If you have IBS, you may’ve heard linseeds can be useful!
But which linseeds? … golden linseeds, brown linseeds, ground or whole? There’s so many to pick from, but which is best and what is the difference between linseeds and flax?
Flaxseed is just another name for linseed. There’s lots of different types of linseeds, but currently there doesn’t appear to be any robust scientific evidence to suggest whole is better than ground (or vice versa), or even golden is better/worse than brown linseeds.
There’s more to these little seeds than meets the eye!
- High in fibre
- Helpful for managing blood cholesterol levels
- Can help blood sugar control
- For digestive health
- Helpful for managing symptoms of wind, bloating and constipation
- Source of essential omega-3 fats (ALA – alpha-linoleic acid)
- “Essential” because we cannot make it and therefore we need to get this from our diet
- Has anti-inflammatory properties
- Helpful for heart and brain health
- Good source of omega-3 for vegetarian/vegan diets
NICE (2008 updated 2018) recommend for people that suffer with wind and bloating to have linseeds (up to 1 tablespoon per day) and oat-based cereal or porridge. Linseeds are also very useful for helping with constipation, although results can be slow (- up to 6 months) and it’s important to have some fluids when you have linseeds (McKenzie et al., 2016).
Linseeds provide ~3g fibre per tablespoon (~12g) (Flax Council of Canada, 2018). In food labelling terms, a food can be classed as a “source of fibre” when it contains at least 3g fibre per 100g of the food, or a “high fibre” food when it has at least 6g per 100g. Therefore these little seeds are jam-packed with fibre!
Check out my free infographic for a bit more info on their nutritional value and some food ideas!
It’s recommended that adults (over 16yrs old) should have 30g dietary fibre per day (SACN, 2015). However only 9% of 19-64yr olds and 7% of over 65yr olds achieve this (PHE, 2018). Women typically consume less fibre than men (~17g Vs ~21g), and over 65yr olds eat less than 20g per day (PHE, 2018).
It is common for older people to suffer with constipation (Age UK, 2017; SACN, 2015) due to, among other reasons inadequate fluid intake and typically struggle to eat enough fibre. They may also have a small appetite, so adding these little seeds to their regular food or made into smoothies would be beneficial.
- Can be helpful for symptoms of wind, bloating and constipation
- Try whole, ground, golden or brown
- Start with 1 teaspoon (~4g) linseeds per day and gradually increase as required
- Take maximum of 2 tablespoons (~24g) per day
- Response may be gradual and full benefit may take up to 6 months
- Ensure you have at least 150mL (~1/4 pint) fluid per tablespoon of linseeds (to allow the fibre to do its job!)
- These are an easy way to up your fibre intake
You don’t have to get fleeced by going to special health food shops – linseeds are readily available in supermarkets or try Amazon
- ~£1 for 250g from Tesco’s,
- £1.79 for 250g from Aldi,
- 90p for 100g from Sainsbury’s,
- £2.25 for 500g from Waitrose)
- ~£3.00-6.00 for 500g from Holland & Barrett
- From 85p from Amazon. I particularly like Amazon to get my whole linseeds or ground linseeds, because it works out cheaper
(prices correct at time of writing)
It’s not just people with IBS that could benefit from a daily intake of linseeds, given the above noted points. So go ahead, give them a try!
Let me know how you get on with linseeds, or if you have any queries or suggestions I’d be glad to hear from you! Please drop me a comment below.
Don’t forget to download your free guide on how to use linseeds!
P.S. Need some help managing your IBS – then why not check this out too and get your FREE Survival Guide
Flax Council of Canada. (2018). Available from: flaxcouncil.ca/resources/nutrition/general-nutrition-information/nutrition-profile/
KCL. (2018). King’s and IBS. Available from: www.kcl.ac.uk/lsm/Schools/life-course-sciences/news-events/newsrecords/2018/Kings-and-IBS.aspx
McKenzie et al. (2016). British Dietetic Association systematic review and evidence-based guidelines for the dietary management of irritable bowel syndrome in adults.
NICE. (2008 updated 2018). Irritable bowel syndrome in adults: diagnosis and management. CG61.
PHE. (2018). National diet and nutrition survey. Available from:
SACN. (2015). Carbohydrates and health. Available from: assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/445503/SACN_Carbohydrates_and_Health.pdf
All comments are my own opinion.
* This blog contains Amazon affiliate links to products that I routinely use – ever since being pregnant and used to struggle with constipation. I found these really useful, plus they add extra texture and nutrition to my food, and I didn’t want to take any over-the-counter or prescription laxatives, so these were great for me. Plus, these are much cheaper than a laxative prescription! I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post, but at no extra cost to you. This is to help support my blog and does not have any impact on my recommendations to you. I share these links with you because I have benefited from these and you could benefit too.