Health Benefits of Flaxseed
by Heather Smith
One of the seeds that have gotten little recognition for its health benefits until now is the flaxseed. Flaxseed comes in a variety of different forms. You can buy it in full seed form, as oil, or ground up into a fine substance that is almost spice like in its consistency.
What is Flaxseed?
Flaxseed is a type of seed, also known as linseed, which is closely linked to both the seed family and the grain family. It is high in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, and low in cholesterol, making it an important addition to a healthy diet. It also is extremely versatile and can be consumed both raw and in cooking.
The high fiber content helps contribute to a healthy digestive tract.
It is also used in medicines and has been proven to reduce inflammation in the joints, decrease skin problems such as eczema and acne, and help aid against obesity, amongst other things.
What are Some of Flaxseed’s Health Benefits?
1. Good Source of Healthy Fats
Fats got a bad rap for a long time as being huge contributors to the obesity epidemic, but slowly people are beginning to understand the difference between unhealthy fats and healthy ones. The most common healthy fats are found in nut butters, fish, and avocados.
Flaxseed offers a hearty dose of healthy fats as well. Flaxseed also contains omega-3s, which are the same type of fats found in fish and fish oils, and can help treat a variety of conditions such as arthritis, depression, and asthma.
2. Good Source of Fiber
In addition to being loaded with healthy fats, flaxseed also boasts three grams of fiber per serving. Fiber is essential to our diets in terms of promoting a healthy digestive system, a healthy colon, and a strong heart. One serving of flaxseed contains the same amount of fiber that’s found in a serving of brown rice.
3. Helps Reduce Inflammation
Flaxseed has healing agents that help to reduce inflammation. It can be used by applying flaxseed oil directly to inflamed areas (such as a sprain) or ingested to help fend off inflammatory diseases such as arthritis.
The omega-3s found in flaxseed are a large contributing factor to reducing inflammation, which is much the same as the anti-inflammatory characteristics that fish oil has.
4. Helps Defend the Body Against Cancer
One of the biggest health benefits that flaxseed boasts is that it helps aid the body in its fight against cancer. This is partially due to its high fiber content, and partly because it contains lignans, which have been shown to help reduce the risk of breast cancer in women.
How can Flaxseed be Consumed?
Flaxseed is extremely versatile and can used in a variety of different ways:
1. As an Oil
Flaxseed oil can be taken by the spoonful or can be added to cooked meals, However, you should only add it after you’re done cooking because the heat from cooking will destroy its beneficial properties.
It can also be substituted for butter and other oils or used as a salad dressing.
2. As Ground Flaxseed
Ground flaxseed can be sprinkled on top of cereals and yogurt. This will give both a slightly nutty flavor.
It can also be blended into smoothies or baked into breads, muffins, cakes, or any other baked good that you want to sneak some extra fiber and healthy fats into.
3. As a Seed
Flaxseeds in their whole form can be eaten raw, toasted, or roasted. You can add them to salads, top lean proteins with them, or eat them by themselves.
Including flaxseed in your diet is a great way to add in healthy fats, reduce inflammation, aid your body in digestion, and help protect your body from cancer. It can be consumed in a variety of ways.
Its lightly nutty flavor makes it a great addition to both sweet and savory meals alike. Being healthy doesn’t have to mean being boring, it just means branching outside of the norm and finding foods like flaxseeds that offer a unique flavor and is a nutritional powerhouse.
(Heather Smith is an ex-nanny. Passionate about thought leadership and writing, Heather regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and parenting blogs/websites. She also provides value to www.nanny.net/ service by giving advice on site design as well as the features and functionality to provide more and more value to nannies and families across the U.S. and Canada. She can be available at H.smith7295 [at] gmail.com.)