Does Flaxseed Go Bad?

For thousand years flaxseed has been considered a medicinal food. Flaxseed is rich in fiber, which can help in fat loss, sugar cravings and colon detoxification. Due to the high fiber content, flaxseed is especially good in treating constipation and it is used as a laxative.

Also, flaxseed contains omega 3 fatty acids, which improve cardiovascular health. Some studies have shown that flaxseed can reduce the risk of cancer, stroke, heart diseases and diabetes.

Also, flaxseed helps in weight loss. You can simply add a teaspoon of ground flaxseed to your soup, salad or smoothy. Flaxseed is also great for all those who are sensitive to gluten, because flaxseed is gluten free. Due to its antioxidant properties, flaxseed fights free radicals and prevents many diseases. It is also proved that flaxseed improves the quality of your skin and reduces the risk of skin cancer. These are some of the health benefits of flaxseed. In this text we will discuss about flaxseed and its shelf life. Also, we will tell you how to store flaxseed properly.

What Is the Shelf Life of Flaxseed?

The shelf life of flaxseed depends on the way flaxseed is stored and other factors. The shelf life of flaxseed is relatively short, because the polyunsaturated fats in flaxseed deteriorate quickly. Actually, these fats oxidize quickly, so the foods that contain them spoil rapidly. It is known that unsaturated fats of ground flaxseed and flaxseed oil are more exposed to oxidation, so these products become rancid faster than whole flaxseed.

It is also important to know that polyunsaturated fats in fresh flaxseed have anti-inflammatory properties and they protect cardiovascular system, while the oxidized fats in spoiled flaxseed have the opposite effects. There is a potential health risk of consuming rancid flaxseed. It is known that oxidation can destroy vitamins in fat, but it can also develop harmful compounds, which can cause cardiovascular diseases, cancer and neurological problems.

How To Store Flaxseed?

The proper storage is the most important when we talk about the shelf life of any food. Light, heat and air are the main factors of fat oxidation. It is much better to keep flaxseed in a tightly sealed container in a cold place than in a plastic bag which is placed on the kitchen counter.

Flaxseed may be stored in a sealed container away from heat sources, for example in the pantry, but flaxseed will have a longer shelf life if it is stored in the fridge or in the freezer. If flaxseed is exposed to heat, the omega 3 oils will go rancid and flaxseed will go bad.

Generally, whole flaxseed can last for a year if it is stored in airtight container in the fridge. If you put ground flaxseed in the same container, it will last for about six months in the freezer. It is also recommendable to store flaxseed oil in a nontransparent bottle in the fridge.

How To Notice If Flaxseed Has Gone Bad?

You don’t have to worry about the shelf life of flaxseed, because you will easily notice the difference between fresh and spoiled flaxseed.

If they are fresh, flaxseeds have a mild nutty taste, and if they have gone bad they will have a bitter taste and they will smell bad.


It is best to buy small amounts of any flaxseed product, whether you use whole flaxseed, ground flaxseed or flaxseed oil. You should always buy only the amount of flaxseed that you can consume in a month or two.

Also, it is known that flaxseed which is ground just before consuming is much fresher than the flaxseed that has been prepackaged.