With as little as a tablespoon of golden or brown flax per day, you can improve your immune function, lower cholesterol, prevent tumours, reduce tumour growth, prevent constipation, lose weight, lower your risk of a heart attack, heart disease, stroke, and cancer, regulate your menstrual cycle, and increase fertility. That’s quite a long list!!
Flax seeds are the perfect addition to any plant-based diet. We’ve been cultivating these small but mighty seeds since the dawn of civilization, and with so many health applications for them, it’s not hard to see why!
A typical serving size of flax seeds is one tablespoon, or about 10 grams. In this tablespoon, you can find approximately 1.9g of protein, 2.7g of fibre, 2,281mg of Omega-3 fatty acids, 30mg of lignans, and a bunch of vitamins: B1, B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium.
Non-meat eaters will be happy to hear that the protein found in flax seeds is an excellent plant-based alternative to animal protein! Numerous lab and animal studies have shown that these acids helped to improve immune function, lower cholesterol, and prevent tumours.
Now let’s talk about everyone’s favourite topic… fibre! It might not be all that glamorous, but your body will thank you. Flax contains two types of dietary fibre – soluble (20-40%) and insoluble (60-80%). We all know that it helps to prevent constipation, but did you know that it also helps to regulate blood sugar, lower cholesterol, and can help those with IBS or diverticulitis? If weight loss is a part of your healthy living goals, fibre can help with that too! The soluble fibre content slows down digestion and triggers a whole host of hormones that give you a feeling of fullness.
Omega-3 fatty acids
For those who don’t eat fish, flax is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Flax seeds are a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is one of the two essential fatty acids that you have to get from the food you eat, because your body doesn’t produce them. Animal studies have shown that the ALA in flax seeds prevented cholesterol from being deposited in the blood vessels of the heart, reduced inflammation in the arteries, and reduced tumour growth. Don’t worry – human studies found similar results! Those who ate more ALA had a lower risk of a heart attack, heart disease, and stroke than those who didn’t.
Ok, so what are Lignans? Lignans are plant compounds that have antioxidant and estrogen properties, both of which can help lower the risk of cancer and improve overall health. Believe it or not, flax seeds contain up to 800x more lignans than other plant foods! Studies show that those who eat flax seeds have a lower risk of breast cancer – particularly postmenopausal women.
Pre-menopausal women can absolutely benefit as well. Flax seeds are a great way to regulate and lengthen the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. One study showed that eating one tablespoon of flax per day had the ability to lengthen the luteal phase by an entire day! In addition, none of the participants had anovulatory cycles, which are a common cause of infertility.
Men can also experience some amazing benefits from flax. In a small study of 15 men, those given 3 tablespoons of flax per day while following a low-fat diet showed reduced levels of a prostate cancer marker.
Although it’s not confirmed, flax seeds have appeared to have the potential to prevent colon and skin cancers in laboratory and animal studies.
Flax up your life!
Okay, I know that was cheesy, but I'm talking about flax and I had to make this a little more interesting.
So, here's how you can get a little more flax into your body. First, make sure your flax is ground. Although your body can still put whole seeds to use, eating them ground greatly increases the amount of goodness your body can absorb.
Here are some great ways to incorporate flax seeds into your diet:
- Add flaxseed oil to your water
- Use flaxseed oil as a salad dressing
- Sprinkle ground flax seeds over your hot or cold breakfast cereal
- Mix them into your favourite yogurt
- Add them into cookie, muffin, bread, or other batters. Flax and water can be used as an egg substitute!
- If you eat meat, incorporate them into meat patties
If the idea of tasting flaxseeds in your diet makes you cringe, try our apple pie bars! We can guarantee that you won’t be able to taste anything but the sweet North American classic.
To sum it all up, flaxseed is a superfood. With as little as a tablespoon of golden or brown flax per day, you can improve your immune function, lower cholesterol, prevent tumours, reduce tumour growth, prevent constipation, lose weight, lower your risk of a heart attack, heart disease, stroke, and cancer, regulate your menstrual cycle, and increase fertility.
Incorporating more flax into your diet doesn't have to be disgusting, either. The next time someone questions you for eating one of our delicious apple pie bars, tell them that you're just sticking to the superfood diet!