Flax is all the rage right now. Despite being consumed by humans for over 6000 years, flax continues to get a lot of buzz.
We're continuously learning about the health benefits to be gained from this amazing little seed. It comes from the flaxseed plant, and can be found added to crackers, tortilla chips, breakfast cereals, granola and breads. To get the best nutritional benefits, the recommended amount is two tablespoons of ground flaxseed daily.
Flaxseed contains up to 800 times the phytochemicals commonly found in other oily seeds. These phytochemicals can lower the risk of some hormone-related cancers, increase brain function, reduce LDL-cholesterol and plaque build-up in arteries and lower blood pressure. The phytochemicals in flaxseed support growth of probiotics in the gut. The omega-3 fats in flaxseeds fight inflammation and protect against inflammatory diseases such as heart disease, arthritis and diabetes.
Flaxseed contains both soluble fiber and insoluble fiber to help with digestive issues, heart disease and diabetes. It promotes gut health and protects the lining of the digestive tract. It also adds bulk to the stool and is considered to be one of the best natural remedies for constipation.
Flaxseed is available as whole or ground seeds. It is best to grind or spout the seeds for best absorption. Sprout by simply soaking the seeds in warm water for 10 minutes or cold water for two hours. Flaxseed can also be purchased ground or can be ground in a coffee grinder and used immediately. Whole seeds can be stored for 10-12 months, while ground flax has a shelf life of four months.
Here are some ways to add flaxseed to your healthy eating plan:
- Mix into tuna, chicken or egg salads.
- Sprinkle on salads, yogurt or cereal.
- Use in your favorite meatloaf, muffin, cookie or bread recipe.
- Add to your morning smoothie.
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