Nowadays, flax seed is in many packaged products. You can’t walk through a grocery store without finding some kind of bread, cereal, or cracker without flax seed in it. You can clearly see how food manufacturers are trying to capitalize on this super-food. Flax seed is ahhhhhmazing. If you are as health concious as I am…you probably know the truth about how good this stuff is for you and the PROPER way to consume it in order to reap the benefits.
For starters, if it’s in packaged food, it is usually left in its whole form which is useless because your body cannot break down the hull around the seed to get to the real nutritious stuff inside. If you are buying a packaged product just because of the flax seed…don’t waste your money. Packaged processed food items usually come with excess fat, sugar, sodium and preservatives to name the obvious. So here is a breakdown of how to consume flax the proper way:
- Buy it in whole form, preferably organic (I use golden flax)
- Grind it right BEFORE you are going to eat it. 1 tablespoon measured (before grinding) a day is all you need. I use a small coffee grinder that cost me $15.
- If you need to grind enough for a few days, REFRIGERATE it! Flax meal goes rancid quickly.
Don’t bother with flax oil because it’s concentrated calories and you don’t reap many of the benefits as you would eating it by grinding it. Don’t buy it already ground up unless it has been refrigerated.
Now…why should you consume flax seed? Well, flax seed has all sorts of healthy components but has earned a reputation for three primary ingredients:
- Fiber – Flaxseed contains both the soluble and insoluble types which lowers the risk of constipation therefore promoting colon health.
- Omega-3 essential fatty acids – Also known as the “good” fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. No need to get this from fish! Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s. The ultra-high levels of omega-3 fatty acids lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
- Lignans- Flaxseed contains 75-800 times more lignans (a phytonutirent) than other plant foods. Lignins have anti-cancer properties, especially in relation to estrogen-linked cancers like breast. Lignins flush excess estrogen out of the body and also seem to have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties.
How do I get this in my diet? Well, it’s pretty darn easy. Primarily I add my ground flax seed to my smoothies in the mornings for breakfast. You can also add it to your oatmeal, cereal, on top of salads or fruit, and in a soy yogurt. It gives a nutty flavor and doesn’t taste bad so you can actually just eat a tablespoon of it and chase it with water or juice. I find the best way to add it to my daughter’s diet is with a smoothie or in her oatmeal. Enjoy your flax and all of it’s super benefits!