There’s a lot of alternative milks out there – almond, soy and oat milk are now so common you’ll find at least one of them in any good cafe – but, one that’s still a little bit under the radar is flaxseed milk aka flax milk. So, what’s the deal… is flax milk good for you? What does it taste like? And how does it compare to the other alt milks… we check out the details.
What is Flax Milk?
It’s basically mix of whole flaxseeds (also known as linseeds) or flaxseed oil and water blended together and filtered.
It’s also known as flaxseed milk or flax mylk.
You can make it yourself, or, buy it ready-made from brands like Good Karma – this is how I tried it and, as you’ll see below, it’s one of the best flax milk brands to try.
Is Flax Milk Good For You?
To help decide this we need to look at a few different things – from what’s in flaxseed milk, how that behaves in the body, whether it contains sugar, etc etc – so, let’s get started
The Benefits of Flax Milk
Generally, flaxseeds are very healthy – particularly in terms of their effects on digestive health. It’s also suggested that they might help lower cholesterol and benefit heart health. This is because they are very high in fibre, and also contain compounds called lignans which act a little like oestrogen in the body.
However, as the filtering process involved with making flax milk will leave behind much of the fibre – and the husk in which you find most of the lignans – drinking the milk won’t be as healthy as eating whole flaxseed.
However, flaxseed also contains essential omega 3 fats – and these do transfer to the milk.
In fact, Good Karma claims it contains 1200mg of Omega 3 per 240ml glass.
One note though – while flaxseed is the richest plant-based source of omega 3 fats, the fats in flax (and any other plant-based source) aren’t quite as easy for your body to use as those found in their other main source, oily fish.
Plant-based omega 3s come in a form called ALA which your body must convert into the forms it uses – EPA and DHA. This conversation isn’t that easy and so you’ll get more usable omega 3 from a portion of oily fish – or a fish oil supplement – than you will flaxseed of any kind.
This doesn’t mean ALA won’t help your health – researchers have said that ALA definitely benefits heart health and even the smaller doses of EPA and DHA converted from ALA benefit health.
If you’re vegan, vegetarian or simply doesn’t eat fish or want to take a fish oil supplement for another reason flaxseed is a good source – and flax milk provides a healthy dose with not many calories.
It also has very little fat and zero cholesterol.
The Downsides of Flax Milk
Unfortified and homemade flax milk contain very little calcium and, so, swapping to this type of flax milk means you have to try and make up calcium in other areas of your diet.
However, if you buy a fortified flax milk like Good Karma it contains an equivalent amount of calcium to skimmed dairy milk which is pretty impressive. It also has added vitamin D and B12 which is often sorely lacking in a vegan diet.
If you’re going to swap to Flax Milk, fortified is the way to go – not all brands are so do check.
The other negatives is that it sometimes contains added sugars.
Dairy milk does contain sugar, but it’s in the form of lactose and so it doesn’t count as an added sugar.
Choose an unsweetened brand of flax milk and this is no longer a concern though.
How Many Calories are in Flax Milk?
Not many, is the answer to that question.
An unsweetened flax milk will contain about 50 calories per 240ml serving.
In comparison, skimmed cow’s milk contains 36 calories per 100ml, so would have 86 calories for the same size serving.
But chances are, if you’re thinking about swapping to flax milk, you’re avoiding cows milk – so, how does it compare to the other alt milks.
This is a little bit hard to determine as, different brands will have different levels of sugar which will affect the calories, but as a general guide here’s a comparison with some of the biggest unsweetened products out there…
|Calories per 100ml
Note: Unsweetened Good Karma also contains pea protein which changes some of the numbers compared to the Original milk based only on flax.
So Is Flax Milk Good For You?
Yes – is the quick answer to that question. If you choose a fortified, unsweetened brand it does have a lot of health benefits.
Of course there’s no point consuming something if it doesn’t taste good – which brings us to our next question…
Does Flaxseed Milk Taste Any Good?
I’ve drunk a LOT of alt milks over the years and as such, I have come up with two patented tests to determine whether it compares favourably to cow juice!
1) Does it go well with cookies? Cookies dunked in milk is one of the most magical things put on this earth, but I have discovered that a watery dairy-free drink can ruin the experience. I thought flax would stand up okay as it’s quite thick and creamy – and I can report that yes, it’s okay for dunking. It’s not milk, but it’s not bad.
