Flaxseeds have some serious nutrition superpowers. It comes from a blue flowered plant called Linum usitatissimum, and although it may seem new in the health food world, historians have traced its cultivation as early as 3000 BC.
They're becoming more and more popular so it's easy to find and usually at a good price. This superfood should definitely become a staple in your house.
Here are 5 reasons you should eat flaxseeds:
1. They're loaded with omega-3 essential fatty acids (the good fats).
Flaxseed is a fantastic plant-based source of good fats and is rich in omega-3s. A nutrient is considered "essential" when our body doesn't make it and we have to get it from an outside source. Our bodies can't make our own omega-3's so we have to get them from food.
On a side note, flaxseeds also contain a super high-quality protein.
2. They contain a ton of fiber, both soluble and insoluble, and will keep your colon healthy.
Fiber cleans out your digestive tract, promotes, colon health, pulls toxins out of your body, and keeps your belly flat. There are two kinds of fiber, soluble and insoluble, and we need both. Think of soluble fiber as the "sponge" soaking up the toxins in your belly and insoluble fiber as the "broom" sweeping it out. Be sure to keep your water intake up to move the fiber through your system, too.
3. They're rich in antioxidants and lignans.
Flaxseeds contain vitamins B-1, B-2, C and E as well as iron, zinc, and trace amounts of potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium. Lignans are phytonutrients with anti-cancer properties. That's a fancy way of saying that they're really good for you.
4. They add fantastic texture to your food.
Add them to a green smoothie or sprinkle them on almond milk ice cream for a super healthy, super yummy treat. Call them "sprinkles" and your kids will beg you for them.
5. They taste delicious!
The mild, nutty flavor of flaxseeds will keep you coming back for more. Sneak them into just about any smoothie, dessert or baked good for extra nutrition and flavor.
Some things you should know: Flax comes in a variety of forms - whole, ground, or oil. You can add the seeds to just about anything, just make sure to grind the seeds up if you buy them whole so you can absorb all of their goodness (your digestive system has a hard time absorbing the nutrients from the whole seed form). A few spins in a clean coffee grinder works great for grinding them up. Also, the oil in flaxseeds can easily spoil so store it in the refrigerator to keep it fresh. And, as with all foods, buy organic whenever possible.
Flaxseed oil is also super good for you and is even richer in omega-3s. It obviously doesn't contain any fiber but it still contains the other benefits listed above.
A few notes on bottled flaxseed oil: 1) be sure it's cold-pressed, 2) store it in the refrigerator, and 3) don't cook with it. It has an extremely low flashpoint and heat destroys all of it's benefits. Consume it raw blended into a green smoothie or salad dressing.