Flaxseed Benefits and Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 01/01/23 •  11 min read

What are flaxseed benefits and side effects? Is flaxseed low fodmap? Gluten free? Acidic or alkaline? Vegan? Good for you? Healthy? Sustainable? Here are flaxseed pros and cons: all the info on flaxseed that every ethical consumer wants to know…

flaxseed benefits and side effects

Food is something we consume every day and if you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on flaxseed benefits and side effects.

You are going to learn all about flaxseed benefits and side effects such as flaxseed health benefits and/or risks, flaxseed water footprint and/or flaxseed carbon footprint, flaxseed sustainability, if flaxseed is vegan, and more. 

After learning if flaxseed is good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be prepared to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.

This post is all about flaxseed benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.

Must-Know Flaxseed Benefits And Side Effects


Flaxseed benefits may include:

Flaxseed side effects may include:

Additionally, flaxseed is also…


Water footprint: moderate, it takes 5,168 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of linseed (flaxseed) / 619 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of linseed (flaxseed)

Carbon footprint: likely low, 1.8 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of oil crops, a car driving equivalent of 4.25 miles or 6.75 kilometers

Destruction: low, flaxseed production is relatively sustainable, there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc.

Flaxseed is…


Kills: none, flaxseed production does not require any animals to be killed

Harms: none, flaxseed production does not require any animals to be used

Indirectly kills or harms: none, no animals are indirectly killed or harmed from flaxseed production as long as toxic chemicals have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat

Flaxseed is…


Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Flaxseed is…

Where does most flaxseed come from? Where is flaxseed grown?

Canada, Kazakhstan, India, the United States, China and Russia are leading producers of flaxseed.

The world’s top flaxseed exporting country is Canada, followed by Kazakhstan, Russia, Belgium, UK, USA, Poland, Germany, India and Lithuania.

Is flaxseed good for you? Nutritious?

Yes! Flaxseed is high in fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids and phytochemicals called lignans.

How many calories does flaxseed have?

Flaxseed contains 534 calories per 100 grams.

Is flaxseed alkaline or acidic?

Is flaxseed alkaline or acidic?

Flaxseed is alkaline.

What is the pH level of flaxseed?

Flaxseed has a 7.5 pH level once digested.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

Is flaxseed gluten free?

Is flaxseed gluten free?

Yes, flaxseed is gluten free. Flaxseed does not contain gluten.

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

Is flaxseed a common food allergen?

Is flaxseed a common food allergen?

No, flaxseed is not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to flaxseed but it is relatively uncommon by comparison.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

Is flaxseed low fodmap?

Is flaxseed low fodmap?

Yes, flaxseed is low fodmap, a food you can eat if on a low fodmap diet. 

A low FODMAP diet may help those with bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).

It’s all about knowing your body. Observe what works and what doesn’t. You body might even react negatively to a low-FODMAP food simply due to intolerance. Everyone is different! Be mindful and patient. Take time to get to know what’s best for your physical health and overall wellbeing.

See this High FODMAP and Low FODMAP List of Foods

Water footprint of flaxseed?

Water footprint of flaxseed?

Flaxseed has a relatively moderate water footprint compared to other foods.

It takes 5,168 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of linseed (flaxseed) / 619 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of linseed (flaxseed).

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource?

How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?

We need to be aware of “water footprints”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

Carbon footprint of flaxseed?

Carbon footprint of flaxseed?

Flaxseed likely has a relatively low carbon footprint compared to other foods.

It takes around 1.8 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of oil crops, a car driving equivalent of 4.25 miles or 6.75 kilometers.

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

Is flaxseed sustainable?

Is flaxseed sustainable?

Yes, flaxseed production is relatively sustainable since there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used. Be sure to buy non GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc. when using regenerative practices.

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

Read more about ‘What Makes Food Sustainable Or Unsustainable?’

Is flaxseed vegan?

Is flaxseed vegan?

Yes, flaxseed is vegan. Flaxseed are seeds from a flax plant and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. 

Animals of factory farming are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. Growth hormones allow all kinds of animals to become fatter faster and live short lives. 

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non Vegan Foods List

Does flaxseed have human rights issues?

benefits of buying fair trade, labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

At this time there are no major concerns with flaxseed production but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening! It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may come with specific brands.

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Some problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 

Be sure to read up on this list of ‘Foods You Should Always Buy Fair Trade

This post was all about flaxseed benefits and side effects.


Seeds, flaxseed – FoodData Central – USDA

The benefits of flaxseed – USDA ARS

Flaxseed (Golden) | Agricultural Marketing Service

Adriane Marie

Hi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.

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