Flaxseeds (also called linseeds) are a rich source of micronutrients, dietary fiber, manganese, vitamin B1, and the essential fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid, also known as ALA or omega-3. They originated in the Middle East thousands of years ago.
Fun Facts about Flax Seeds
Flaxseeds are high in:
- Vitamins and minerals – High in most of the B vitamins, magnesium, and manganese
- Fiber – Flaxseeds contain both soluble and insoluble
- Phytochemicals – They have many powerful antioxidants such as lignans
- Omega-3 fatty acids – Flaxseed is a mega-source of the plant version of omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
- Flaxseed oil is about 50 percent ALA – five times more than walnut oil or canola oil, which are the next highest sources of ALA
- Gluten Free – Great for anyone with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
Health Benefits of Flax Seeds
- Lower blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels – adding flax seeds into your diet can naturally reduce cholesterol levels. The soluble fiber content of flax seeds traps fat and cholesterol in the digestive system so that it is unable to be absorbed. Soluble fiber also traps bile, which is made from cholesterol in the gallbladder.
- Healthy skin and hair – The ALA fats in flax seeds benefits the skin and hair by providing essential fats as well as b-vitamins which can help reduce dryness and flakiness. It can also improve symptoms of acne, rosacea, and eczema. This also applies to eye health as flax can reduce dry eye syndrome.
- Help with weight management – Flax expands when ingested, giving the feeling of fullness. Taking flax seeds 30mins before meals can help control your appetite.
- Improve digestive health – The fiber in flaxseed can help relieve constipation and make you more regular.
- Increase immunity – ALA ( alpha linoleic acid) has been shown to decrease inflammation, which allows your immune system to function better. Lignans found in flaxseeds are also known for their anti-viral and antibacterial properties, therefore consuming flax regularly may help reduce the number or severity of colds and flus.
- Fight cancer – Flax seeds have many powerful antioxidants. The benefit is based on its high concentration of lignans, which are believed to inhibit tumor growth.
How to incorporate Flax Seeds into your diet
Flax seeds have a nutty flavor (you should use ground meal) .Because flax is a seed that contains fat, purchasing a product that is already ground could make the fat prone to oxidation. You can grind fresh flax seeds in a coffee grinder and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 90 days.
- Sprinkle on hot or cold cereal
- Blend into juice or smoothies
- Add flax seed to mustard or mayonnaise
- Sprinkle on salads or cooked vegetables
- Add to meatballs or meatloaf
- Sprinkle on yogurt (love it on yogurt!)
- Add it to tomato sauce and casseroles
- Can be mixed with water and used as an egg substitute in baked goods.