- 10 Health Benefits of Flaxseed, According to a Nutritionist
- Flaxseed is chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids
- As well as fiber, protein, and more
- Flaxseed is high in potent antioxidants too
- Flaxseed is good for your heart in more ways than one
- Flaxseed fiber aids digestion
- Flaxseed may help lower cancer risk
- Flaxseed might curb diabetes risk
- Flaxseed could give you more supple skin
- Flaxseed may be helpful for weight loss
- Flaxseed might even improve hot flashes
- How to max out the benefits of flaxseed
- 1. Smoothie Them Up
- 2. Topped on Oatmeal
- 3. Baked in
- 4. Overnight Oats
- 5. Added to Granola
- 6. As an Egg Substitute
- 7. Made Into Breadcrumbs
- 8. Roasted and Sprinkled on Salads
- 9. Using Milled Flaxseed Flour
- 10. On toast
- How healthful is flaxseed?
- Summit Medical Group Web Site
- Benefits of Flaxseeds
- What are flaxseeds?
- Taste profile
- How it’s grown
- Types of flaxseeds
- What is flaxseed oil?
- How to use flaxseeds
- Buying and storing flaxseeds
- How to cook with It
- Recipes ideas
- Nutritional profile per serving
- Health benefits of flaxseeds
- How to make a flax egg
- Flax Egg Recipe
- 18 Interesting Benefits of Flaxseed
- What is Flaxseed?
- Flaxseed Nutritional Facts
- Health Benefits of Flaxseed
- High Fiber Content
- Anticancer Potential
- Prevents Heart Diseases
- Helps Manage Diabetes
- Reduces Cholesterol
- Skin Care
- Hair Care
- Rich in Vitamins
- Good Source of Protein
- Rich in Omega 3’s & Fights Inflammation
- Weight loss
- Blood Pressure
- Boosts Immunity
- Reduces Menopausal Symptoms
- Reduces Ovarian Dysfunction
- Reduces Dry Eye
- Chia Seeds vs Flax Seeds
- Side Effects
10 Health Benefits of Flaxseed, According to a Nutritionist
It’s no wonder that the small, edible seeds of the flax plant (which is one of the oldest crops in the world!) have gained superfood status: These tiny bundles of nutrients supply a wealth of health benefits. But to take full advantage of those perks, there’s a “right” way to eat them. Here’s everything you need to know about flaxseed.
Flaxseed is chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids
Flaxseed contains a plant-based type of omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, which has been tied to improved circulation and anti-inflammatory effects. Research shows that these fats may also help fight osteoporosis by reducing the risk of bone fractures, and offer modest protection against type 2 diabetes.
As well as fiber, protein, and more
A two tablespoon portion of flaxseeds contains 6 grams of fiber (about a quarter of the recommended amount), 4-5 grams of plant protein, and 10% to 20% of the daily target for several nutrients, including magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, and thiamin. Magnesium helps improve mood and sleep, while manganese plays a role in collagen production and promotes skin and bone health. Phosphorus helps form cell structures and supports bone health. Copper is involved with energy and collagen production, and is needed to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body. Thiamin also plays a role in energy production, and helps support the nervous system as well.
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Flaxseed is high in potent antioxidants too
Flaxseed is a top source of particularly health-protective antioxidants called polyphenols. These antioxidants are thought to protect against heart disease and cancer, as well as cell-damaging oxidative stress—which means they may help fend off premature aging and neurodegenerative diseases (like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s) too.
Flaxseed is good for your heart in more ways than one
The good fats in flaxseed help reduce blood pressure, stave off artery hardening, lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, and prevent strokes. One study in people with high cholesterol found that the consumption of three tablespoons of flaxseed powder daily for three months reduced “bad” LDL cholesterol by almost 20%, and lowered total cholesterol by more than 15%.
Flaxseed fiber aids digestion
Flaxseed contains both soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps soften stool, so it can pass through the GI tracts and be eliminated more easily. Insoluble fiber helps stimulate the digestive system to move waste through the gut and promote bowel regularity. The two types of fiber work together to support digestive health.
RELATED: 10 Healthy Chia Seed Recipes
Flaxseed may help lower cancer risk
Flaxseed has been shown to prevent the development of tumors, particularly cancers of the breast, prostate, and colon. That may be because flax is rich in lignans. These plant compounds are thought to have antiangiogenic properties, which means they may they stop tumors from forming new blood vessels and growing. One study involving more than 6,000 women, found that those who regularly consumed flaxseed were 18% less likely to develop breast cancer.
