Omega-3s and Coffee Grinders

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Many nutritionists recommend getting your fair share of Omega-3 fatty acids as part of an optimal diet. The traditional source for Omega-3s is oily fish, but vegetarians can get theirs from various kinds of nuts or, best of all, flax seeds. Generally, freshly ground flax seeds provide the best nutritional value and are reasonably priced at most health food stores. However, grinding them ain’t that easy…

… or so I thought! Then, I remembered Dr. Andrew Weil recommending buying a coffee grinder specifically for grinding flax seeds (you don’t want to mix your coffee and flax seeds in the same grinder). Turns out, they’re really pretty cheap. I picked up a $15 Mr. Coffee grinder and I’m happy to report it works wonderfully. I grind a quarter-cup of flax seeds with no problem, then put it in a container in the fridge and over the course of a week or two, spoon a tablespoon or two a day onto my cereal, into my sandwiches, or into pasta sauce after it finished heating. The flax adds a very slight nutty flavor, but the consistency is fine enough that you don’t even notice it in most things.

Here’s some more info on the health benefits of Omega-3s from Dr. Weil.

15 Responses to “Omega-3s and Coffee Grinders”

  1. lisa

    Last year, I was at a lecture given by a psychologist who practices in the Bay Area. He told us that flaxseed oil is also a good source of Omega-3s, and gave us a delicious recipe for getting all the flaxseed oil you need in one day:

    Omega-3 Smoothie
    In a blender, mix 1 cup apple juice, 1 banana, 1 tablespoon flaxseed oil, 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional; these are for texture), and 1 tablespoon lecithin granules (to emulsify the oil).

    Just a caveat: The psychologist giving the lecture uses flaxseed oil himself, and also gives it to his patients, and I make this smoothie fairly often. But there isn’t an official, definitive study out there on the benefits (or possible harmfulness) of flaxseed oil, so use at your own risk. And never heat flaxseed oil.

  2. Erica

    I just wanted to leave a personal recomendation… I have been a vegetarian for years now. I have found through discussions with friends, physicians and such that one of the best ways to get your source of fatty acids, (if you don’t eat the various kinds of nuts or the like) is by going to your local grocery or health food store and buying a bottle of Omega 3-6-9 Essential Fatty Acids. The brand that I seem to find most often is called, “Glucoflex”. These pills are mixtures of EPA/DHA Fish Oil/Organic Flaxseed Oil/and Borage Seed Oil. Hope this helps…

  3. A Simpler Way

    Flax seed & shakes

    I was catching up on my blogging friends and noticed an entry on Veg Blog about the health benefits of…

  4. Kim

    Just grind them in the blender. Works great!

  5. Michael

    Why isn’t that you can’t cook with (or heat) flaxseed oil, is it the omegas that are so volatile?

    And if so, why doesn’t baking with flaxseed meal or grilling salmon problematic (from a rancidity standpoint)?

    thanks. michael.

  6. Naomi Frost

    Hello,

    My question is;

    What happens to the omega-3 value in flax seed meal,
    when heated during baking…is the omega-3 value lost?

    What tempature do you recommend when baking with flax
    meal.

    Thanks
    Naomi

  7. cannibal vegetarian

    I have read that the reason heating flaxseed is less damaging than heating flaxseed oil is possibly because of the lignans, or their precursors, in the seeds, which are not present in the extracted oil. Here’s the article I read it in: http://209.85.165.104/search?q=cache:by0Op9W7fjAJ:www.flaxcouncil.ca/english/pdf/stor.pdf+flaxseed+baking+heat&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us

    BTW, this may be common knowledge (?) but there is a vegan supplement that provides both EPA and DHA omega 3s, available from http://www.water4.net, which claims this is the only vegan source for them. I haven’t bought any yet but plan to try them sometime. Of course, a lot of people can make EPA and DHA from ALA, but I’m paranoid in case I’m not one of them (although I love flaxseed).

  8. cannibal vegetarian

    #@$%&!!! Sorry about the water4.net link–you’d have to type it in manually to get it to work.

  9. Jacquie

    It seems that baking with flax seeds is OK and doesn’t destroy the valuable fatty acids in them. However, ground flaxseeds rapidly degrade and should always be ground fresh. Only grind what you need for the day- storing them for a week or more is not recommended!

  10. sabrina

    what about baking with flax seed oil….. is that ok , the same as baking with freshly ground flax seeds?

  11. sabrina

    sorry…I didn’t quite get to the point I was trying to get to ! I understand some of the benefits in the flax seed oil are lost through heating (particularly cooking & baking), but is the oil actually harmful when heated in cooking and baking? Or is it just that some of the benefits are lost ? I’m trying to distingush… because if it’s a case of some of the benefits are lost, then I’m still happier baking flax seed oil flapjacks than I am using it in my salad dressing ! I haven’t tried ground flax seeds yet… hope to do so in future.

  12. suzie

    FYI: there’s lots of vegan DHA brands available. the funny thing is that they sometimes put it in gelatin capsules (sigh).

    re: danger in heating flax too high?

    dr sears (general practitioner md) says any oil heated above it’s smoking point is more harmful than helpful. flax’s smoke point is lower than olive oil.
    also, rancid oils are carcinogenic. light does more damage than air, says the flax producer that i know. here, if yer a nerd like me:0

    Rebecca Wood (August/September 2002). Flax Seed. Sentient Times. Retrieved on 2008-01-24.

    Get the Facts on Flax. Dr. Andrew Weil’s Self Healing (September 2006). Retrieved on 2008-01-24.

    Dr. Andrew Weil (May 31, 2005). Are Nuts a Healthy Nibble?. Retrieved on 2008-01-24.

  13. Stefanie

    I just added flax oil banana bread without thinking that it may not be ok. I am doing some research and read that it is not ok. Does anyone know if it will still be ok to eat? I only added about 1/8 Cup.

  14. Melissa

    I have baked with it and I am still alive…I actually squeeze one of the capsules into my mini muffins I make every day. I just started doing this recently because I needed something to help pass the fiber…lol…I have not gotten sick, but they bake quick and at 350…I may reconsider after reading this though…

  15. heating plumbing

    If you want to improve the flavor or freshness of your coffee, besides buying higher quality coffee beans, grinding your own beans is the way to go.

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