In continued efforts to increase the health of my gut, I’ve been incorporating flaxseed into my diet like ca-razy. At first I would add a tablespoon here and there to things and now I’m heaping the stuff into yogurt, smoothies, cereal, on top of fruit, and even using it in baked goods to replace flour and even as a fat (egg or oil) substitute. Whenever I start eating a lot of something, I wonder about what it’s doing for my body. Since flax now seems to be added to everything, I wanted to get the lowdown so you can know why you should be eating this powerhouse food too as well as the best way to consume it. Read on.
Carbs. Do you crave ‘em? I do!! What’s amazing about flax is that it satisfies like carbs but unlike most, you stay full! I’m not even kidding. And–while it has a similar mineral and nutrient makeup to grains, it is NOT a grain and is in fact LOW in carbs! On top of this, flax is super high in fiber and healthy fats which is why it leaves you feeling full and more likely to lose weight.
Fiber. Good luck finding any other food with as much insoluble and soluble fiber. Read: healthy gut, blood sugar regulation, and cholesterol lowering benefits.
Vitamins. High in magnesium, B vitamins, and manganese. This is a little rockstar seed!
Omega-3. Omega-3s are vital in fighting against inflammation, the culprit of a large number of chronic illnesses. This being said, it’s also important to eat plenty of cold-water fish, like salmon, because they are different types of Omega-3s that play off of each other in order to fight disease.
Phytochemicals. There is a high amount of lignans contained in flax seed. Lignans are really useful for women in that they can help promote fertility, balance female hormones, prevent breast cancer, and even decrease peri-menopausal symptoms. For both males and females, lignans help prevent Type 2 Diabetes. Flax is also very high in antioxidants and phytochemicals.
Side note: My new favorite cereal is Enjoy Life’s Crunch Flax Cereal. It’s super filling and I add milled flax seed with chopped up bananas and blackberries with almond milk. I’m usually hungry allll day and this week I added this into my breakfast routine and it is keeping me FULL!
Nutritional Facts: Only 200 calories per serving. 3 g fat. 115mg Sodium. 42 g Carbohydrate. 6 g Fiber. 7 g Protein. It also provides 15% of your daily Iron and Vitamin B6. Yess!! I highly recommend this cereal.
Tips on Eating Flax:
- Eat milled or ground flax seed instead of the seeds or the oil. The seeds are not easily digestible and the oil does not contain the phytochemicals or fiber found in the milled seed.
- Store in a cool, dark place like the refrigerator or freezer. Whole flax seed can stay good for a year, the meal for 3-4 months, and the oil for only a few weeks. It’s most cost effective to purchase whole seeds and ground them up yourself using a blender or food processor.
- If purchasing milled flax seed, be sure the package says when it was milled so you can be sure it is fresh. It should be in the refrigerated section of the store and should also be in an opaque bag instead of clear because light leads to spoilage. You want your seed to be fresh so you get all the benefits! It fresh it will taste nutty.
- Drink plenty of water! If you don’t drink enough water and you aren’t used to eating a lot of fiber, you could get constipated.
- When baking, you can substitute the following:
* 1/3 c. oil –> 1 c. milled flax seed
* 1 egg –> 1 Tbsp milled flax seed + 3 Tbsp water
* Substitute up to 1/5 of the flour in the recipe with milled flax seed.
How do you eat your flax?