    Good health to you!




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  12. Thea, we will miss you!!! Your contributions have been so valuable, and I am one of the multitude who will be forever grateful. Best wishes to you in all your future endeavors!




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  13. I’m so sorry you are going. We will miss you!

    I do not like this video. I had to stop watching it and only listen to Dr G. As usual, he’s wonderful but I miss the old videos.




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  14. Thanks Thea for having been here. Hope whatever is next is good for you.

    Also hope someone as knowledgeable steps in to take your place.




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  15. Great information on chia vs flax seeds. Thea, you will be missed. You pulled off a very hard task – sharing information and often correcting mid-information in a graceful way. You have pointed me and others in directions to further our knowledge and for that we will always be grateful. You have had an impact and will continue to no matter what you are moving on to. Best of luck and a big warm Thank you!




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  16. I put ground flax on my oatmeal every morning and sometimes in a smoothie. Chia seed are too expensive to include in my daily diet unless they have some wondrous health-giving properties, which they apparently do not. Thanks for the information.




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  17. For years I have used 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds, combined with the liquid in a recipe, as a replacement for eggs in any recipe for baked products, such as whole grain muffins. Both ground flax seeds and chia seeds make a gel when combined with liquid that is a nutritious vegan replacement for eggs in a recipe for baked products. Because ground flax seeds are extremely sensitive to heat and light, I briefly grind 1 cup of the seeds in my blender and store them in my freezer in an opaque container with a tight fitting lid. I do the same with chia seeds. My understanding is that organic golden flax seeds are the most nutritious flax seed, so I buy them. My recipes for vegan whole grain muffins and other baked products are online, available to be to be downloaded for free. If anyone is interested, you are welcome to email me and I will send you the website and how to access the recipes.




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  18. Every morning I have a glass of Almond Milk with a tbsp or 2 of Chia seeds…that has been sitting in the fridge usually over night. I do this so that the seed absorb the liquid and really fills me up first thing in the morning. However, I was hoping to get some nutritional benefits as well…should I switch to ground chia seeds as well?

    Side note: I already add ground flax seeds into various foods through-out the day.




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  19. Question about Flax seeds. I have been told flax and chia seeds ” are great sources of n3 (omega 3 FA?) ALA, but nil DHA & EPA. Humans can convert some ALA to DHA&EPA, but not enough” Do I need to be taking fish oil or an algae product to cover the DHA and EPA humans need? I worry fish oil is not without contaminants (farm raised), or sustainable (wild caught, plus contaminated oceans) …..




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    1. In another video, Dr Greger recommends taking some algae-derived DHA. In my own case, I have additional reason to take the DHA; I appear to be allergic to flax seed, so I can’t use it as my source of omega-3 anyway.




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      1. Could you say what symptoms you get because I wondered about whether I might be allergic to flax. My TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) almost doubled when I was taking flax seeds. I read somewhere that they can interfere with thyroid function (they also say that about soy).




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  20. Thea, thank you for your service. You will be missed. I hope this is a happy move for you.

    ” I agree with others that the animation is overdone. Just a clear snapshot, not moving for highest resolution, that clearly shows the title of the journal cited, and the ability to freeze-frame it to read the entire page, would be more than adequate.”

    I agree totally. The new animation gives me motion sickness–for real.




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    1. The newer style videos that have too much motion, I just listen to those.
      They literally give me vertigo!
      Sometimes I have to listen several times, since it’s easier for me to remember info when I see it, too.

      Perhaps try that?




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  21. Something to consider with regards to Chia seeds …. Chia and flax have about the same amount protein….. However…chia is one of just a few plant sources that is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all of the needed protein-forming amino acids.

    More significant to most people’s health issues is the fact chia seeds contain a remarkable amount of Calcium: An ounce of flax seeds provides seven per cent of your daily value (DV) of bone-healthy calcium, but chia seeds have more than double: 177 milligrams or 18 per cent of your DV.

    Another plus of Chia seeds , Phosphorus , chia will give you a 27 per cent / 265 milligram per ounce




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    1. All known edible plants have all essential amino acids, and the quantity of protein provided by a tablespoon of chia seeds is trivial. Nil, if they are unground.




