It’s a New Year and with it comes New Year’s resolutions. More often than not, these resolutions often include getting in to shape and/or eating healthy. One way to improve health is making flax seeds a part of your regular diet. But what exactly are flax seeds and how do they help improve your health?
The Health Benefits of Flax Seeds
Flax seeds come from flax which is a fiber crop that dates back to ancient Egypt. Flax seeds are thus, high in fiber. In addition to their fiber content they are a rich source of antioxidants as well as healthy fats. There are two kinds of flax seeds, golden and brown, that have very similar nutritional make ups. They are sold in whole seed and ground form. The best way to consume flax seeds are in the ground form as whole seeds can pass through the body undigested. However, to reap the most nutritional benefits you should buy Whole Flax Seeds and grind them just prior to use. Here is how to grind flaxseeds to make your own flax meal.
The health benefits of flax seeds are still being actively researched but early results show promising positive effects on health and wellness. Some of the health benefits are as follows.
Health Benefits of Flax Seeds
- Improving blood sugar. Studies have shown flax seeds help with glycemic control according to a study that was published in Nutrition Research
- Protecting against cancer. Flax seed may help prevent the development of prostate, colon and breast cancer. Flax seeds are high in Omega-3 Fatty Acids which help prevent cancer cells from attacking and adhering to other cells in the body.
- Lowers Cholesterol
- Helps prevent hot flashes in menopausal women
- Helps reduce inflammation
Tips for Using Flax Seeds
- Whole flax seed keeps its nutritional properties longer. Grind flax seed just before use.
- Store ground flax seed in air tight containers in the freezer (helps slow down oxidization that breaks down the nutrients).
- Ground flax seed (or flax meal) can be found in most grocery stores in the flour aisle. Specialty markets may carry whole seeds or you can buy both ground flax seed and whole flax seeds online.
- You can easily make your own flax meal (or flax powder).
- Add flax seed to foods you already eat such as yogurt, oatmeal, or smoothies to increase fiber. Here are 10 recipes using flax seeds.
- Dark sauces or meat mixtures work best for “hiding” flax seed from picky eaters. For a four serving casserole you can add anywhere between 2-4 tablespoons.
- Because flax seed is so high in fiber, start slowly to prevent bloating and constipation.
- Drink plenty of water while using flax seed to prevent constipation.
- Flax seed can be added to most foods. A simple google search of flax seed recipes will generate tons of options for you.
Flax seeds are an easy and inexpensive way to add fiber, anti-oxidants and healthy fats in to your diet. The health benefits of flax seeds are just starting to be researched and discovered but it is well on its way to becoming a super food for a healthy lifestyle.
More Healthy Foods to Add to your Diet:
Alicia can be found on her blog Moms Don’t Say That where she share recipes, tips, and musings from her life.