Flaxseed might curb diabetes risk
The lignans in flaxseed are also linked to improved levels of HA1C, a measure of average blood sugar over three months. The seeds may also help curb diabetes risk in other ways, too. In one small study, scientists gave people 0g, 13g, or 26g of flaxseed daily for 12 weeks.The participants all had prediabetes, and included obese men and post-menopausal overweight women. The people in the group who consumed 13g of flaxseed a day had lower blood glucose and insulin levels, and improved insulin sensitivity at the end of the study period.
Flaxseed could give you more supple skin
One small study found that giving women flaxseed oil led to significant decreases in skin sensitivity, and reduced skin roughness, and scaling, all while improving skin hydration and smoothness.
RELATED: The Health Benefits of Turmeric a Nutritionist Wants You to Know
Flaxseed may be helpful for weight loss
Most of the soluble fiber in flaxseeds is called mucilage. This fiber combines with water to form a gel-like consistency that slows the emptying of the stomach; that leads to increased feelings of fullness, and delays the return of hunger. A meta-analysis of 45 studies concluded that the consumption of flaxseed (particularly 30 grams a day, or about two tablespoons) resulted in reductions in both body weight and waist measurement.
Flaxseed might even improve hot flashes
The research is mixed, but some studies suggest flaxseed can help with this symptom of perimenopause. One study found that women who consumed 20 grams of crushed flaxseed twice a day, mixed into cereal, juice, or yogurt, had half as many hot flashes as they did before. The intensity of their hot flashes dropped too, by more than 50%.
How to max out the benefits of flaxseed
The first thing to know is that it’s best to eat flaxseed after it’s been crushed or preferably ground. That’s because whole flaxseed is likely to pass through your intestines undigested. In other words, the healthful fats and other nutrients won’t be absorbed into your bloodstream.
But there’s more: Because the oils in flax are delicate, they can begin to break down when exposed to air and light. So to take full advantage of their perks, grind the seeds up in a coffee grinder right before you eat them.
Look for golden or brown whole flaxseeds at the grocery store (most mainstream markets sell them) or online. If you can find sprouted flaxseed, even better. Sprouting is a process that improves the digestibility of seeds, and makes their nutrients more readily available.
At home, store the whole flaxseed in a cool, dark place. If you’ve got extra ground flaxseed, put it in the freezer to better preserve the nutrients.
It’s easy to sprinkle ground flaxseed on oatmeal, salads, or cooked veggies. But it can also be baked. Lower oven temperatures do not appear to substantially reduce the amount of ALA, which makes flaxseed a terrific addition to muffins, cookies, brownies, and sweet breads, like pumpkin or zucchini. You can also add ground flaxseeds to smoothies, energy balls, and healthy pancakes, too. Or use them as a plant-based substitute in many baked goods recipes that call for egg. Simply replace each egg with one tablespoon of flaxseed and three tablespoons of water.
Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, is Health’s contributing nutrition editor, a New York Times best-selling author, and a private practice performance nutritionist who has consulted for five professional sports teams.
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Flaxseeds are a plant-based protein that also provide a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Recently, they’ve become super popular thanks to their versatility. They can be added to virtually any type of meal to increase its nutritional benefit. Dietitians have suggested that consuming two tablespoons of flaxseed daily will lead to improved digestive health, lowered blood sugar and blood cholesterol, and will help weight management by causing you to feel full for longer.
There are many unconventional ways to add a daily dose of flaxseed to your meal without having to reconstruct your food habits or change your daily diet. Start with small healthy additions to your diet and slowly watch your palate change. Here’s how to eat flaxseeds 10 creative ways:
1. Smoothie Them Up
One or two tablespoons of ground flaxseeds can easily be added to your morning smoothie with greens, berries, or your favorite smoothie ingredients. The seeds instantly become blended into all other fruits and become unrecognizable, leaving you with a heart-healthy start to your day.
2. Topped on Oatmeal
Flaxseeds also make a great addition to a big bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. Ground and whole flaxseeds both stir in well with unrefined, unprocessed oats. For those gluten-free eaters, flaxseeds can be used as an oat substitute also. Flax oatmeal becomes a great source of protein and fiber, and if you like to top your oats with berries, that only adds colorful antioxidants to your breakfast menu.
3. Baked in
Ground flaxseeds can be baked into muffins, breads, and cookies. When stirring in the flour mixture, throw in a few tablespoons of flaxseeds and let them bake in with all other ingredients. Or if you prefer to stick to the recipe, use this easy blueberry flaxseed muffin recipe. Your guests will never know that muffin they just ate had essential omega-3’s in it.