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    2. Good point about Calcium and Chia seed.
      Plus, I don’t see where it has to be a battle between the two.

      Why not take both, since they’re both relatively inexpensive, have complementary benefits, and readily available in stores and online.

      I’d like to know more about the Cadmium content of Chia, if it’s comparable to that of Flax.




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  22. I just read this on Wikipedia: Lignans may also have anticarcinogenic activities. Some epidemiological studies have shown that lignan exposure associates with lower risk of breast cancer,[9][10] nevertheless the inverse association with an array of other cancers (except glioma) is far more correlated in scientific literature.




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      1. As long as we are getting clarification, does one need to discard the soaking water (like with nuts) to get rid of the enzyme inhibitors? Or are the enzyme inhibitors disabled by the act of soaking (with no need to discard the water)?
        Danielle




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  23. Wow yet again, excellent information. Totally had no idea how much better ground flaxseeds were vs whole chia seeds. Thanks Dr Greger!

    As a side question, is there a major difference between brown and golden flaxseed meal? I personally use brown as the darker, the more nutritious in my mind.




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    1. It doesn’t necessarily lower testosterone, the study used 30 grams, that’s much more then what Dr. Gregor recommends. Dr. Gregor recommends one tablespoon.




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    2. Otto:

      The first study that you provided actually found no change in testosterone in flax intervention subjects. In fact, both of the flax groups ended up with higher testosterone than the control group, though not significantly so. All groups saw a decrease in testosterone, this highlights the importance of reading studies carefully and including controls.

      From the study: “In contrast to our previous studies conducted among men with prostate cancer and those with abnormal biopsies that showed high grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia or foci of atypical cells (5,6), we did not observe differences in PSA change between the study arms. Curiously, all study arms experienced significant decreases in both PSA and testosterone during the presurgical period. While Nakashima et al. (48) report consistent decreases in testosterone among patients from pre-anesthesia to 7 days post-prostatectomy, there are no antecedent reports of decreases in testosterone or PSA during the presurgical period. A handful of reports exist; however, describing declines in testosterone with acute stress imposed in the laboratory setting or observed in community-dwelling subjects under a variety of situational factors (49). Therefore, the decreases in testosterone observed in this study may relate to the acute stress attendant with impending surgery-a decline in testosterone that then drives PSA downward.”




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    3. Otto:

      I can’t access the full version of the second study you posted (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11445478), do you have a link? At any rate, it’s important to note that this study wasn’t truly controlled (they compared to some historical patient values), and was confounded by a low-fat dietary change, so we can’t know how much was the diet change, the flax, or any other potential factors since it didn’t have a true control group.

      For your information, please see study below which found no changes to testosterone in a similar group (prostate cancer):

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15134976

      All told, I now see three studies which have investigated the issue. Two of the three found no effect on testosterone (including the only study that was properly controlled). Therefore, i see no reason to conclude that “Flax … does reduce testosterone”.




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  24. Please, i wish we all congradulate Dr. Greger for doing such great work and helping us live healthier and longer. Let’s not spend too much time discussing video formats. I am sure Dr Greger and his team have a continuous improvement approach for everything they do, and if they realize changes need to be made again , i am sure they will make them in time. Thank you Dr. Greger for leading the way . I’m following you just about every day. Cheers!




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    1. When I eat cheese I get bloaty and stuffy sinuses from the dairy content. When I eat eggs I get funky and cloggy feeling (not the dancing type). When I eat either I gain weight. So I don’t eat them.

      And I’m highly suspect of any study that promotes either.




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    2. In the loma linda health studies, vegetarians (eggs and milk ok) were distinguished from vegans ( no animal products). Semi vegetarians were defined as eating meat less than once per week similar to the study you are citing. Unless an article stipulates vegans , I take references to vegetarians to mean lacto-ovo vegetarians. I do not have full access to your article, do you ? For more about the Adventist Health Studies http://publichealth.llu.edu/adventist-health-studies/about

      All that aside, having listened to Dr Greger for a couple of years now, there is nothing about eggs and dairy that apeals to me, or could convince me to contribute in any form or fashion to their nightmare of an industry.




