Flaxseed: Food for Weight Loss

By Nicole German (RD, LD)

2690-1013916_flax_seeds.jpgFlaxseed 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:

  • Oatmeal
  • Cream of wheat
  • Yogurt
  • Baked goods
  • Cereal
  • Smoothies
  • Nut butters
  • Casseroles
  • 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?

11 Comments

  1. Phentramin-D

    What a sweet little post and so very true.

    Reply
  2. Lipo

    This article is really important. Food are really very important part of weight loss. There are several foods which is helpful for reduce weight loss. I think flaxseed is a effective for weight loss.

    Reply
  3. Ross

    Flaxseed is indeed very healthy. Is has rather high alkalinity that can also help in balancing our pH level when consumed. We can also use the flaxseed oil to replace other oils like virgin oil and coconut oils.

    Reply
  4. Ruben Serrano

    I believe that flax seeds are not human food, the high content of PUFAs does cause a whole lot more problem than i can describe here and humans do not this the amounts of fiber that we are made to believe we need, often times all this fiber is the root problem of most gastro intestinal we are facing today. Phytic Acid in nuts and seeds reduce the mineral absorption, seeds such as flax have the potential to reduce the digestibility of protein. Seeds are pesky anti-nutrients, and contain enzyme inhibitors.

    Reply
  5. Kati Mora, MS, RD, Kellogg's FiberPlus(R) Wellness Advocate

    Incorporating high fiber foods into your daily meal plan is so important for overall health and wellness. Thanks for sharing some of these benefits.

    Reply
  6. Coach Rollie

    I sometimes put flaxseed oil in my morning protein shakes. It masks the flavor and I get my EFA’s.

    Reply
  7. SueK24

    And, more from me…
    Trader Joe’s sells an almond butter and a peanut butter that have a little bit of flax seed added. Both of these products are quite tasty.

    Reply
  8. SueK24

    Oh Duh! I failed to notice the last line of the article which already mentions it can be used as an egg substitute, lol!

    Reply
  9. SueK24

    Here’s an interesting tidbit. Flax seed thickens into a mucuous like consistency when blended with water. It can then be used as an egg substitute for baking. I’ve tried it in vegan muffin recipes and it’s worked pretty well. I rarely consume flax seed, only occasionally if it happens to be included something I’m eating, because I prefer to get my omega 3’s from an ultra refined fish oil concentrate. As the author mentioned the conversion of ALA in the human body is a very inefficient process. The omega 3’s in fish oil are already in the form the human body uses, no conversion necessary.

    Reply
  10. Spectra

    I personally don’t eat flaxseeds, mostly because I do eat plenty of fiber, lots of fish, and I take fish oil as well. I do think it’s a great supplement for vegetarians looking to get more omega-3s in their diet, though.

    Reply
  11. Dan

    I mainly put a heaping tablespoon of flaxseed I grind in a coffee grinder in my oatmeal. Since I do not eat fish or fish oil, I hope this provides enough ALA to convert to DHA and EPA.

    Reply