It appears that not all flax seeds are created equally.
I found out about this a few months ago while watching Dr. Mehmet Oz on one of Oprah’s health segments, but a few weeks ago I was also confronted with this important lesson about flax seeds and I thought I’d pass on my findings.
The media has done an incredible job at educating us on the importance of flax seeds as a source of Omega-3 fatty acids (it contains 57 per cent Omega-3). Did you know that 42 per cent of flax seed is oil? It’s incredible to think that almost half of that little seed is oil! Additionally, a good part of a flax seed oil is 70 per cent polyunsaturated fat (aka healthy fat).
Flax seed is also an excellent source of soluble (which can help in lowering your blood pressure) and insoluble (which helps keep you regular) fibre.
Flax seed is one of the richest sources of lignans. Lignans are phytoestrogen compounds that have been shown in studies to protect the body against certain forms of cancer by blocking the formation of the cancerous tumour (particularly breast and colon cancer).
As if this list was not long enough, flax seeds are a great source of vegetable protein. Even if you are a meat eater it’s important to also include vegetable protein in your diet because it’s far easier to digest than meat protein. Not only does flax seed contain protein, but it contains 20 per cent times more protein than soy protein.
So now that you know all of the great benefits of adding flax seed in your diet, it’s time to figure out which type of flax seed you need. The body is unable to break down the flax seed hull (the seed itself).
Did you know that the benefits of eating flax seed are locked inside the seed? So unless you actually grind the seed to a pulp you will not be able to reap the omega-3, fibre or protein benefits.
Once you’ve grinded your flax seeds you can use them in shakes, smoothies, yogurt or in baked goods.
Here’s another little tidbit: Unless you have some serious kitchen equipment, it might be difficult for you to properly grind your own flax seeds. You can buy them already grinded at many natural health and bulk food shops. Also, when you do get your flax seed home, be sure to keep it in the fridge because the essential fatty acid can easily go rancid … especially during the summer months.
Photo by Papertygre