4. Overnight Oats
Similar to chia seeds, flax seeds have a flavor that’s only enhanced when left to be absorbed in milk for an extended period of time. Overnight oats are a simple breakfast for your morning, requiring no work and no hassle. Before you go to bed, mix 2 tablespoons of chia seeds and 2 tablespoons of flax seeds with 1 cup of your favorite milk or milk substitute (cashew milk is my personal preference) and leave them to soak overnight.
In the morning, you can grab the oats and go, or if you’d like to step it up one level you can cut up some fruit as a topping, stir in a nut butter, or add a sweetener of your choice (honey and cinnamon are a few good examples). Either way you prefer your overnight oats, you’re left with a high protein, high fiber start to your day.
5. Added to Granola
Making homemade granola is an underrated skill. It’s a cheaper, healthier alternative to store-bought granola. Buy oats, some raisins, and nuts and seeds in the bulk food section of your grocery store, and throw them together to deliver a great topping for sprinkling on yogurts (or use this recipe). Including whole flaxseeds in the granola adds fiber to the granola.
6. As an Egg Substitute
Another little known fact about flaxseeds are their ability to be substituted as an egg in baked goods. The basic flax-egg recipe is 1 tablespoon of finely ground flaxseed powder (if you have whole flaxseed, use a coffee grinder to grind the seeds into a powder) to 3 tablespoons of water, which replaces one egg. Whisk the flax and water mixture until it becomes gelatinous and then it can be easily substituted for an egg in any baked good.
7. Made Into Breadcrumbs
Breadcrumbs are a staple food commonly found in a variety of American recipes: breaded chicken, meatloaf, soups, and even atop salads. All you need is to, again, crush whole flaxseeds into a fine powder and use in place of any recipe calling for breadcrumbs. For a dish serving six to eight people, use 5-7 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds. They will bind to the meat product as easily as breadcrumbs, and won’t have you missing that crunchy taste.
8. Roasted and Sprinkled on Salads
Most people enjoy salads with an added crunch factor: usually a crouton. But who says you can’t add flaxseeds? For extra flavor and crunch, try roasting the whole or ground seeds by placing them in a skillet over medium heat and letting them sit for five minutes, while stirring frequently. If you don’t like croutons on your salads, try incorporating some flaxseed oil into your salad dressings as an alternative to creamy, high-fat dressings.
9. Using Milled Flaxseed Flour
As an alternative to whole or ground, flaxseeds are also milled and sold in the form of flour. Most local grocery or health food stores should sell flax flour or flax meal with other flour substitutes; however, you can make it at home by simply grinding up whole flaxseeds to a fine powder. Flax flour can be used in a direct 1:1 ratio with white and wheat flours, or they can be used together.
When used in baking recipes, flaxseed flour does tend to make foods chewier and flatter, but also serves as not only a great gluten-free alternative to regular flour, but also delivers a great way to eat flaxseeds without tasting them. Flaxseed flour can be used in pancakes, muffins, cakes, or virtually any baked good that calls for flour.
10. On toast
Flaxseeds make a great addition to your daily slice of breakfast toast. You can start by spreading any nut butter of your choice on a slice of whole or multi-grain toast. Sprinkling 2 tablespoons of flaxseeds to top the toast will produce a delicious protein and fiber packed start to your day. And if you’re feeling super creative, try slicing some bananas on top of the toast to top it off, making the seeds virtually untasteable.
When you start eating two tablespoons of flaxseeds a day, it becomes easier to buy the seeds in bulk. Although flaxseeds tend to last a long time, when they’re left exposed to air they dry out much faster. I would suggest storing them in an airtight, resealable container. As soon as you buy the bags of flaxseeds, transfer them to a plastic container or mason jar with a lid for easy access, extended shelf life, and cleaner storage.
How healthful is flaxseed?
Share on PinterestThe omega-3 in flaxseed may help prevent certain types of cancer cell from developing.
Flaxseed contains some nutrients that may have various health benefits.
Like other plant-based foods, flaxseed is rich in antioxidants. These can help prevent disease by removing molecules called free radicals from the body.
Free radicals occur as a result of natural processes and environmental pressures. If there are too many free radicals in the body, oxidative stress can develop, leading to cell damage and disease. Antioxidants help remove free radicals from the body.
Flaxseed is a good source of lignans, which appear to have antioxidant properties.
According to some scientists, flaxseed may be over 800 times richer in lignans than most other foods.
