Flax seeds are tiny, brown seeds that are the richest sources of a plant-based healthy omega-3 fatty acids, called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in the world. The ALA in flax can help protect the lining of the digestive tract and maintain GI health by reducing gut inflammation. This versatile seed is used in baking, for feeding chickens to increase the omega 3’s in eggs, as an egg replacement in vegan baking and as a nutty addition to smoothies. Flax seeds are an amazing source (8 grams per 1 ounce serving) of both soluble and insoluble fiber to help promote regularity and reduce cholesterol levels. They are concentrated in lignan, an antioxidant, which may reduce the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer. The lignans may also be helpful for hormone balance in women, regulating menstrual cycles and reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Since flax is full of healthy fats and fiber, it can help you feel full longer, leading to the consumption of less food overall, possibly leading to weight loss. Flax seeds contain 6 grams of protein per 1 ounce serving and are high in vitamin b-1, magnesium, manganese and phosphorous.
Because flax seeds are encased in a hard, protective shell, to reap their full nutritional benefit, they need to be ground before being consumed. Our digestive system cannot break through the shell and they will just pass through without sharing their nutritional bounty. It is best to buy flax seeds whole and grind them yourself right before consuming them because once ground, they will go rancid quickly.
Enjoy all the goodness that can come from adding flax seeds to your life.
Photo from flickr.