Flax Seed

What’s all the hype about nutritional seeds? What are these magical seeds I speak of? Flax seeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds have gained tremendous attention in recent years. I’m going to highlight flax seeds today, but keep an eye out for future posts on the other power-house seeds 🙂

WebMD states “The Flax Council estimated close to 300 new flax-based products were launched in the U.S. and Canada in 2010 alone. Not only has consumer demand for flaxseed gone up, agricultural use has also increased — to feed all those chickens laying eggs that are higher in omega-3 fatty acids.”

Flaxseed Health Benefits:

  • Preventing Cancer: The omega-3 fatty acids found in flax seeds inhibit tumor incidence and growth. Lignans found in flax seeds, may help protect against cancer by blocking enzymes that are involved in hormone metabolism and interfere with the growth and spread of tumor cells.
  • Cardiovascular Disease: The omega-3 fatty acids prevent the hardening of the artery walls and keep plaque from being deposited. They also help maintain a regular heartbeat. The cholesterol-lowering effects of flax seeds are the result of the omega-3’s, fiber, and lignans.
  • Diabetes: Preliminary research suggests that daily intake of the lignans in flax seeds may modestly improve blood sugar. Flax seeds also contain high amounts of fiber, known to control blood sugar.
  • Inflammatory: alpha-Linolenic acids and lignans found in flaxseed help block the release of certain pro-inflammatory agents.

So how much do I need?

The Mayo Clinic states, “Although the Institute of Medicine has not set a recommended daily intake for omega-3 fatty acids, it has established adequate intake amounts between 1.1 and 1.6 grams a day for adults. One tablespoon of ground flaxseed provides 1.6 grams of omega-3 fatty acids.”

So how do I eat it?

Ground flaxseed: Most nutrition experts recommend the ground version because it is easily digested. You can mill or ground whole flax seeds in a coffee grinder to create “ground flaxseed”.

I buy my Nature’s Path organic ground flaxseed in 40 ounce bags from Costco. Yes, the picture at the top of this post is ground flaxseed in our coffee canister. We don’t drink coffee, but we eat lots of flaxseed 🙂

Whole Flaxseed: Whole flax seeds still have the omega 3’s, lignans and fiber, but your body may not be able to fully digest the entire seed…so they may pass right through you undigested. Like…whole corn kernels in your stool 🙂 Ever had that happen? Did my body digest those, or not? Hmmm… Whole flax seeds are still great for the body and help with bowel mobility, obviously.

I buy these Carrington Farm whole flax seeds in single serving packets. They’re convenient to take in my handy dandy lunch box.

Flaxseed Oil: Although flaxseed oil also contains omega-3 fatty acids, it doesn’t have the beneficial fiber that the seeds have. You can purchase flaxseed oil in capsule form.

I usually sprinkle flax seed over my Greek yogurt, cereal or in my smoothies. I am itching to try some new recipes and include flax seed for added health benefits.

Below are some fun recipes I wanna try from a few of the health blogs I follow. Enjoy!

How do you enjoy your flax seed? Any favorite recipes?

References:

  • WebMD: The Benefits of Flaxseed
  • Appetite for Health:Top Foods You Should be Eating-But Probably Aren’t
  • Mayo Clinic:Nutrition & Healthy Eating: Ground flaxseed: Better than whole?
  • Mayo Clinic: Omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil, alpha-linolenic acid
  • Oregon State University: Lignans

5 Comments

  1. Melissa says:

    I like to mix ground flax seeds in with my oatmeal 🙂

  2. Anne P says:

    Great post! Thanks for the link love 🙂

  3. natalie mckee says:

    Flaxseeds and diets rich in omega 3s are also great for people who suffer from dry eyes! They really help fight ocular inflammation and increase tear production. Added bonus:) I like mine in yogurt too, adds texture!

  4. Thanks, Optometrist Natalie. Knew I could count on you for some healthy eye knowledge!

  5. Oatmeal sounds SO good right now. Thanks for the post, Melissa

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