You may have heard me go on and on and on about flaxseed – there’s a reason why! I’m going to explain to you the incredible health benefits of flax seeds, and how to use them!
I think of flax (aka linseed) seeds as a “functional food” because of the extraordinary health benefits. Flaxseed is one of the most ancient seeds that we know today. It’s been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine, and by the Romans! It’s a great source of healthy fats, antioxidants, and fiber. It also contains antiangiogenic properties that are thought to be able to stop tumors from forming new blood vessels. The studies show that it is preventative against breast and prostate cancer in particular.
Summing up some of the health benefits:-
- Health fat
- Omega 3 fatty acids
- Reduces cholesterol
- Reduces blood pressure
- Helps with digestive issues (particularly if constipated)
- Significantly improves fasting blood sugar levels, triglycerides, and A1C levels (so a must-eat for Type 2 diabetics)
- Improves dry skin from the inside out
How much should I eat a day?
You need to eat 1- 2 tbsp daily to get the full range of healthy benefits. Raw flax can interrupt thyroid function, so best not to eat while pregnant, and stick to just 1 tbsp if you have thyroid issues.
How should I buy it?
The least expensive way to buy it is from a bulk bin. Many health food stores sell it this way. You can buy golden or brown (makes no difference), and you can buy the seeds or buy it ground (usually sold in packets).
What about flaxseed oil?
I see no reason to buy the oil when you get a fresher product (with fiber), by eating the whole seed ground up. Plus, the oil goes rancid quickly, so you have to be very diligent about finding one that is well within it’s sell-by-date. It does make a healthy dressing, but as far as the health benefits are concerned, go for the whole seed.
How should I eat it?
Unless tossing it in your smoothie, you need to eat the seeds ground – or they will go in one end and out the other! If you buy the seeds, you can grind them in a coffee grinder or high-speed blender. I almost always use ground up seeds. I toss them in my smoothie, mix into oatmeal or plant-based yogurt, and bake with it. I also make “flax eggs” by adding 3 tbsps of warm water to 1 tbsp of ground flax (stir and leave for 10 minutes and you have 1 flax egg.)
How should I store them?
I store them in the fridge or freezer. If they are ground, they can go rancid fast, so keep them in a glass jar in your fridge for up to 3 months. You can freeze them for up to 6 months.