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    3. Brian, there are many publications often funded by the ag industry (animal agriculture industry) trying to say that lard is good for us, dairy is good for us, etc, etc… It’s easy to find back up in support of a multibillion dollar industry which ends up sustaining another multibillion dollar industry (big pharma). But look at the ABUNDANT studies that are double blind placebo control group studies, etc… There is no limited supply of the most thorough research in finding that animal products are not meant to be eaten by humans. Here’s the real beauty though… we don’t even need all the studies! Observation and experience alone speaks volumes. And for that matter, this way of eating is not only unethical to say the absolute least and to put it very mildly, but it is also devastatingly unsustainable. There is no credible argument for continuing the consumption of animals and their secretions.




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  25. Can we still see a transcript of the “speech” of the day somewhere? I’d like to take my time and read the transcript of flax vs chia seeds, and I also would like to know if 1 tbsp flax seed works to lower BP, provide omega 3s etc




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    1. hi Jill, on my screen the word “transcript ” is front and center below the title and description od the video. Click on that and it should expand to reveal the transcripts.

      Here is a link to the nutrion data for flax . http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3163/2 I use that site often.. just google the food, and the words nutritiondata and its often the first link up. You can change quantities or form ( whole vs ground for example) with the drop down menu. Approximately 1.6 grams omega 3 in 1 tbsp , ground, to answer your question.

      Here is a link for Dr Greger’s flax seed and blood pressure video https://nutritionfacts.org/video/flax-seeds-for-hypertension/ The comment section below it is folled with great ideas and more info for using flax seed too. Enjoy




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  26. So what happens to all the Omega3 in chia seeds? Do whole chia seeds go right through your digestive system, much like whole flax seeds do? What if you cook the chia seeds? (like in your oatmeal) I noticed that some companies do sell ground chia seeds, but most do not. Those chia seeds are so soft. It’s really surprising that your body cannot make any use of their abundance of Omega3.




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    1. Dave, I grind mine as needed. Dr Greger’s research has shown that the oils are better absorbed when ground. I’ve got a small dedicated to seed and spice grinding Krupp electric grinder, I just grind them right before eating, it literally adds only a few seconds to food prep.

      It’s best to leave them whole, until needed, bc the oils they contain oxidize easily. The shell is Nature’s packaging.




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      1. I like to grind mine all at once and freeze them for that reason. I agree it’s surprising because they’re so soft! I would imagine there would be some tiny amount of omega-3 absorption? But apparently not enough to count on a chart :( I’m disappointed that they don’t seem to do more in regards to being anti-inflammatory, etc.




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    1. Good question! It seems odd that there wouldn’t be more benefits due to all the phytonutrients they’re said to have. I’d like to hear more on this.




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  27. I wanted do ask everyone on this forum about a problem I have acquired after going completely vegan on December 26, 2016. I want to first say it has changed my life for the good and I’m truly excited about the future. However, over the last several days I have been breaking out in sudden rashes and hives around my kneck, chest, and arms. 50 mg of Benadryl clears it up afyer about 30 minutes. I have never had a known food allergie and have not changed any personal hygiene products. I do have seasonal allergies, but I don’t think it’s related. Has a anyone had a similar experience after switching over to a whole food plant based diet?




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    1. I’ve not had your problem but given the limited location of your hives, my thoughts are that you have a contact dermatitis. That you are experiencing an allergy either to a familiar personal care product, or to something that’s coming in contact with those areas. Do you own a pet, which could be wearing a flea collar or insecticide, or running thru vegetation picking up pollen, lawn chemicals,etc?




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    2. I havne’t had that problem, but I have heard that this can be a symptom of detox, perhaps you’re detoxing? Pay attention to see if you’ve been consuming any new foods that you didn’t used to. You might have an allergy you didn’t know about. I would get horribly sick after I ate certain vegan burgers and other foods and did not understand why for the life of me until finally I made the connection that it was the psyllium husk, apparently I am badly allergic to it. Sometimes it just takes one tiny ingredient in something new that you’ve never had before. What you’re describing sounds like an allergy, but again, I have heard of rashes being a detox symptom.




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    3. Oh! And another thing that comes to mind (sorry for all the posts!)… do you eat anything by Quorn? They make frozen “meat substitutes” and apparently they make them out of some type of mold and it has caused serious allergic reactions in people and even death if I’m not mistaken. I read an article on this last year. I guess a lot of people get really sick on them.




