Whether you've heard of it before or not, flaxseed is a seriously underrated component to add to your favorite foods. Call me a dietitian mom, but at my house we call flaxseed "sprinkles", and for good reason. It packs a ton of nutrition and health benefits in just a tiny seed!
Flaxseed is a plant food that's been around for ages- it was first cultivated in Babylon as early as 3000BC and it has many healthy components, the three main ones being:
Omega-3 essential fatty acids: the "good" fats that have been shown to have a heart-healthy effects. Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed has about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s. Be sure it's ground so your body can readily absorb it!
Lignans: have plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities, and are known to protect against cancer. Flaxseed has 75 to 800 times more lignans of any other plant food.
Fiber: helps you feel fuller for longer. Flaxseed has both soluble and insoluble fiber! As mentioned above, be sure you grind it so you capture the benefits of the whole seed!
Besides being rich in healthy fats and fiber, flaxseed may play a role in reducing your risk of certain diseases.
Cancer: Recent studies have suggested that flaxseed may protect against breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer. In animal studies, the plant omega-3 fatty acids inhibited tumor incidence and growth (read: stopped the tumors from growing and being made in the first place). The lignans in flaxseed may also protect against cancers sensitive to hormones, such as breast cancer, by blocking he enzymes that could grow and spread tumors.
Cardiovascular Disease: Research suggests that plant-based sources of omega-3s are anti-inflammatory, normalize the heartbeat and reduce blood pressure. Flaxseed omega-3s may also prevent hardening of the arteries and reduce plaque buildup. This leads to reduced risk for a heart attack or stroke.
Eating flaxseed daily may also lower your LDL, or "bad" cholesterol in your bloodstream, which can reduce your risk for heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and metabolic issues
Diabetes: Research also shows the lignans and fiber from flaxseed may improve blood sugar.
Inflammation: The ALA and the lignans in flaxseed may reduce inflammation that's associated with certain illnesses, such as Parkinson's disease and asthma.
Major tip about flaxseed:
Make sure you buy your flaxseed GROUND: whole flaxseeds are tough for the body to break down so you're more likely to miss a lot of the benefits within the seeds unless your seeds are ground! I buy mine pre-ground. When you do buy your flaxseed, store it in the fridge. Because it's a seed, the natural oils can make it go rancid if not stored in a cool place.
How to add it to your favorite foods:
Flaxseed is so easy to add to whatever foods you love. Some of my favorites to add are:
Mac and Cheese
I think y9ou get the idea. Sprinkling some flaxseed automatically boost your nutrition and adds a rich source of fiber and healthy fats to your meals or snacks.
I love adding flaxseed in my diet and I hope you will too! Small but meaningful adjustments, such as adding flaxseed in your diet, can make a difference in the long run of your health journey. I'd love to know:
How are you integrating flaxseed into your diet?
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