What Happens To Your Body If You Eat Too Much Flaxseed?

Flaxseed has a long list of nutritional benefits and, as Amy Shapiro, R.D., founder of Real Nutrition, told Women's Health, "They are a fantastic source of dietary fiber, which means they'll keep your digestion regular, flushing toxins and excess fats out of the body. They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber so they are truly a powerhouse, as these types of fiber also keep your gut microbiome in healthy balance." 

However, recent studies have indicated that eating too much flaxseed can be too much of a good thing, and could cause discomfort.

According to Mayo Clinic, overconsumption of flaxseeds can cause bloating, gas and abdominal pain due to their high fiber content. Healthline agrees, adding that if you eat too many, they can also increase the likelihood of diarrhea as they are a known laxative. Like most superfoods, it's advised that you slowly introduce the seeds into a balanced diet, monitoring how your body responds before you increasing the amount you eat. 

Ground flaxseed should be eaten within 14 days

In order to take full advantage of their benefits, it's also important to ensure you are eating them correctly. As Kelly Hogan, a clinical nutrition and wellness manager at Mount Sinai's Dubin Breast Cancer center told HuffPost, you should always avoid eating flaxseeds whole. Instead, grind them before eating, or buy them already ground. "Whole flaxseeds can typically pass through the intestines undigested because they cannot naturally break them down," Hogan explained. "If you eat flaxseeds whole, you will likely pass them whole in your stool." This means they're doing your body absolutely no good at all. 

Once ground, eat them within 14 days — get creative and add them to your smoothies, soups, salads, and cereal. "They can start to go rancid fairly quickly — as soon as a few weeks after they are ground," Hogan warned. "This is when the fats start to oxidize, and here is when you can also lose the nutritional benefits of those fats. The taste is also off."