The following sections discuss the possible health benefits of flaxseed in more detail.
Reducing the risk of cancer
Flaxseed contains omega-3 fatty acids. Research suggests that these may help prevent different types of cancer cells from growing.
Flaxseed also contains lignans, which are antioxidants that may slow tumor growth by preventing them from forming new blood vessels.
One 2013 survey found a lower incidence of breast cancer among females who consumed flaxseed regularly.
Also, in 2018, the authors of a review concluded that flaxseed may help reduce the risk of breast cancer after menopause.
Lignans are a type of phytoestrogen, which is a plant-based nutrient that acts in a similar way to estrogen. There has been some concern that phytoestrogens may increase the risk of breast cancer, but recent research suggests that they may play a protective role.
How does diet affect cancer risk? Find out here.
Improving cholesterol and heart health
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommend eating more fiber and omega-3s to boost heart health. Lignans, too, may help prevent cardiovascular disease. Flaxseed contains all of these nutrients.
Flaxseed also contains phytosterols. Phytosterols have a similar structure to cholesterol, but they help prevent the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines.
Consuming phytosterols may therefore help reduce levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad,” cholesterol in the body.
In 2010, researchers looked at the effect of flaxseed on the cholesterol levels of males with moderately high cholesterol. Participants took either a 20 milligram (mg) capsule containing lignans, a 100 mg capsule, or a placebo for 12 weeks.
Cholesterol levels fell after taking lignans, especially in those who took the 100 mg capsules.
The researchers behind a 2012 study involving 17 people found that consuming flaxseed lowered LDL cholesterol levels and helped the body remove fat, although they note that the overall diet may also play a role. The team suggested that dietary flaxseed may be useful for lowering cholesterol levels.
Some scientists have also linked omega-3 oils, which are usually present in oily fish, to reductions in cardiovascular risk. Researchers have suggested that flaxseed could offer an alternative to marine sources of omega 3. This could make it a useful resource for people who follow a plant-based diet.
Learn more about soluble and insoluble fiber here.
Easing the symptoms of arthritis
According to the Arthritis Foundation, flaxseed may help reduce joint pain and stiffness. Some people take it for rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Raynaud’s phenomenon.
They add that there is a lack of evidence to support its use for this purpose, but they say that the ALA in flaxseed may help reduce inflammation.
People can take it:
- ground (one tablespoon per day)
- as an oil (one to three tablespoons per day)
- in capsules (1,300–3,000 mg per day)
What is the anti-inflammatory diet? Find out here.
Reducing hot flashes
In 2007, a team of scientists published results suggesting that flaxseed may help reduce the incidence or severity of hot flashes in women not using estrogen therapy during menopause.
In 2012, however, further research by the same team concluded that flaxseed did not, in fact, make any difference.
Improving blood sugar
Lignans and other phytoestrogens may help reduce the risk of chronic conditions such as diabetes.
In 2013, scientists gave 25 people 0 g, 13 g, or 26 g of flaxseed every day for 12 weeks. The participants had prediabetes and were either males with obesity or overweight or females who had undergone menopause.
The 13 g dosage appeared to lower glucose and insulin levels and improve insulin sensitivity, but the other dosages did not have this effect.
Also, a 2016 rodent study suggested that the compounds in flaxseed may help reduce the incidence of type 1 diabetes and delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. These results may not be applicable to humans, however.
The same year, 99 people with prediabetes took 40 g or 20 g of flaxseed or no flaxseed and no placebo each day for 12 weeks. Consuming flaxseed appeared to reduce blood pressure, but it did not improve blood sugar levels or insulin resistance.
The benefits of flaxseed on the symptoms of diabetes remain unclear.
Which foods can lower blood sugar?
Flaxseed is a good source of insoluble fiber, which does not dissolve in water, instead remaining in the digestive tract after eating. There, it absorbs water and adds bulk, which may help promote regularity.
However, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) say that there is little evidence to suggest that flaxseed helps reduce constipation.
The NCCIH add that consuming flaxseed with too little water can worsen constipation and may lead to an intestinal blockage.
Also, too much flaxseed or flaxseed oil can cause diarrhea.
Which foods can help relieve constipation? Learn more here.
Reducing the impact of radiation
In 2013, scientists found evidence to suggest that dietary lignans from flaxseed helped mice recover from radiation exposure.
The mice that consumed lignans had lower levels of inflammation, injury, oxidative damage, and fibrosis, as well as a better survival rate, compared with those that did not.
If further tests in humans show similar results, lignans from flaxseed could help treat lung issues following exposure to radiation or radiation therapy.