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  28. Thank you so much for your dedication to this site over the years, Thea! I’ll miss your comments and assistance in helping us all to better understand the information. Best to you in your future endeavors!




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  29. Dear nutritionfacts staff.
    I think I may have noticed room for improvement with the search function. When I type in a search term for which a topic summary exists (for example “sugar”), I never get shown the summary, only related videos. It is obviously easy to just find it by browsing the health topics, however I think it could help to streamline this website and to make it more interesting for new viewers, if they could find these very informative topic summaries by just using the search function.
    That being said, I want to thank you for the incredible public service, you are providing, this site is and has always been an amazing resource for information. :)




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  30. To be more efficient, I’ve been grinding about a cup of flax seeds at a time and placing them in a lidded glass jar in the frig. Then yesterday I heard Dr. John McDougall say (in a video) that flax seed should be eaten whole not ground. Well, I did this today and the seeds got stuck in my teeth (and false teeth). Tomorrow I’ll be going back to the ground version.




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      1. In my experience, Dr. Greger recommends whole -foods- in general, as opposed to processed parts of foods, such as oils etc. Grinding whole flax seeds means you’re still consuming the whole food, and thus doesn’t contradict this principle.




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      2. Yes, Jeff is right. Grinding up a food does not constitute as being a processed food. Grinding is natural, it’s what we do with our own teeth! But our teeth aren’t sharp as blades and don’t work quite as well as grinders so they don’t work for chia and flax shells. Dr. Greger also notes that sometimes grinding food in a smoothie can be especially beneficial because it makes the nutrients significantly more bioavailable.




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    1. Weird advice… whole flax seeds just pass through us because their shells are so hard. In fact, their shells are so hard that you don’t have to refrigerate them in their whole form. I like to grind mine and then freeze them.




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    1. It doesn’t meant they’re not good for us, just perhaps not super foods like we were lead to believe :( They still have a lot of nutrition such as calcium and are an excellent source of omega-3’s (when ground… wish I had known this!! all over the internet it’s been said there’s no need to grind them, grr!). Still, I’d like more info. I’ve read that they’re full of antioxidants so I’d like to know what their antioxidant power is and if they at least helps scavenge environmental free radicals.




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  31. Flaxseed + water also form a good egg substitute! Let it sit in the fridge for a few minutes if weather is hot – gets very sticky !




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  32. Would it be possible to address concerns about the culmulative effects of the cadmium that Flax seed contains? Is there an area in the world where Flax is grown, where the soils done contain as much cadmium (much like rice from California, has less arsenic than rice grown on the old cotton fields of the South?

    Alternately, is there a food or foods that offers the same protective lignans and phytoestrogens found in Flax, without a side of cadmium?

    The cadmium in Flax is an issue never mentioned in these videos.

    Thx in advance for entertaining these questions.




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  33. Hi, Laurie! There is little research on cadmium exposure through flax seed consumption. In one study I found, linked below, rats were fed a diet that was 5%-10% flax. That is a LOT of flax! While I am assuming that was 5%-10% by mass of food consumed, and it is difficult to apply that directly to humans because the mass of food varies a great deal. If we look at it in terms of percent of calories, assuming a 2000 kcal per day diet, 1 TBSP of flax, which is Dr. Greger’s recommended intake, would be less than 2% of daily calories. For most people on a whole food, plant-based diet, this would be much less than that as a percentage of the mass of food eaten. Although some have expressed concern about exposure to cadmium and its accumulation in body tissues from intake of flax seeds, I did not find credible research to support the idea that it is dangerous to eat a tablespoon a day of flax seeds.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3615982/
    You might also be interested in this article:
    https://www.researchgate.net/profile/B_Dave_Oomah/publication/215523923_Cadmium-binding_protein_components_of_flaxseed_Influence_of_cultivar_and_location/links/5661ff6e08ae15e7462ed858.pdf
    I hope that helps!




