Change Your Choices

Change Your Life…Tips for a healthier you

What the F***is all the fuss?

on June 23, 2011

The new four-letter F word in healthy eating circles is FLAX.  It is almost impossible to find a cereal or bread that is not touting flax as an ingredient.  We are constantly being hit with new super foods (Acai berry, pomegranate, quiona, etc) and now we can add flax to the list.

Why Flax? 

For something so small, flax seed has big benefits. Recent studies have shown that flax seed may aid in lowering cholesterol, stabilizing blood sugar, reducing bone loss, promoting weight loss, increasing immunity, and fighting cancer.
Flax seed is high in:
  • Vitamins and minerals, including most of the B vitamins, magnesium, and manganese
  • Fiber, both soluble and insoluble
  • Phytochemicals, including many powerful antioxidants such as lignans. In fact, because it’s a plant, flax seed is one of the best sources of lignans around, Metsovas says.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids, key to fighting inflammation. Flax seed is a mega-source of the plant version of omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Flax seed oil is about 50 percent ALA — five times more than walnut oil or canola oil, which are the next highest sources of ALA.

Flax seed may:

  • Lower blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels, reduce bone loss, help with weight management, improve digestive health, increase immunity, and fight cancer.

However, there are some concerns with the use of flax seed as well.  While the Omega-3 benefits of flax seed are good, using fish as an Omega-3 source is still better. People who have inflammatory bowel or digestive issues should avoid flax seed because of its laxative effects.  Pregnant women and those with reproductive issues and men with an increased risk of prostate cancer should also stay away from flax seed.  Please check with your doctor if you have concerns or questions.

Flax seed is also gluten free. And look at those Nu Val Scores!

 Flax seed comes in many forms, at Festival we have the Bob’s Red Mill in bags as well as in bulk and Flax seed oil, which is refrigerated.  It is best to buy the whole seed and grind it as you need.  Use a blender or coffee grinder and keep it refrigerated in an airtight container.  Flax seed will get rancid so grind in small batches.

How to Eat Flax seed:
Adults should eat no more than 1 tablespoon a day, 3/4 teaspoon for kids.  I will warn you, this seems small,  but it is a serious amount of fiber hitting your system so don’t start with 1 tablespoon.  Be prepared for some changes in your pooping habits as well as some major gas until your body gets used to it!  Trust me on this one.

 Ground flax seed can be sprinkled on yogurt, added to mustard or mayo on a sandwich, as a salad topping, added to cereal,  or mixed into meatloaf or meatballs.

Flax seed can be a great way to add fiber and nutrients that might be lacking your diet that can improve your heart health and digestive system so give it a try!


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