Cultivated in Babylon in 3000 BC, flax seed has a strong history. In fact, King Charlemagne of the 8th century required his subjects to consume flax seed because of its strong health benefits.
Found in many different kinds of foods, the demand for flax seed has increased dramatically since 2010. The demand didn’t just go up for consumers, but for agricultural use as well. It is used to feed livestock to produce meat and eggs with high omega-3 fatty acid content.
Flax seed contains many healthy ingredients, but its most notable ones include:
- Omega-3 essential fatty acids
Flax seed comes in many shapes, sizes and colors. The variety of flax seed includes:
- Flax seed
- Ground Flax seed
- Milled Flax seed
- Golden Flax seed
- Brown Flax seed
- Flax meal
Recent studies have shown that flax seed may reduce the risk of certain cancers, lung disease and cardiovascular disease.
The nutritional content of flax seed may prevent the development of cancer, particularly breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer.
The omega 3 fatty acids that are found in flax seed inhibit the growth of tumors. The lignans may also provide some protection against cancer and do not interfere with breast cancer medications. Recent studies have suggested that exposure to lignans at an early age may reduce the risk of breast cancer later on in life. Lignans prevent the development of cancer by:
- Disabling the growth and spread of tumor cells.
- Blocking enzymes that metabolize hormones.
Flax seed may protect the body from developing serious health issues such as:
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Hot flashes
Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids
Omega 3 essential fatty acids are frequently referred to as “good fats”. This specific type of fatty acid has been proven to be very beneficial to heart health.
One tablespoon of ground flax seed contains approximately 1.8 grams of omega-3s.
Containing both estrogen and antioxidants, lignans are highly concentrated in flax seeds. In fact, flax seed contains 75-800 times more lignans than other plant-based foods.
Lignans are chemical compounds that are found in plants. They are capable of interfering with estrogen and the cancer promoting effects it has on breast tissue.
Flax seed contains both soluble and insoluble types of fiber.
Flax seed is a good fiber to take. It is a great dietary fiber blend and contains many beneficial omega oils. Other good natural sources of fiber, that can be taken alone or blended together, include:
- Irish Moss
- Psyllium Husk
- Guar Gum
- Acacia Gum
- Apple Pectin
- Glucomannon (Konjak root)
- Fennel seed
- Citrus pectin
Experts claim that it is better to consume flax seed than flax oil so that all the components are digested. When eaten whole, flax seed is less likely to be digested. Ground flax seed supplies the body with the most nutrients.
The great thing about flax seed is that it is very easy to add into a diet. It has a mild and nutty flavor and it can be added to many different types of foods.
Start by adding several tablespoon of ground flax seed to certain foods such as yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies or soup. Since most flax seeds are brown in color it is best to add flax seed to darkly colored foods such as sauces.
Flax seed can also be used in baking. Ground flax seed can substitute for flour in most recipes.
If the flax seed is pre-ground, it is best to store it in the freezer. The cold air will keep it from oxidizing and losing its nutrients.
Whole flax seed will last longer because the outside shell keeps the fatty acids intact. Keep the whole flax seeds in a cool and dry place so that it can last for up to a year.
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