Flaxseed may be tiny, but it packs a punch with a nutritious payload that is unmatched in its amount of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. Flax seed oil has been around for thousands of years and it is a great source of natural healing for almost all body systems! According to university study, the oil can help against many known diseases today. Cancer, Diabetes, Cholesterol, Crohn’s disease, Arthritis and even various types of skin diseases have been included in the universal study of the healing power of flax seeds.
Flaxseed is not really a “grain”, but it does have properties that are similar to grains and is a very low in carbohydrate content, which makes it a big winner for people who are looking to limit sugar and starch intake.
Flax seed nutrition provides a health combination of “good” fats and fiver that make it an ideal food for weight loss, and for maintaining weight loss – and for eating heart-healthy.
Vitamin and Mineral Content
There are so many things to love about flaxseed from a nutritional standpoint, and it is definitely packed with some much-needed vitamins and minerals. You’ll find that it provides you with a heaping helping of nearly all of the b-vitamins, as well as manganese and magnesium – so it may very well be the healthiest seed on the planet.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Flax seed oil contains the highest source of Omega-3 fatty acids and lignans (antioxidants) in nature. Omega-3’s are the good fats that lubricate our body organs and remove anything in our vessels that would hinder good blood flow. This normally results in lower levels in cholesterol and blood pressure . Since our bodies cannot produce Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) naturally, they must be obtained from our diet. Flaxseed oil contains 75 to 800 times more lignans than any other plant food. Why should Omega-3 become a major part of your diet? They are the building blocks of life! According to The National Cancer Institute, the seeds deserve further study as a food product because of cancer fighting properties and many natural health benefits.
Doctors and researchers believe that a lack of Omega-3 fatty acids and an increase in the intake of Omega-6 promote the development of many diseases, including cholesterol, cancer, obesity and autoimmune diseases. Saturated fats and vegetable oils like corn, soy and sunflower oil are high in Omega-6 fatty acids and interfere with the body’s ability to utilize Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFA’s). Flax seed oil is the most convenient, efficent and great-tasting way to get your EFAs. Certified organic, Kosher and 100% Vegetarian. No cholesterol. No harmful trans-fatty acids!
High in Fiber
Fiber is so beneficial to the human diet, and flaxseed is an excellent source of fiber that you can easily add to yours. In fact, there are few foods that are higher in both insoluble and soluble fiber than flax seed. A diet that is rich in fiber can help to lower your cholesterol, promote stability of your blood sugar, and enhance the functionality of the entire intestinal tract in order to put an end to bloating, gas, constipation, and other intestinal maladies. Fiber can also help to stave off heart disease.
Phyto – Chemicals
This food provides an abundant source of phyto-chemicals, including many important antioxidants – but is perhaps the best source of lignans. Lignans help to balance the “female” hormones of the body, and some scientific research suggests that lignans promote fertility, reduce symptoms of menopause and perimenopause, and may even prevent breast cancer and Type 2 diabetes.
Getting the Most out of Flax
It is very important to note that flaxseeds must be ground in order to get the proper nutrient value from these tiny wonders. Whole flaxseeds may not be as easily digestible, or may not be fully digested at all, and the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals in the flaxseed are not as available to the digestive system when eaten whole. You can buy flaxseeds whole and then grind them, or you can buy them ground. Flax seed oil, while beneficial, does not contain the phyto-chemicals, but is still a good source of omega-3s.
Safety and Side Effects
Flax seed is a wonderful food that can improve your health, but there are some cautions to using flax. Since it delivers a big fiber load to your diet, it is wise to begin with just a small amount in the diet and then increase it slow – or cramping and a laxative effect might occur. Flax oil is a highly unsaturated fat, which is good for your health but bad for storage purposes because it makes the oil prone to become rancid or oxidized prematurely if it is not stored correctly.
By using only whole flax, you can store the seeds in a cool place for up to a year, but once flax is ground or made into oil, it has a tendency to begin degrading – although it will keep for a few months. Protect flax “meal” (ground flaxseed) by storing in an airtight container away from heat, and store the oil in the refrigerator to be used within two weeks of opening. It also contains phytoestrogens and small trace amounts of cyanide, so it is important to not exceed the recommended maximum daily serving of flaxseed, which is two tablespoons.