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    1. As a rule, I consume at least 2 tbsp of ground flax per day. I actually started doing this after watching a lecture from Dr. Greger on youtube where he recommend 2 tbsp flax everyday for the rest of your life (as he put it in the lecture). Anyways, I actually never heard of the cadmium, but I did hear of the cyanide thing. So last summer, I got a ton of blood work done due to issues in the past before going WFPB. I decided that while I trusted in nature, observation, and personal experience and in the fact that if there were an issue, Dr. Greger would be the first to get that info out there, I decided to be extra precautions and get my blood tested for cyanide. Well, the results came back perfect! I had absolutely zero cyanide issues! And at the time, I was consuming sometimes a half of a cup worth or more of flax on some days… I was being pretty extreme at that time. Anyways, while I didn’t hear about heavy metals in flax, I had for other reasons, decided to get my blood work tested for heavy metals including, lead, mercury, and cadmium as well as others, but these were my main concerns. And once again, my blood results came back perfect, I had no issues with any of the heavy metals I listed or any other heavy metals.

      I still consume as a rule, at least 2 tbsp of ground flax a day. I feel amazing and never get sick, never get head aches, never have any symptoms of toxicity, and my hair and skin never looked better.

      I think when people are concerned, it might help ease their mind to simply get their blood checked and test it out for themselves.




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  34. Hi, and thanks for a great site!

    I have a question about ground flax seeds. In Sweden, where I’m from, the authorities advise people not to eat ground flax seeds as they contain cyanogenic glucosides, which may turn into cyanide when digested. They recommend a maximum daily intake of 1-2 tablespoons of whole flax seeds, but say that no safe amount of ground flax seeds can be established, due to the fact that long time exposure even to small amounts of cyanide may lead to nerve damage. Is this true? Is there a safe amount with regard to cyanide? I have searched all over this site without finding any information on this topic. It confuses me that something that seems so healthy can be considered dangerous.

    I’d love to know more about this, so that hopefully, I can eat my ground flax seeds without worrying I’ll get poisoned! Thanks!

    Best regards,
    Julia




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    1. HI Julia. I might be able to help by sharing my experience. Last summer I was consuming a lot of flax every day… I still do consume 2-3 tbsp of ground flax daily. And I had gotten a lot of blood work done last summer. I read about the cyanide thing and it didn’t seem like something I needed to be concerned with based on everything I read about plant foods, but I decided to get cyanide checked in my blood anyway. The results showed no significant levels of cyanide in my blood. That was after (and during) about 4 or 5 months of a high daily flax consumption.




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      1. To elaborate on why I didn’t think it was something I needed to be concerned with is, from everything I gather, all the fiber and antioxidants and array of compounds in plant foods, tends to take care of even contaminants within the plants. If you eat plants that contain some heavy metals vs. animal flesh containing heavy metals, with plants, your body doesn’t even absorb the heavy metals, they just pass through you. With animal flesh, they get into your blood. When you pair the flesh with plants, it helps prevent it. Also flax has been used so long, it’s been used medicinally by Hipocrates, Gahndi believed in flax, and I trust Dr. Greger’s thorough research. I think if there were ever a real issue here, he would be on it. He recommends people consume 2 tbsp of flax every day for the rest of their lives. So many people consume flax now and I have never heard of cyanide poisoning or nerve issues as a result. I have only gotten healthier and healthier as months go by eating a WFPB diet with daily ground flax intake. Also, when I had gotten my blood tested, I would sometimes have a half a cup or more of ground flax on some days… I was being pretty extreme at the time.

        You could test it out yourself and then get your blood tested.




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        1. I was thinks my the same – it has been used for so long and by so many and on top of that I would expect Dr. Greger to know if anything was wrong. However, when the authorities and the general public in an entire country (even people in health shops who claim to be experts) tell you it’s really dangerous, you wanna be on the safe side…!




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            1. Yeah, it sounds concerning, but I really don’t trust the “authorities” on nutrition. I trust in nature and thankfully I also have awesome researching M.D’s to trust in like Dr. Greger lol. But I too wanted to be on the safe side so that’s what lead me to get that tested.




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  35. But what about all the antioxidants in chia seeds often said to contain more than blueberries… Do they at least help with environmental free radicals and such?

