If you have not heard of flaxseed before, well there is a long history about its beneficial effects on human health. Even Charlemagne considered it so important for the health of his subjects that he passed laws requiring consumption. It is one of the most powerful plant foods on the planet.
Just remember FLAX:
- F= Fiber content in flaxseed is 4 grams in just two tablespoons. It contains both insoluble and soluble fiber.
- Soluble fiber can bind to cholesterol and lower your total blood cholesterol. Think of it as the “Drain-O” used to clean out your pipes.
- Insoluble fiber is helpful in regulating bowel movements and preventing constipation. It moves the stool through the colon more quickly which can be helpful in weight management/loss and may reduce the risk of colon cancer.
- L=Lignans are phytoestrogens that have been shown to help protect against certain cancers (especially breast and prostate cancers) by blocking the formation of tumors. They may also help reduce menopausal symptoms and help manage inflammatory and auto immune diseases. Flaxseed is one of the richest sources of lignans in the plant kingdom and may provide up to 800 times more than other plant lignans.
- A= Alphalinolenic Acid (ALA) is a beneficial type of essential Omega-3 fatty acid. Essential fatty acids are not produced in the body; therefore we must obtain them from food sources. They are known to protect against heart attacks, stroke, and reduce cholesterol and hypertension.
- X= Potential for:
- eXtra boost immune function
- eXtra protection for heart disease
- eXtra protection for certain cancers
- eXtra brain function
- eXtra reduction in arthritis pain
Flaxseed is found in several forms:
- Whole Flaxseed—Small reddish-brown seed can be milled in a coffee grinder or purchased already milled. Refrigerate in an airtight opaque container for up to 90 days depending on the brand.
- Milled Flaxseed—Best absorbed by the body in this form.
- Flaxseed Oil—Best in cold foods such as salad dressings because it loses its health benefits when temperatures exceed 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Flax oil is lower in fiber and lignans than milled but a rich source of Omega-3 fats.
How much flaxseed do you need each day?
The recommended amount of Omega 3 fat (ALA) is 1.1 g for women and 1.6 g for men, which is equivalent to 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed a day.
How to incorporate flaxseed into your diet?
Add it into any baked good if a recipe calls for two cups or more of flour just substitute ¼ – ½ cup of flour with milled flaxseed. You may also add it to any salads, oatmeal, cereals, yogurt, smoothies, meatloaf, or chicken breading. There are a variety of products that already have flax in them such as cereals, pasta noodles, muffin mixes, brownie mixes, and more.