Originally Posted by ringmaster
thanks kaplods... I wasn't sure if it was the same way flaxseed doesn't get digested if it's not ground up first.
If you ate quinoa raw this might be true (I'm not sure), but the little curly "tails" you see in quinoa are remnants of the outer bran layer.
Grinding does make flaxseed more digestible, and it isn't digestible "whole" but you don't have to really grind flaxseed, you just have to "crack" the shells. Grinding is the best way to get the most nutrients (and calories), but just cracking them coursely in a morter and pestle or in a food processor will also allow your body to digest most of the flaxseed. So a course grind or crush works nearly as well as grinding.
The curly quinoa tails are "proof" that the outer layer has peeled off, so the grains are digestible because the inner part is exposed - and that's all you need that exposure of the interior (which is true for flaxseed too).
If you ate flaxseed raw, but didn't swallow until you had thoroughly chewed them with your back molars, you'd also get much of the flaxseed nutrition - but humans don't generally chew thoroughly enough to crack the flaxseed outer shells in significant numbers - but again it doesn't need to be ground as much as it needs to be cracked open.