Fact Checked

What is Cold Milled Flax?

Felicia Dye
Felicia Dye

Flax is a plant that produces nutritious seeds. When these seeds are cold milled, they are reduced to a convenient and highly beneficial form. Cold milled flax is produced by a method that lacks heat or excessive light, which allows all of the seeds' nutritional benefits to be preserved. It can be consumed purely for its nutritional benefits or to help combat conditions such as high cholesterol and constipation.

Flax is an annual self-pollinated plant which produces bolls. The bolls contain flax seeds, which are commonly hailed for their health benefits. Although these seeds are nutritious, providing nutrients such as essential fatty acids and protein, a person cannot gain any nutritional value from them if they are eaten whole. It is believed by many that cold milling is the best process to use when making flax seeds consumable.

Flax seeds.
Flax seeds.

There are several ways that flax seeds can be processed, but they generally have drawbacks. If the seeds are crushed, the essential fatty oils are lost. If flax seeds are subjected to grinding there is usually heat generated by the blades that causes the omega-3 to break down and the portion that remains will only be good for approximately two days.

The flowers of a flax plant.
The flowers of a flax plant.

Cold milled flax, however, involves chopping the seeds without heating the mill blades or allowing them to become heated. This process, often called real cold milling, reduces the flax seeds in the most beneficial way. This is because all of the nutrients are preserved including the protein, the lignans, the fiber, and the omega-3 fatty acids.

The process of producing cold milled flax actually does not involve low temperatures. Instead, the flax seeds are kept at room temperature throughout the process. Afterward, they are packaged away from heat and stored away from light. If it is kept in cool conditions and away from sunlight, cold milled flax can have a shelf life that exceeds 18 months. When flax seed is exposed to excessive light or heat, it tends to become rancid. A turpentine odor or a foul taste can usually be taken as indicators that this has happened.

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in flax seeds and flax seed oil.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in flax seeds and flax seed oil.

Cold milled flax is commonly organic. It is consumed by many people primarily for the omega-3 benefits. It is also the richest source of lignans, which help to balance estrogen levels. In addition to these benefits, cold milled flax is also believed to be good for boosting the immune system, reducing cholesterol, and fighting constipation.

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Discussion Comments


I know that flax is so good for us but I have the hardest time eating it. It doesn't particularly taste like anything but I just don't enjoy the consistency and texture of it. I've tried having it in oatmeal and yogurt but it's still hard for me to eat.

Do you have any suggestions about how to consume cold milled flax?


After hearing so many things about how good flax is for you, I ordered some flax seed oil capsules from an online nutrition company.

I was most interested in using this to stay regular and keep my hormone levels stable. I really did notice a difference after taking the capsules on a regular basis for a few weeks.

The difference was big enough that I never want to run out of the capsules and make sure I always have plenty around.


It seems like hardly a week doesn't go by that I don't hear about the benefits of flax seed.

I belong to a food coop and every 6 months or so, we order some organic flax seed oil from Barleans.

The lady who organized our coop spends hours of time doing research and trying to find the best products available. After all of her research, she recommended the Barleans flax as the best product.

This was the first time I had ever used the flax seed oil. In the past I had used the flax seeds, but those can be kind of inconvenient sometimes. When you buy the flax seed oil, it is ready to use.


For those of you on a health kick adding organic cold milled flax seed to your diet can be a great way to help out your digestive system. Especially if you have any issues with not being regular.

What I really like about cold milled organic flax seed is that it can also help you lose weight if you use it correctly. It helps clear out your digestive system so well, that once you get past the gas stage it induces, you can slim down a bit in just a week.

Just be warned that flax seed can absorb a lot of water, so you may want to drink an extra glass a day just to make sure you are getting enough liquid.


There are so many benefits from flax seed and I find it interesting to read about the cold milled process.

I usually buy flax seeds from the health food store, but have never thought about how they have been processed. I like to add ground flax to my oatmeal and fruit smoothies.

I usually store the seeds in the freezer and use my coffee grinder to grind a small batch at a time. I keep what I have ground in the refrigerator so it is handy to use whenever I want some. This way I don't have to grind it every single time.

I don't make up big batches at a time, because I know the longer it sits, the more nutrients that you lose. I have also found that I prefer the golden flax and buy that whenever it is available.


I think flax and salmon oil have the highest amounts of omega 3. My doctor has recommended that I eat more of these or take supplements. I do take fish oil supplements, but I prefer having flax in seed form.

I had heard about how flax should be eaten fresh before its omega 3 value is lost. I try and buy small amounts of cold milled flax and consume it quickly before it goes bad. But I also eat cereals, oatmeal and musli with flax seeds already in the package. I wonder if those have lost their omega 3 value while waiting in the package?

Many of these cereals also don't mention anything about the flax being cold milled or not. Can I assume that they are? I wish it was required for products with flax to mention how the flax was taken and processed.


@Monika - I take flax seed oil also. When I got home tonight, I'm going to check the bottle and see if it says cold milled. I'm curious now!

I think it's interesting that flax is so beneficial, but only in certain forms. It's so weird that you can't get the same health benefits just by eating the seed whole!


Very interesting. I take flax seed oil for my immune system. I've been sick a lot less since I started taking it, so I believe it's working.

But anyway, it says right on the bottle "cold milled flax seed oil." After seeing it every day, I got kind of curious about what it meant. I was picturing the flax being milled in a freezer or something like that! I'm glad that it can be done at room temperature-much more convenient for the people that have to do the milling.

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