Flaxseed is one of the most ancient useful seeds in the history of Earth and was originally used to make fibers for linens.
Fiber is the main carbohydrate source in flaxseed so no wonder it is so tough and fibrous! This same quality makes flaxseed a great bulking and filling food to control hunger during weight loss.Not only is the type of fiber in flaxseed filling, but it contains a powerful antioxidant that may help to reduce cancer risk. High fiber foods, in general, are excellent for weight loss and cancer prevention. The health benefits of flaxseed are immense, ranging from heart disease prevention to diabetes prevention.
The Food Science of Flaxseed
Flaxseeds are also high in healthy omega-3 fats. However, this type of omega-3 fatty acid called, alpha linolenic acid (ALA), may not be as well absorbed as EPA and DHA which are the main omega-3 fats found in fish oil. The reason for this is because it is hard for the ALA to get converted to the coveted EPA and DHA. Most research shows that EPA and DHA are the more potent and heart healthy type of omega-3.
Science aside, how can we use flaxseed in our everyday life to promote a healthy weight and healthy life?
First, we have to remember that since flaxseed has a higher fat content, it can go rancid quickly. I recommend buying refrigerated ground flaxseed that you can bring home and store in your refrigerator for up to 20 months. Or, buy the whole seeds that have been stored in a cool dry place, and grind them yourself.
Second, I always recommend eating ground flaxseed. Do not eat a large amount of whole flaxseeds or they are likely to cause extreme intestinal pain. Our bodies do not digest fiber. If your body is not used to a high fiber diet, consuming large amounts of flaxseed (ground or whole) can cause more bloating and discomfort. Gradually increase your intake.
Foods to add Flaxseed to:
- Cream of wheat
- Baked goods
- Nut butters
- Ground meat
- Breading/batter for chicken or fish
You can also use ground flaxseed as a substitute for eggs in baking. Can you think of any other ways to incorporate more flaxseed into the diet?