UPDATE: I recommend easing into flaxseed usage. Start out with 1 t. or so a day and gradually work your way up to 1-2 T. Your stomach might feel funny the first week or so, but it’ll all work out for the best once your body gets used to it! 🙂
I LOVE flaxseed. It’s really changed my life. Some of you have inquired about the benefits of flax. Here goes:
- It contains lots of Omega-3 essential fatty acids which are a good fat and can help your heart health. It also contains Omega-6s and conveniently, the Omega-3 and Omega-6 ratio that our body needs happens to be in perfect proportion in flaxseed (3:1).
- It’s high in Lignans, which has high antioxidant qualities, which helps prevents certain types of cancer (particularly breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer).
- Fiber. Oh fiber baby. Flaxseed contains both the soluble and insoluble types.
- Improves blood sugar levels (handy especially for diabetics)
There are many more benefits than just these, but these are the most simple and most well researched.
Why I personally love it
This is about to get personal here. I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in 2004. There are two kinds of IBS; the kind where you poop all the time and have perma-diarrhea and the kind where you rarely poop. I consider myself fortunate that I had the latter issue. So I was put on a couple of different prescriptions that I hated and stopped taking (and they were later pulled from the market – scary!). I cleaned up my diet (no more Wendy’s, limited soda intake) and essentially figured out what my triggers are for feeling bloated and crappy (pun totally intended). That helped a LOT, but in 2006 one of my friends introduced me to ground flaxseed.
My friend put a couple tablesppons in her oatmeal daily, mostly for the health benefits. I tried hers and really liked the nutty taste it added to bland oatmeal, so I picked up my own bag at Whole Foods. After a couple weeks, I was a regular gal. For the first time I could remember EVER. And I didn’t feel sick, bloated, miserable, and in total pain after ever meal.
Have you noticed tons of commercial for fiber products and things that help you go? Well, it’s a common problem, particularly among women (which I think is 90% caused by people’s diets, but that’s another long blog post). Instead of spending lots of money on Activia, Metamucil, or whatever other fiber products are out and will come out soon, pick up some flaxseed. It’s inexpensive, you can add to to almost anything (soups, salad, smoothies, oatmeal, bread, baked goods), it’s good for you, and when you can taste it, it’s tasty; but the taste isn’t overpowering to ruin your dish.
I’ve only purchased ground flaxseed, but I’ve had whole flaxseeds in breads and salads and they have great texture and taste. I plan to buy some whole seeds this weekend. Studies show that ground flaxseed is probably the best option (vs. whole flaxseed or flaxseed oil) since your body can absorb more of the healthy stuff in it in the ground form and nothing is lost like when it’s in the oil form.
If you want to read more about flaxseed, this is a good, comprehensive article. If you have any questions or you introduce flaxseed into your diet, let me know!