Flaxseed, it may not enable you to leap tall buildings in a single bound but it is a “Super” seed

by Deena on March 16, 2011

Ever wonder how we decide what topics to write about… It usually goes something like this:

  • Deena: So I’ve been hearing a lot about flaxseed lately.
  • Angela: Yeah, I add it to my oatmeal everyday for breakfast.
  • Deena:  Oh, great.  So what does it do?
  • Angela:  Well I know it’s packed with nutrients but I’m not sure exactly what…

Thus, today’s fun topic: FLAXSEED.  We know you all we’re just asking yourselves the same questions.  What is flaxseed?  And why would I want to consume it?

Flaxseeds look like large shiny sesame seeds.  They can vary in color from dark red to brown.  They can be purchased from the grocery store in either the seed form or grounded up (flaxseed meal).  If you purchase them in seed form you will need to grind them as the nutrients aren’t easily absorbed from the whole seed.  The flaxseed can be easily grounded using a food processor or coffee grinder.  It is generally recommended to grind them as you consume them as the oil in the flaxseed spoils quickly.  If you purchase the flaxseed meal, store the unused portion in the refrigerator to keep it fresh longer.

So now that we know what they are.. the next question is why would I want to eat them?

Flaxseeds are commonly referred to as a Super Seed as opposed to a Super Food (like oats, beans, tomatoes). Flaxseeds not only provide a significant source of omega-3 fatty acids, they also have fiber, protein, magnesium, iron and potassium all wrapped up in that little seed.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids are termed “essential” because they are necessary for survival yet cannot be produced by our bodies.   Omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function as well as normal growth and development.  Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.
  • Flaxseed is also a rich source of dietary fiber, both soluble and insoluble, making it a useful digestive aid.
  • And finally flaxseed is one of the best source of lignans, a nutrient with antioxidant properties.  Lignans help to balance the estrogens in the body and protect against breast cancer.

So now that we know all of the benefits of this little seed, it’s also important to note that you only need one to two tablespoons of ground flaxseed per day.  You can consume it by adding it to your morning bowl of oatmeal, cereal or yogurt.  It could also added to bread, muffin or pancake mixes.  Personally, I’ve started adding a spoonful or two to my morning fruit smoothie and drink it on my way into the office.

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