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Flax seeds have been around for thousands of years, though it wasn't until recently that they started gaining popularity. These days they can be found in numerous commercial products, including oatmeal, crackers, and pizza crust. These tiny, little seeds have HUGE nutrition benefits! They are a great source of fiber, protein, omega 3 fatty acids (healthy fat vital to heart and brain health), and lignans (phytochemical that decreases cancer risk). In fact, flaxseed is the #1 source of lignans in the human diet!
NUTRITION BENEFITS may include-
- less hunger
- reduced hot flashes
- reduced inflammation
- lower cholesterol
- lower blood pressure
- improved blood sugars
- improved digestive health
- decreased risk of stroke
- decreased risk of cancer, particularly breast, colon, and prostate
Flaxseed can be purchased at your local supermarket, health food store, or online. It also comes in different forms: whole flax seeds, ground flaxseed, or flaxseed oil. Read on to see which may be best for you!
Whole Flax Seeds
Whole flax seeds are an excellent source of fiber, providing 3 grams per tablespoon! Unfortunately, that is really the only benefit, as many of them will pass through the gastrointestinal tract undigested. They can be used in baking breads or toss them on top of your favorite cereal or salad!
With ground flaxseed, the outer shell of the seed has been broken, so you reap the benefits of not only the fiber, but of the omega 3 fatty acids and lignans too! You can purchase flaxseed ground (also known as milled flax, flax flour, or flax meal) or you can purchase whole flax seeds and grind them in your coffee grinder. Ground flaxseed can be added to many foods including muffins, oatmeal, pancakes, and meatballs!
Flaxseed oil doesn't contain lignans, unless fortified, and is absent from any fiber. It is, however, loaded with heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids! Add a tablespoon to your next smoothie or yogurt.
FUN FACT - did you know that you can substitute flaxseed for eggs in baking? For every egg called for, whisk together 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoon of water and let sit for 5 minutes.
Never had flaxseed before? Give it a try in my Banana Nut Smoothie!
Did you find this blog helpful? You might also like to check out some of my other nutrition related posts!