Flax Seeds and their Health Benefits

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Flax seeds are a good source of Omega 3 - which is the healthy fat found in every cell in your body, and they are what you would consider a “vegetarian source” of fat.

When we say fat, most people shy away – saying fat isn’t good for you. Well, that’ true only in part. There is such a thing as healthy fat, and Omega 3 and Omega 6 are two of them!

This particular fat is very helpful in suppressing inflammation; it also plays an important role in keeping your heart and your brain healthy. Here’s a neat fact: most of the tissue in your heart and your brain are made up on omega 3 fats. Oh, yeah healthy fats here we come!

About Flax Seeds

This seed is small and is anywhere from light brown to dark brown in color with a smooth-like shell texture, very much resembling that of a sesame seed.

It is best to use grounded flax seeds (you can do this in a coffee grinder) because eating whole seeds are often small enough to pass through the digestive tract without being broken down - therefore you don’t receive as many benefits as you can.

So, to get the most out of your flax seeds grind them up or use flax seed – both are great options.

Flax Seeds and Omega 3 Benefits

Flax seeds are very rich in omega 3 fatty acids, type ALA, alpha-linolenic acid – which is the vegetarian source of essential fatty acids. Omega 3 is probably one of the most important fats for your health. They are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and for their role in the prevention of degenerative diseases such as: Alzheimer’s, heart disease etc…

Omega 3 fats are found in every cell membrane in your body with two of their most crucial roles being to boost heart and brain health. Interestingly, most of the tissue in the brain is comprised of omega 3 fats.

Here are some of the health benefits that omega 3 has been shown to offer:

  • Improved brain function
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Stronger immune system

Specific Health Benefits of Flax Seeds

Flax is high in both soluble and insoluble fiber. Just one ounce provides 32%of the USDA’s recommended daily requirement. The flax promotes regular bowel movements due to its high insoluble fiber content. If you up your intake of fiber be sure to drink at least eight glass of water daily, eating more fiber without adequate liquids can actually can constipation because there are not enough fluids to more it through.

The omega 3 in flax fights inflammation. Most health experts recommend eating foods high in omega 3 for illnesses in the joints and pain associated with arthritis. Flax seeds are a good natural way to get your essential fatty acids.

Lignans are phytoestrogens which are compounds found in plants that have weak estrogen activity. This is one of the reasons why a vegetarian diet is linked with a lower risk in breast cancer – they help to balance the hormonal ups and downs.

Are Flax Seeds the Best Source of Omega 3’s?

While flax does contain omega 3 – they are rich in alpha linolenic acid (ALA) which is the vegetarian source of omega 3, also known as the precursor to the fish oil forms: EPA and DHA. ALA does provide a good source of essential fatty acids all on its own, but also, once consumed it can be converted into EPA and DHA by the body, providing the right enzymes are there to do the job.

Now, research points out that EPA and DHA provide more omega 3 benefits than ALA. Although, vegetarian forms are good, EPA and DHA (found is sea food) pack more omega 3 in their punch.

That doesn’t mean that vegetarian forms of omega 3 fats such as flax seed are not beneficial – no not true. ALA still provides omega 3 benefits just not to the extent EPA and DHA does. However, if you are a vegetarian, flax seeds are an excellent source of health essential fatty acids.

Flax Seed Smoothies

Smoothies are a great way to utilize your flax oil. All you do is, add a tablespoon to your blender and you’ll never know it’s in there. Throwing flax powder of oil into your smoothies will take it up a notch with omega 3 power!

The "sky's the limit" - have fun with it!

Check out our Flax Seed Smoothie Recipes

Selection, Storage and Ways to Use Flax Seeds

Selection – you can purchase your seeds already ground up or in the whole form. The grounded flax will be convenient, however the whole seeds will have a longer shelf life. Usually both of these products come in air-tight bags or containers which are sufficient enough to store them in.

Storage – they are very easy to store, for grounded or whole flax seeds, keep them dry in an air-tight container. If you’re buying grounded seeds it’s best to buy them in a vacuum sealed package because if exposed to air for long periods of time they will oxidize quicker. If stored properly, they will keep for several months. For flax oil, is easy to store, however it is perishable and you will want to buy the bottles that have been previously refrigerated.

Ways to Use for whole flax seeds, a lot of people will sprinkle them on top of salads, oatmeal or cereal. Grounded flax is often used in yogurts – just stir in a ½ tablespoon, grounded flax is also commonly used in smoothies. Flax oil is one of the easiest ones to use, it can go in: smoothies, yogurt, cereal, you name it. , with one exception, do not cook with flax oil, use only with room temperature to cold foods.

What we Recommend

Fresh Flax Oil

For Flax Oil we recommend the Barlean’s Brand 100% organic flax oil. This product is easy to store with the best easy to keep clean cap.

Mom’s love this cap, easy to use, easy to pour and easy to clean.

Flax Powder

For Raw Organic Flax Powder from Navitas Naturals.

Navitas Naturals is an excellent source.Their superfood selection is outstanding, with all their products being certified organic starting at A and ending at Z.

Their flax powder comes in a vacuum sealed bag that is easily stored.

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