The NCCIH are currently funding studies to find out whether or not the nutrients in flaxseed can help with:
- ovarian cancer
- cardiovascular disease
- metabolic syndrome
Uses of flaxseed in Ayurvedic medicine include:
- promoting overall health
- restoring the skin’s pH balance
- preventing chronic conditions, such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, and arthritis
- providing protection from cancer
Summit Medical Group Web Site
Benefits of Flaxseeds
By Lynn Grieger, RD, CDE, CPT for Summit Medical Group
Flaxseeds are a tiny, yet nutrient-packed food that contribute several important health benefits. Flaxseeds are available whole or ground, and they are also incorporated into many commercially prepared foods such as breakfast cereals, crackers, and bread. Flaxseeds are an excellent source of omega-3 essential fatty acids and antioxidants, and contain important amounts of fiber, vitamin B1, and copper, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium. 1
Flaxseeds contain more lignans, a type of antioxidant found in some types of fiber, than any other type of food. Flaxseeds contain about 7 times the amount of lignans as sesame seeds, 338 times the amount as sunflower seeds, 475 times the amount as cashews, and 3200 times the amount as peanuts. 1 Lignans help decrease inflammation associated with cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, and some types of cancer, with research focusing primarily on breast, prostate and colon cancer. 1,2
Flaxseeds contain high amounts of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which our body converts into EPA and DHA, the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil. ALA may have some of the same benefits as fish oil in reducing inflammation that is a factor in several types of chronic disease including cardiovascular disease and arthritis. 3
Flaxseeds are high in fiber, with 4 grams of fiber per 2 tablespoons of whole or ground flaxseeds. The soluble fiber in flaxseeds helps slow down the emptying of the stomach into the small intestine, increasing the absorption of nutrients. This type of fiber also decreases risk of cardiovascular disease by increasing the amount of HDL, the ‘good’ type of cholesterol. 1
Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil have a pleasant nutty flavor that is easily incorporated into a variety of foods. Whole flaxseeds have a very tough outer shell, too tough for our teeth to break down. Whole flaxseeds are a good source of fiber but the beneficial ALA content is not available to be absorbed. Flaxseed oil contains the beneficial ALA, but no fiber or lignans. 1
To gain all the health benefits in flaxseeds, purchase ground flaxseed, or grind your own flaxseed using a clean coffee grinder. Store whole flaxseeds in an airtight container in a cool, dark spot for 6-12 months. Ground flaxseeds must be stored in the refrigerator or freezer to prevent the fat from becoming rancid, and should be consumed within 2-4 months. 1
Grinding and typical oven temperatures used in baking do not significantly decrease the amount of ALA in flaxseeds. Adding ground flaxseeds to bread and muffins, or purchasing commercially baked bread with added ground flaxseeds, increases the antioxidant content of the bread and lowers the glycemic index. 1
Flaxseed oil is easily destroyed by heat, light and oxygen. Look for flaxseed oil made from fresh pressed seeds that is bottled in dark containers. Store in the refrigerator to prevent rancidity and use only on cold foods or add to foods after cooking since it has a low smoke point. 3
Simple ways to add 1-2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds to your foods each day:
- Sprinkle on cold or hot cereal
- Stir into yogurt
- Add to the dry ingredients in muffins and bread
- Mix into casseroles
- Add to smoothies or fruit/vegetable juice blends
- Stir into thick soups like lentil soup or chili
- Mix into salad dressings or sprinkle on vegetable salads
Due to the fiber content, start with 1-2 teaspoons of ground or whole flaxseeds per day to avoid gas, bloating, or constipation. Drink 1-2 glasses of water with every meal that contains whole or ground flaxseeds. Gradually increase the amount of whole or ground flaxseeds over several weeks to improve tolerance.
Talk with your healthcare provider before adding flaxseeds to your diet as they may decrease the absorption of some medications and may interfere with fish oil, omega-3 supplements, or anticoagulant medications. 4
1. Flaxseeds. The World’s Healthiest Foods. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=81 accessed 5-15- 16
It’s just a shiny little seed, so how can something so small be so nutritious? Once you learn all the amazing ways flaxseed benefits heart health, lowers cholesterol levels, and even plays a part in regulating blood sugar, you’ll be using it every chance you get.
Looks certainly be deceiving. This tiny little member of the seed family is actually a powerful superfood with enormous health benefits. As long as it’s ground-up before you eat it, flaxseed is incredibly easy to incorporate into your daily regimen.
