What are the Benefits of Flaxseed?
Flaxseed has recently gained traction as a “superfood” with numerous health benefits. As more and more people search for ways to incorporate flaxseed into their diet, it’s important to understand exactly what it is and how it can benefit your body.
Flax is a fiber crop that grows predominantly in Europe, Asia, and parts of the Mediterranean. Flaxseeds are the seeds of the flax, tasting somewhat nutty in flavor, which can be made into oil or consumed whole in the form of seeds or as Flaxseed Meal.
Nutrients in Flaxseed
There are 2 types of flaxseed: golden and brown. Both types are equally nutritious and contain significant amounts of protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. A complete breakdown of the nutrients in 1 tablespoon of flaxseed are:
Protein: 1.3 grams
Carbs: 2 grams
Fiber: 1.9 grams
Total fat: 3 grams
Saturated fat: 0.3 grams
Monounsaturated fat: 0.5 grams
Polyunsaturated fat: 2.0 grams
Omega-3 fatty acids: 1597 mg
Vitamin B1: 8% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI)
Vitamin B6: 2% of the RDI
Folate: 2% of the RDI
Calcium: 2% of the RDI
Iron: 2% of the RDI
Magnesium: 7% of the RDI
Phosphorus: 4% of the RDI
Potassium: 2% of the RDI
An Excellent Option for Vegetarians
Flaxseed is a great food for vegetarians, primarily because of the high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids. Specifically, omega-3 fatty acids are a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which your body requires but does not produce it on its own. Fish is a traditional source of this needed nutrient, but vegetarians can turn to flaxseed as a plant-based alternative.
Flaxseed May Reduce Cancer Risk
Lignans have antioxidant and estrogen properties that can lower the risk of cancer. This is significant because flaxseed contains over 800 times more lignans than any other plant food available. Scientific studies of flaxseed show just how powerful this superfood can be. For example, individuals who eat flaxseed have a lower risk of breast cancer. A Canadian study of over 6,000 women suggested that women who eat flaxseed are 18% less likely to develop breast cancer. Other studies suggest that men who have regular servings of flaxseed have a decreased risk of prostate cancer.
Flaxseed May Reduce Cholesterol
There are numerous studies that show a link between the consumption of flaxseed and a reduction in cholesterol levels. This may be due to the fiber levels found in flaxseed. The fiber binds to bile salts, and then is naturally secreted from the body. In order to replenish the bile salts, cholesterol is moved from your blood to your liver, which reduces the cholesterol level of the blood. So flaxseed is a fantastic option for those seeking to lower their cholesterol.
Recipes Using Flaxseed
If you’re looking for more ways to incorporate flaxseed in your diet, you can easily add Flaxseed Meal to any baking recipe, including muffins, dessert bread, rolls, and much, much more. The result is a bit more nutrition without altering the flavor profile of the recipe. There are also plenty of recipes that use flaxseed seeds in place of nuts. There are so many options to choose from, working more flaxseed into your diet couldn’t be easier!