What is Flax Seed? Origins and Benefits.

Flax Seed

flax seed benefitsFlax seeds are harvested from the flax plant, and are known to be somewhat of a “superfood” due to their very high nutritious content. Flax seed is high in omega-3 fatty acids, lignans and fiber, while keeping a low calorie count.

Flax seed is commonly recommended for treating digestive problems and heart problems. Flax seed lowers “bad” cholesterol, and may help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Nutrition

Flax seeds are sometimes referred to as “wonder food” for their nutritious value. Not only because of the good nutrients in them, but because they are packed with those nutrients. In addition to healthy fiber, flax seeds contain a lot of Omega-3 fatty acids and lignans.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids: each tablespoon of flax seed contains about 1.8 grams of omega 3s. That’s equivalent to the amount of omega 3s in a 3.5 ounce piece of Pacific Herring!

Lignans: flax seed contains 75-800 times more lignans than any other plant food. Lignans are phytoestrogens – plant chemicals that mimic the hormone estrogen. They have antioxidant properties and are believed to play a huge role in cancer prevention and possibly treatment.

Benefits

Consuming flax seeds (or other foods high in omega-3s and lignans) is believed to have many health benefits. Flax seeds may provide some protection against breast, prostate, and colon cancer. In addition, some studies show that consuming flax seeds inhibits the growth of tumors and cancerous cells. Flax seeds are also known to normalize the heart beat, reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and reduce hardening (plaque) in the arteries, significantly lowering the risk of heart disease. The lignans in flax seeds also help improve blood sugar levels, providing benefits to diabetes patients.

Flax Seeds and Paleo

Flax seeds are clearly very beneficial. A small amount of those can give your health a huge boost, and luckily you only need about a tablespoon a day! Ground flax seed is a great substitute for flour in paleo-friendly breads and cakes. You can also blend them into a smoothie or use them to “bread” your chicken. Flax seed is versatile and generally flavorless, so you can incorporate it into many foods.

Where to Buy Flax Seed?

Flax seed can be found at most supermarkets and green supermarkets (like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s). I usually find mine in the regular supermarket in the baking isle, near “alternative” flours, like almond flour and coconut flour.

Flax seed can be “golden” or “brown” and the main difference is in appearance.

Flax seed meal

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