I’ll show you some great tips for getting more of this beneficial food into your meals, and explain why everyone needs more flaxseed in their life.
What are flaxseeds?
Flax seeds, also known as linseeds, are the seeds of the flax plant. Every part of the flax plant has its use. Flax fibers are used to make linen and rope. Flax seeds are also used to make linseed oil, used in woodworking and carpentry.
As far back as 30,000 years ago, flax has been cultivated and grown as a steady crop in Egypt, Switzerland, Syria, and China. And as if that’s not enough, this wondrous little seed scores huge in the health department, too.
Like many seeds, flaxseeds have a slightly mild, nutty flavor so they’re ideal for adding to both sweet and savory foods. In case you’re wondering, children and picky eaters may not notice a little flaxseed meal when it’s added to their favorite foods in small amounts.
How it’s grown
Only the sturdiest and most tenacious plant could last thousands of years. Linum usitatissimum, Latin for “the most useful kind of flax,” is the variety of flax that’s cultivated for seeds. It grows in huge fields and it likes full-sun, cooler climates with well-drained soil.
When the seed pods swell and turn brown after blooming, the seeds are harvested. Canada supplies the majority of the brown flax seeds, while North America grows the golden variety.
Types of flaxseeds
There are two basic types of flax seeds, brown and golden, both found in health food and specialty stores. Most people find that the dark brown seeds have a somewhat stronger flavor than the golden seeds. Both are good sources of alpha-linolenic acid, although the dark seeds are slightly higher in ALA than the golden variety.
What is flaxseed oil?
For a more concentrated dose of all the benefits flaxseed has to offer, many people rely on flaxseed oil, which is extracted oil from the seed. Since it’s an oil, it’s richer than ground flaxseed, but it’s a wonderful supplement on its own.
One teaspoon of flaxseed oil contains 40 calories. Not only can flaxseed oil be consumed, but it can be used directly on the skin to balance out minor skin problems, as well.
How to use flaxseeds
Since whole flax seeds aren’t able to be fully digested by the body, they have to be ground up before you eat them. The best way to do this is in a small coffee grinder, spice mill, or even a mortar and pestle. Grind just what you need, though, because ground meal spoils quickly.
Buying and storing flaxseeds
Because flaxseed, flaxseed meal, and flaxseed oil are all light-sensitive and can degrade with prolonged exposure to light, make sure you look for opaque packaging in the products you buy and read the recommended “use by” dates on the labels carefully.
Thankfully, whole flax seeds can keep at room temperature for up to a year, but once they’re ground, the flaxseed meal should be used as soon as possible. Flaxseed oil can also go rancid if not used efficiently. Try to purchase smaller amounts of oil and pre-ground meal, and use what you grind in a short amount of time.
How to cook with It
- Thickener in recipes: Using flax is a great way to naturally replace gluten-containing grains in recipes, especially baked ones; flax is usually easily metabolized.
- Egg substitute: That’s right! You can replace eggs in a recipe using finely ground flax seed. Use one tablespoon of flax seeds and three tablespoons of water, combined, to replace one egg. The seeds have a gelatinous quality that emulsifies much the way an egg would.
- Smoothies: For a morning jumpstart, add a tablespoon or two of ground flaxseed meal into a smoothie or shake. Your day just got a little healthier!
- Baking: Ideal for cookies, muffins, pancakes, and quick breads: If you love to bake, coarsely ground flaxseeds can be added to any of these to boost texture and nutrition.
- Salads: Drizzle some flaxseed oil over roasted vegetables, or add the chopped seeds as a last-minute topping. If you like, switch out olive oil and make a vinaigrette out of flaxseed oil.
- Snacks: Flaxseed oil can be sprinkled on popcorn or the ground meal can be mixed with herbs and spices and used to make your own crackers or baked chips.
- Oatmeal: With flaxseed meal, oats just got a lot smarter. Shake overcooked oatmeal or pudding made of soaked chia seeds with a little cinnamon and brown sugar.
- Granola and breakfast bars: If you make your own energy bars or granola, add ground flax meal to the recipe.
Hint: because flaxseed oil has such a low smoking point, (225) avoid cooking with it. However, it does make a wonderful neutral oil for seasoning cast iron pans.
If you’re on a low carb, Whole30, or Paleo specific diet, incorporating the healthy fats that seeds offer into your diet is especially important. Flax seeds and flaxseed oil are highly recommended for their low carb properties and their high quantities of essential fatty acids, edging out even chia seeds, which have slightly lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
Furthermore, those following strict plant-based diets will benefit from flaxseed oil, as it favorably compares to fish oil in terms of omega-3s.
