The humble flax seed! Also known as linseed, humans have been utilizing this crop in a huge variety of ways – eaten as food, creation of textiles, pressed for oil, and even made into body armor – for tens of thousands of years! They’re high in fiber, manganese, and magnesium, hormone balancing, and a perfect egg replacer in baking! We don’t go a day without it, and for good reason. The seeds of the flax plant are nutritional Nirvana, containing ridiculous amounts of tons of different beneficial nutrients and the only caveat is they must be ground for your body to be able to use all their goodness. Now let’s take a closer look at all they provide:
From Dr.Axe.com ”
Amongst its other incredible nutrition facts, flax seeds are also packed with antioxidants. Lignans are unique fiber-related polyphenols that provide us with antioxidant benefits for anti-aging, hormone balance and cellular health.
Polyphenols support the growth of probiotics in the gut and may also help eliminate yeast and candida in the body.
Lignans 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.”
From World’s Healthiest Foods:
“According to recent research, flaxseeds also belong high up on our list of antioxidant-rich foods. When flaxseeds are compared with other commonly eaten foods in terms of their total polyphenol content (polyphenols are one very important group of antioxidants), flaxseeds rank 9th among 100 commonly eaten foods. Flaxseeds turn out to be significantly higher in polyphenol antioxidants than fruits like blueberries or vegetables like olives. The antioxidant benefits of flaxseeds have long been associated with prevention of cardiovascular diseases and have recently also been tied to decreased insulin resistance.
It is important to realize that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of flaxseed do not apply only to the cardiovascular system. Oxidative stress (which is often related to deficient intake of antioxidant nutrients) and excessive inflammation (which can also be related to deficient intake of anti-inflammatory nutrients) are common risk factors for a wide variety of health problems. These problems include development of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, asthma, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. There is preliminary evidence that flaxseed intake can decrease risk of all the problems above by increasing our anti-inflammatory and antioxidant protection.”
Omega 3 Fatty Acids:
“Flax seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, particularly in omega-3 fatty acid ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), which helps prevent heart disease and reduces blood pressure (16).
In fact, flax seeds are the second richest food source (after chia seeds) of ALA, which cannot be produced by your body on its own and has to be delivered to the body with food.
Human studies have shown that daily consumption of ALA reduces the risk of strokes, heart attacks, and another heart diseases.
Another human study showed that those who consume ALA every day have significantly lower rates of death from heart disease, compared to people with lower ALA intake (55).
Animal studies have shown that ALA reduces the inflammation processes in the arteries (41).”
From Ellie’s Whole Grains.com:
“Flax Mucilage is a type of Soluble Fiber that is important for protecting and healing the colon.
It is a thick, gelatinous substance that swells as it absorbs water and includes proteins. It has medicinal properties by acting as an emollient to help soothe, soften, and heal tissue (think of a moisturizer, aka an emollient) and as a demulcent, which soothes, protects and heals the internal tissues of the body including the intestines from irritation and inflammation
Benefits of Mucilage on Health:
- a great stool softener and promotes regular bowel movements, which prevents toxicity and help decrease bad LDL cholesterol
- helps promote good flora in the gut which protects us from the bacteria that is harmful
- Helps to decrease or eliminate cravings that come from low blood sugar + the body’s need for good fats and fiber -this helps maintain good blood sugars and maintain healthy weight.Weight loss and flax seed are serious partners and can help you to stop food cravings while your body gets the nutrition it so badly needs!
- Reduces irritations of the gut, which is especially beneficial for people who have IBS (irritable bowel), diverticuli, and other intestinal problems.”
And this is truly only a snapshot of all the benefits flax can bring to your life.
- Ground your flax as needed as it will go rancid. If you buy your flax ground, store it in the fridge or freezer.
- Add a few tablespoons to your smoothies! If you have a high speed blender, whole seeds should blend up just fine. If you don’t, use a spice or coffee grinder to grind it before adding it to your smoothie.
- Sprinkle ground flax on your salads and soups for a subtle nutty taste and a bit of texture.
- Mix 1 tablespoon ground flax with 3 tablespoons warm water and let it sit for about half an hour. Voila – you now have a vegan egg! This can be used in baking recipes, mixed with gluten free flours to make flatbreads or wraps, or added to sauces as a thickener.