It has kind of a nutty flavour, rather like soy. It’s not as sugary as rice milk.
2) What happens if you put it in tea: This is the big one – some dairy-free milks make your tea go a disgusting grey colour, others overpower it with sweetness, some change the taste beyond recognition and not in a good way (I’m talking about you oat milk).
Flaxseed milk does none of those things. You can taste a slight creaminess as you do with soy milk, but other than that you wouldn’t know the difference.
If you don’t like it when you try it, you might want to add a dash of vanilla extract which can make it a bit sweeter.
My verdict: Yep, it works for me – more so than rice milk and oat milk – plus it delivers some healthy fats too. Bonus.
Flax Milk and Specific Diets
So, that’s a general analysis of flax milk, but, if you’re on any kind of specialist diet you might be wondering whether flax milk fits into your plan. So, here’s the information you need.
Is Flax Milk Vegan?
Yes. It’s also gluten-free and dairy-free.
Is Flaxseed Milk Keto?
Some flax milks have sugar added so they won’t be – unsweetened flax milk can fit into a keto diet though.
A 240ml serving has 1g of net carbs. Because of the natural sugars within it, the same amount of cow’s milk has around 12g of net carbs.
Is Flax Milk FODMAP-Friendly?
It’s a bit hard to tell as the seeds are processed before use in milk – and flax milk itself hasn’t been tested for FODMAP levels.
However, a serving of 30g of flax seeds themselves, is classed as a high FODMAP food for the GOS sugars.
If you have a sensitivity to this particular FODMAP, then you might just want to monitor your symptoms after consuming flax milk.
Is Flax Milk Good For the Environment?
Plant-based eating is generally a more climate friendly way of eating than consuming animal products so any alt milk is going to be better for the environment than cow’s milk – but, some alt milks are still better than others.
Almond milk, for example, uses a lot of water to produce it – which flax doesn’t.
So, yes, it’s a good choice for you if you’re on a climate-friendly diet.
Other Questions You Might Have
If you’ve never used flax milk before you might have some questions about what to do with it. Like these…
Can you Freeze Flaxseed Milk?
Yes – but take it out of the carton first.
Can You Heat Flaxseed Milk?
One thing that many of the other alt milks are good for are latte-style drinks – whether that’s with actually coffee, golden milk style drinks with turmeric, chia latte or fancy pants ideas like blue mermaid lattes – however, I had to wonder if flaxseed milk can be used like this.
The reason I ask is that flaxseed oil, which is made from the same raw ingredients as flax milk, shouldn’t be heated – it changes the structure of the healthy fats to something far less healthy, however, Good Karma say that yes, you can heat flaxseed milk.
You can also cook with it and they have a number of recipes on their website – including a homemade golden milk. Or, sneaky tip alert – you can also buy golden milk powder which makes the whole process much easier.
Just pop a teaspoonful into a cup, mix it into a paste with a little water or cool milk then pour the heated milk on top.
If that sounds like a good idea, then you can buy the powder in health food stores, or, on Amazon.
Try Garden of Life – mykind Organics Golden Milk Recovery & Nourishment Powder which contains turmeric, but also the black pepper your body needs to absorb the goodness in it well.
Where to Buy Flaxseed Milk
If you’re in the US it’s easy – Good Karma have a store on Amazon so you can check out the whole range and have it delivered at home. Click here to check it out
However, right now, it’s not so easy to get flax milk in the UK or Australia so, you might have to make your own.
How to Make Flaxseed Milk at Home
Most alt milks are easy to make at home (even I managed to make hazelnut milk) if you have a blender and a nut milk bag to strain the mix through.
However, flaxseed milk is a little bit more complicated as flaxseeds can gel when you first mix them with water.
As such, you need to soak the seeds before you start the process. I learned this tip from another site and so, I’m going to send you over to them to find out the whole process.
Do remember though that if you make your own flax milk, it will not have added nutrients so do not rely on it as a source of calcium. You must make sure you’re making up for this in other ways.
So, there you have it – your guide to all things flax or flaxseed milk. If you do have any questions I didn’t answer though please drop them in the comments and I’ll do my best to get them answered.