Nutritional profile per serving
Eating two tablespoons of ground flax seed a day will provide about 20 percent to 25 percent of your fiber needs. (Most adults should aim to consume between 25–40 grams of fiber a day.)
- 3.6 g of plant-based omega-3s
- 75 calories
- 2.6 grams of protein
- 4 grams of carbohydrates (mostly fiber)
- 6 grams of fat
Health benefits of flaxseeds
- Omega-3 essential fatty acids, known as the “good” fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. Research indicates that flaxseed could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer, like prostate cancer and breast cancer. Besides that, essential fatty acids keep skin, nails, and hair shiny and healthy.
- Lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities, promoting hormonal balance. Flaxseed is the highest source of lignans in the plant world; it contains 75 to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods. The lignans in flaxseeds may help both menopausal and postmenopausal women alike.
- Fiber. Flaxseed contains both the soluble fiber and insoluble fiber, which can help with regulating blood sugar, promoting weight loss and preventing constipation. Soluble fiber can also help reduce LDL cholesterol levels.
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids such as alpha-linolenic acid. The alpha-linolenic acid and related chemicals in flaxseed oil seem to have anti-inflammatory properties. That is why flaxseed oil is considered useful for rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.
- Choline, which contributes to brain health and function.
How to make a flax egg
4.67 from 6 votes
Flax Egg Recipe
How to make flax eggs as a vegan substitute for eggs in baked goods. Prep Time5 mins Cook Time5 mins Total Time10 mins Course: Condiment Cuisine: American Servings: 1 egg Calories: 37kcal Author: Jessica Gavin
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
- 3 tablespoons water, (45ml)
- Combine ground flaxseeds with water in a small bowl.
- Allow the mixture to sit for 5 to 10 minutes before using. The consistency should be thick and viscous.
- Use immediately in the recipe.
Nutrition Facts Flax Egg Recipe Amount Per Serving Calories 37 Calories from Fat 18 % Daily Value* Fat 2g3% Sodium 4mg0% Potassium 56mg2% Carbohydrates 2g1% Fiber 1g4% Protein 1g2% Calcium 18mg2% Iron 0.4mg2% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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18 Interesting Benefits of Flaxseed
The powerful nutrients in flaxseeds can help fight many diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, inflammation, arthritis, allergies, asthma, and diabetes. Flaxseeds also help reduce the risk of various cancers and improve reproductive health in females. They also aid in maintaining healthy eyes, skin, and hair.
What is Flaxseed?
Flaxseeds are tiny, brown or golden-coloured seeds, which are also known as linseed. The health benefits of these seeds have made them a part of the traditional cuisines of Asia, America, and Africa. They can be eaten in their raw form, but are more beneficial when sprouted or grounded into a tasty meal. The body can absorb the nutrients from flaxseeds more easily when it is ground or sprouted. These seeds are used to make flaxseed oil, which is also very easy to digest.
Flaxseed Nutritional Facts
Flaxseeds are a great source of dietary fiber and plant-based protein. As per the USDA, flaxseeds contain zero cholesterol. They are rich in alpha-linolenic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, and lignans. Minerals present in these seeds include thiamine, manganese, and magnesium. They are also a rich source of vitamin C and B6, calcium, iron, potassium, and sodium.
Health Benefits of Flaxseed
There are many health benefits of flaxseed that can improve your health and the quality of your diet. Let us look at some of them in detail:
High Fiber Content
Flaxseed forms an essential part of many diet programmes since it keeps blood sugar levels in check. Due to the presence of fiber, it keeps the stomach full and avoids the intake of surplus calories through overeating.
Flaxseed oil comes from ripened flaxseeds that manufacturers have cold pressed to extract the oil. Photo Credit:
The Frontiers in Nutrition journal published a study in 2018 suggesting that flaxseeds may help to reduce the risk of breast cancer and might also reduce the tumor size. However, further clinical trials are still required to verify the benefits of flaxseed against breast cancer.
Flaxseeds have also been positively connected to a reduced risk of prostate cancer. Research showed that ground flax is very beneficial for men battling prostate cancer as it is rich in lignans.
Another research by Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, The University of Texas and many other medical universities claims that flaxseeds help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. The super nutrient that actually does all the work here is dietary lignan, which is abundantly found in flaxseeds.
Prevents Heart Diseases
Flaxseed is a good source flavone C-glycosides, according to “Phytochemicals and Phytopharmaceuticals”. These polyphenolic compounds inhibit lipid peroxidation, platelet aggregation, and capillary permeability and fragility, thus leading to a lower incidence of cardiovascular diseases.
