Tuesday Tip: On Flax seeds

Whole Flax Seeds

Whole Flax Seeds

Flax is a recent addition to my diet even though I’ve been giving Rocky flax seed oil for years.  He gets it with his veggie meals to provide him with essential fatty acids.  It also helps keep his coat clean and shiny and prevents his skin from drying out.  Funny how I’ll do all these healthy things for him without even thinking, “Oh hey, I could do that too!”.  Flax seeds are so good for you it borders on ridiculous.  It’s a new superfood that helps fight just about everything out there.  If you Google the benefits of flax seeds, you’ll have no problem finding loads of information.  I’ll give you some benefits just to get you started. ;)

Flax is a good source of the desired Omega-3 fatty acids that we need in our diets.  This helps fight cholesterol and heart disease.

Flax also contains Lignan, which is an antioxidant and we all need antioxidants in our lives because they help fight nasty free-radicals.  Medterms.com had the best definition of antioxidants:

Any substance that reduces oxidative damage (damage due to oxygen) such as that caused by free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive chemicals that attack molecules by capturing electrons and thus modifying chemical structures.

Three cheers for antioxidants!  Flax also provides fiber to help keeps our systems clean and regular.

Store in fridge

Store in fridge

My Tuesday Tip for you today is, when ingesting flax seeds, make sure they are either ground or in oil form.  This was something that was originally brought to my attention by Heather at Hangry Pants.  I looked into it myself and it’s true.  In order for our bodies to process and take in all the wonderful benefits of flax seeds, the flax seeds have to be broken down either by grinding or by pressing them to get oil.

Whole flax seeds do not get digested or absorbed by the body in anyway.  If you eat them they will pass right through your system.  Think corn, guys. We all know what happens when we eat corn, right?  Same thing with whole flax seeds.

Now that I know this, when I see products like bread or crackers that make the claim about containing flax seeds, I check it over and read the ingredients carefully.  If the product contains whole flax seeds, well then the benefits aren’t really there.  Whole flax seeds do nothing for us.  If there is ground flax meal as an ingredient that’s a different story.  That is beneficial!

Ground Flax

Ground Flax

You can buy whole flax seeds and grind them yourself in a coffee grinder.  Once you’ve done that, store in an airtight container either in your freezer or fridge for longer shelf life.  You can purchase pre-ground flax, which is flax meal and store the same way.  Flax oil should always be refrigerated and should be in a dark bottle that light cannot pass through.

Ground flax can be added to anything.  I typically add it to my morning oats/oatbran or to yogurt.  I honestly don’t think it tastes like anything so I don’t notice it.  Especially in oats or oatbran, it blends right in.  Oil can be used also in yogurt or even as a salad topping.

Give flax seed a try and add a new superfood to your diet!

10 thoughts on “Tuesday Tip: On Flax seeds

  1. Thanks for the helpful tip with flax. I haven’t used it before, but I just learned the word for it in Portuguese and can now find it here. :)

  2. Does it mess with your digestive tract? I started taking fish oil supplements b/c I have really really dry eyes and my eye doctor said to try those or flax seed, but many of her patients had greater side effects with flax seed. I felt pretty nasty on the fish oil, so I stopped it and was hesitant to try the flax seed. TMI? ;)

  3. hey wonderful info on flax!

    Native Americans used to eat it, isn’t that funny its been around THAT long!?!

    I have tons of info on omega-3’s and flax ! I am working on that post right now…

    As far as whole vs ground, ground is more bioavailable. however, insoluble fiber is undigestible but we still need that right? We actually get the fiber from the whole seeds in the “gross” way- it helps pull all the other crappy things out with its excretion, so eating them whole is still beneficial- but ground is more “bioavailable” meaning all of it can be utilized ( like the antioxidant, and the omega-3 source etc etc)

    awesome blog by the way, I don’t think I’ve commented before but I will keep up with you from now on!

    • bhealthier, You’re totally right about that! But we can get the same effect from other sources too so I’d rather use flax in a way to get at its full benefits. :D

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