If you’re not eating flax every day, it’s time to start. While it may not seem like the sexiest superfood in its tiny boring brown package, its many nutritional superpowers will soon have you thinking otherwise. High in fibre, omega-3’s, and lignans, just two to four tablespoons of ground flax a day can offer huge boosts to your health.
Full of Fibre
Flax seeds are 28 per cent fibre. For one tablespoon of ground flaxseed, that’s about two grams of fibre. While that may not seem like much, an extra four to eight grams of fibre a day is quite a bit considering most of us fall chronically short of the recommended 25 to 35 daily grams. It seems that almost every day we learn about something else fibre is good or essential for, including balancing blood sugar, keeping us feeling full for longer, regulating digestion, and helping us maintain a healthy weight.
Flax seeds are a quality plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acid and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Omega-3’s are essential fats because our bodies can’t make them; we have to get them through our diet. Studies have connected the anti-inflammatory effects of ALA to everything from supporting the immune system to protecting against dementia to helping reduce the risk of cancer.
Loaded with Lignans
Flax seeds are rich in lignans, a group of chemical compounds that are high in antioxidants and touted for their anti-estrogenic effects. By balancing hormonal levels and protecting the body from harmful xenoestrogens, lignans can help put a pause on pesky PMS and lower the risk and progression of ovarian and breast cancers.
Pass the Flaxseed, Please
Considering that such a small amount is needed to reap the benefits, getting enough flaxseed in your diet is easy to do. Its flavour is light and nutty, which makes it quite pleasant to eat. There are no flax-based recipes you need to learn, it’s more about how you can add it to what you’re already eating to make those foods even healthier:
Add a tablespoon to hot cereals, such as steel cut oats.
Blend ground flax into your salad dressing, sauces, and soups. Because of its high soluble fibre content, it has a thickening effect in liquid.
Mix it in a serving of cooked whole grains, like quinoa and brown rice.
Use it to help bind your bean burgers.
As flax is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, grind the whole seeds right before use or store ground flax in the freezer to preserve its freshness. And remember, flax is high in fibre, so start small, increase the amount you eat slowly, and drink plenty of water.