The seeds of the flax plant, also known as linseeds or flaxseeds, are one of the healthiest foods around, but as nutritious as they are, you can never go wrong with knowing how best to consume them and in what form so you get little or no risk of the side effects. Knowing that one to four tablespoons is right for how much flaxseed per day you can take, but you should also know how to store flaxseed in their whole, ground, and oil form for the most benefits.

Whole flaxseeds are widely agreed to be the type that gives the most nutritional benefits, but their whole form also makes it harder for the human body to absorb the nutrients well. If you prefer buying flaxseeds whole, then run them through a blender or food processor or grind them with a mortar and pestle first right before consuming them. Refining whole flaxseeds just before you eat them keeps the nutrients intact, while making it easier for your system to digest them.

Ground flaxseeds are also available for those who don’t want to be bothered with crushing the seeds themselves, but since they have been ground already, the will contain lesser nutrients and will also expire faster. Consume ground flaxseeds within two days of buying or opening the container, and make sure you keep them refrigerated and safe from air and light exposure to preserve their freshness.

Flaxseed oil is the preferred type for those with gastrointestinal disorders who find it hard to digest the high fiber content of the whole and ground seeds, but this oil is tricky in that it is even more sensitive than ground flaxseeds. Buy flaxseed oil that already comes in an opaque or translucent container, for it is remarkably sensitive to light. Keep the container tightly fastened to prevent air exposure, and store it inside the refrigerator. Flaxseed oil won’t congeal the way other oils do but instead will spoil in warm and room temperatures. You can even keep the oil inside the freezer, but it is best consumed fresh, or within two to four weeks of purchase.

Flaxseed side effects are somewhat similar to the side effects of CoQ10 in that they mostly occur with very high dosages. Ask your doctor on how many tablespoons a day you can take, or at the very least avoid taking more than four tablespoons a day to avoid experiencing diarrhea, appetite loss, blood anticoagulation, and migraine headaches. Now that you know how much flaxseed to take per day and how best to store its different varieties, you can start enjoying this simple and healthy food everyday and keep your body feeling and looking great all the time.