A study by the University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia, USA suggests that flaxseeds are a good way to lower your risk of cardiovascular diseases. This is because of the presence of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), fiber, and lignans in them.
Helps Manage Diabetes
Flaxseed is a rich source of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. This property of flaxseed aids in maintaining normal blood sugar levels in people suffering from diabetes. A study published in the Nutrition Research (New York N.Y.,) journal says that the daily intake of flaxseed improves glycaemic control in obese men and women with pre-diabetes. Moreover, it also states that flaxseed consumption decreases glucose and insulin and improves insulin sensitivity as part of the habitual diet in obese individuals with pre-diabetes.
A study by the Department of Nutritional Sciences, Oklahoma State University, USA found that flaxseed is able to reduce the LDL cholesterol levels in postmenopausal women owing to the presence of omega-3 fatty acids and lignans in it.
The soluble fiber present in flaxseed also helps in maintaining proper gastrointestinal functions, and insoluble fiber plays a vital role in keeping the heart healthy by lowering serum LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
Flaxseed oil can heal inflamed skin areas in cases of acne, rosacea, and eczema. The topical application of this oil heals sunburns effectively.
Flaxseed oil can help brittle hair and nails and prevent them from splitting. It is also effective against irritating scalp conditions caused by eczema.
Rich in Vitamins
Flaxseed is rich in most B complex vitamins and vitamin E, as well as minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and iron. Vitamin E is essential for healthy skin and bones. Potassium maintains nerve health and iron is a vital component of red blood cells and many enzymes that affect our general metabolism.
Good Source of Protein
Flaxseed is a rich source of dietary proteins, having a high essential amino acid index, and providing most of the daily intake of proteins that our bodies need.
Rich in Omega 3’s & Fights Inflammation
Flaxseed is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, preceded only by fish oil. The omega-3 fatty acid is the most active agent that fights inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a leading cause of heart diseases, asthma, allergies, diabetes, and even certain cancers. Flaxseed has also been shown to reduce the rate of kidney inflammation in cases of nephritis.
Flaxseeds are 100% free of gluten, and therefore can be eaten by those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Although, it is important to note that every product that says it contains flaxseeds doesn’t automatically approve as gluten-free.
These seeds can also help in weight loss because they are rich in fiber and certain other healthy fats. They also help improve metabolism, lower the risk of digestive problems, and improve obesity.
As per the Hypertension journal, including flaxseeds in the diet is recommended for people suffering from high blood pressure. The omega 3 and fiber in this health food can lower blood pressure, and thereby prevent the risk of stroke, hypertension, and other heart ailments.
The presence of plant-based lignans, omega 3s, oils, and fiber in flaxseed help in improving the digestion of your body, by promoting lubrication and preventing constipation.
The alpha-linolenic acid and the lignans found in flaxseed boost the immune response in the body and prevent inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and an autoimmune disorder called lupus.
Reduces Menopausal Symptoms
Lignans, in flaxseed, can be used as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy due to their estrogenic properties, and thereby reduce the symptoms of menopause and arthritis in menopausal women.
Reduces Ovarian Dysfunction
In menstruating women, regular consumption of flaxseed is shown to inhibit cycle changes and a reduction in the ovarian dysfunction.
Reduces Dry Eye
Flaxseed consumption can reduce “dry eye” syndrome. Also, the omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of macular degeneration, an eye disease caused by damaged nerves in the eye.
Chia Seeds vs Flax Seeds
While there are many aspects where chia seeds and flax seeds share the same nutrition profile, there are places where they are quite the opposite of each other. Let us discuss them in detail below.
- The alpha-linolenic acid content in flax seeds greater than that of chia seeds.
- While flax seeds are a great source of plant-based lignans, chia seeds are not. Although chia seeds do contain other antioxidants.
- Chia seeds contain more fiber than flax seeds.
- Chia seeds are a rich source of calcium, while flaxseed is not.
Having noted the differences, one should also note that both serve their own unique benefits from their own unique nutrition profile, so saying that one is better than the other would not be right.
Consume ground flaxseed to enjoy all the benefits as whole seeds do not release their nutrients in the body effectively. Whole flaxseeds may cause the following due to their high fiber content:
- Stomach discomfort
- Loose stools
It can also lower your appetite in some cases and may result in abnormal hormonal changes when consumed in large quantities.
For now, you should just add some flaxseeds while making muffins and savour the tasty treat!