    Very disappointing about chia. Also, for almost a year I’ve been just placing them whole in my smoothies because it was said that you don’t need to blend them like you do flax… all that money and I wasn’t even getting their omega-3 benefits! GRR!!! One good thing out of it though, is that last summer when I was consuming the chia paired with flax and sometimes hemp seeds, I had gotten my fat levels checked in my blood. I had a ton of ALA, great GLA and decent EPA/DHA. So I had thought that it was due to the chia and flax mostly, but what this means then, is that those results were based off of the flax alone pretty much, so the levels would even improve by grinding up the chia. So at least there’s some silver lining. It’s pretty cool actually. I just wish I had watched this sooner!

    Thanks so much for always providing the most insightful information! So incredibly helpful to say the least.




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  36. Just to say I use one tablespoon of ground flax seed soked in 4-5 tablespoons of warm water for 15-20 minutes as an egg replacer in cooking. It too forms a gel when left to sit for that time. I had not previously heard aboiut chia seed as egg replacer. Though I think it is considerably more expensive to buy,




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  37. Very useful information… i would like to know though whether Chia seeds are a good source of iron and also whether they help to clean the colon?




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    1. well they have fiber and I know they have a good amount of calcium. It should say on the back of a bag of chia seeds how much iron they contain.




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  38. Hi!

    I have been wondering about how much ground flax seed is too much. I really like eating flax seed plain and I have even made a sort of porridge out of it at times(like 10-12 tablespoons in a cup with some water). So I am not limited by a dislike of it nor do I ever get tired of it nor do I find it too expensive for me in such quantities. It doesn’t cause me any digestive problems that I am aware of(my body can handle any fiber I throw at it and I don’t get many digestive issues fiber related or not). I am not at all afraid of a few tablespoons but I was wondering what bad consequences or potential consequences there are to having a few ounces a day(or let’s say half a pound since that is the most I imagine myself eating without committing to eating a bunch of flax but very doable if I wanted), not just in terms of “phyto-estrogens” but any other things to consider that I may not know about.

    Also, what is the point where you are not likely to experience much benefit from increasing any more? Do you recommend 1 or 2 tablespoons for the sake of practicality or is there little or no benefit for most people to eat more(even for those of us who can digest it well)? I don’t plan on eating half-pounds or pounds of flax seeds a day either way(mainly because I want to leave enough room in my diet for vegetables, sweet potatoes, beans, etc)




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    1. Hi, Daniel. There has been concern among some that flax may contribute to cadmium concentrations in the body.
      This study on rats suggested a possible connection between cadmium and lignans in flax fed during pregnancy and lactation and possible cancers in offspring, for example. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17398067
      I don’t have free full text to share, but other studies have concluded that cadmium content of flax varies based on the cultivar and the area in which it was grown, and that previous studies suggesting adverse effects from cadmium in flax may have been based on exaggerated or isolated exposures compared with usual human consumption.
      Anaphylaxis with flax is possible, and the risk of this may increase with the amount consumed. There is also the possibility that normal blood clotting could be impaired with too much dietary flaxseed.
      I am not aware of any additional benefits to consuming very the very large quantities of flax that you describe. Given the possibility of cadmium exposure through flax ingestion, and the fact that 1-2 tablespoons daily are adequate to provide benefits, I would advise against megadoses of dietary flaxseed. I hope that helps!




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  39. Thank you for all the important information you put up here, for “all your labor of love”…
    Swedish and Norwegian health/ food authorities (Mattilsynet) warn strongly against eating flax seeds (grained) because of its content of hydrogencyanid. Why do you still recommend it?

    And… it is time to put something up regarding Dr. Valter Longo’s research on your site…




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  40. Hi Birgitta,

    I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. Thanks for your question and comments!

    Regarding flaxseeds, not going above 4 tbsp/day should prevent any type of cyanide toxicity. Even amounts over that have not been definitively determined to be toxic. I, as well as Dr. Greger, would still strongly recommend that flaxseed in moderation be part of one’s daily diet. The research strongly suggests that there are benefits and little to no risk at moderate doses.

    Thank you for your mentioning Dr. Valter Longo’s research. I am assuming you are referring to his work on fasting and cancer or other chronic diseases. Dr. Greger will be coming out with a series of videos on fasting in the coming months, and I would guess that he will be referencing some of Dr. Longo’s work.




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  41. I wish this site had a transcript of the audio – I often do not have time to listen to a video when reading is much faster, and usually would prefer to read the information.




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