Flax seeds. You have probably heard of them, right? Have you ever tasted them? They are actually pretty good and can be eaten in a variety of ways. Flax seed was cultivated in Babylon as early as 3000 BC. In the 8th century, King Charlemagne believed so strongly in the health benefits of flax seed that he passed laws requiring his subjects to consume it. The Latin word for flax, Linum usitatissimum, actually means “the most useful.” Now, thirteen centuries later, some experts say we have scientific research backing up what the King suspected.
One of the unique characteristics of flax is the oil in the seed. Flax seed is over 40 percent oil. Like other vegetable oils, flax oil is a mixture of fatty acids, but it is the highest single source of a fatty acid called alpha linolenic acid or ALA.
ALA is a member of the omega-3 fatty acid family. They are essential fatty acids, which the body cannot make, but absolutely needs for normal growth and development. These fats must be supplied by diet. Hundreds of studies have shown that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids decrease risk of heart attacks, strokes, and abnormal heart rhythms.
They are a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B1, and manganese. They are also a good source of the minerals magnesium, phosphorus, and copper. In addition, flax seeds are concentrated in lignin phyto-nutrients.
Flax has long been valued for its health benefits. It helps in proper functioning of kidneys, lowers blood sugar and blood pressure, and helps with weight loss efforts. Flax seeds are known to help strengthen finger and toenails. They can even relieve the symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis. It is beneficial in the treatment of skin disorders like Eczema, Psoriasis, and Dandruff. Flax seed is useful in relieving constipation and Diarrhea. Flax seed builds immunity to keep good health. The alpha linolenic acid and the lignin’s in flax seeds promotes healthy functioning of the immune system and helps decrease inflammation in the body. Flax seeds can be used in a low carbohydrate diet and are an excellent food to prevent diabetes.
Some ways you can try to add flax seed to your diet is to include adding them in your yogurt, cottage cheese or applesauce. They add a little crunch and a lot of health benefits. Try some on your salad. If you have ever eaten sesame seeds on your salad, I think you will like the twist with the flax. Even mix them both together. Some people even like to add flax seeds in their ice cream. That’s a little stretch for me, depending on what flavor of ice cream I’m eating. I do really enjoy them in my oatmeal or cereal though.
Flax seed meal has the same health benefits and can be added to just about any bread or muffin recipe for some extra fiber and nutrition. Some people even use it to coat their chicken or make French toast. How creative can you be in adding flax seed or flax seed meal to your diet?