There’s a teeny, tiny seed out there that has actually been causing a stir in the health and nutrition world since 3000 BC. That’s right, flaxseed has been around forever. And it’s been considered a superfood since then too.
In fact, in the 700s – that’s right, the 700s (not the 1700s) – the king of the Franks and the Holy Roman Empire was so impressed by flax and its health benefits, he required his subjects eat it.
Of course, that was over 1300 years ago, but Charles the Great may have been onto something. In fact, the name flax is actually derived from a Latin phrase meaning “very useful.”
You see, ground flaxseed is thought to have a bunch of impressive health benefits. For instance, flaxseed might potentially –
- Support reduced blood pressure
- Promote better bone health
- Help autoimmunity
- Promote heart health
- Help keep your arteries clear of fatty deposits
- Support healthy blood flow
- Promote regularity
- Support weight loss1
You can see why ancient peoples considered these little seeds so useful. And you should too.
But remember, as you read on, we’re talking about ground flaxseed specifically – or flaxseed meal. You see, your body can’t absorb nutrients from flaxseed UNLESS it’s ground up… so eating it whole won’t do you any good.
Buth when ground up, the tiny golden-brown flaxseed tastes a little bit nutty and a little bit earthy. And flaxseed happens to be a significant source of lignans.
Now, lignans are simply polyphenols which may be beneficial, especially if consumed for life.2
The Nutritional Stats of Ground Flaxseed
It turns out, a single ounce of flaxseed meal contains the following –
- A whopping 8g of fiber
- 6g of protein
- 6,338 mg of omega-3 fatty acids
- 31% of your recommended daily value of Vitamin B1
- 35% of your recommended daily value of Manganese
- 30% of your recommended daily value of Magnesium3
And ground flaxseed is chock full of other vitamins and minerals, like –
- Vitamin B6
Clearly, flaxseed fits the bill when it comes to health benefits and packing a nutritional punch.
The Benefits of Flaxseed
High Fiber Content
One of the best features of flaxseed is its high mucilage content. Mucilage is a water-soluble, gel-forming fiber that can really help your support your gut health.
For instance, mucilage can help your gut better absorb nutrients – so your body gets more of what it needs. And dietary fibers like mucilage are important because they can help clean your colon.5 And a clean colon might also help you lose weight.6
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
One major benefit of flaxseed oil is its support of healthier skin and hair. Turns out, the B-vitamins in flaxseed’s omega-3 fatty acids could actually help to curb dryness and reduce skin flakiness.7
Furthermore, flaxseed is one of the most significant sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. Specifically, it’s got a large amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).8 In fact, you can take a couple of tablespoons of ground flaxseed to help moisturize your skin and hair. Or, you can mix it up with various essential oils and use it topically as an effective skin moisturizer.
Supports Losing Weight
Now, you know that flax is chock full of good fats and healthy fiber, so it only stands to reason that it could help you feel satiated for a longer period of time than other foods.9 And if you eat fewer calories, you’ll eventually lose weight. Not only that, but the ALA fats in flax could help diminish instances of inflammation.10
Helps Support a Healthy Digestive System
When it comes to promoting digestive health, ground flaxseed is a major player! The alpha-linolenic acid in flax can also support the well-being of your gut lining and help regulate your gastrointestinal health. Furthermore, flax could help your body get rid of fats, assist in lowering your blood cholesterol, and it may even potentially play a role in maintaining energy levels.11
So, how do you get your flax fix? Easy …
5 Great Ways to Get Your Flaxseed
Ground flaxseed is a great addition to so many recipes. In fact, it almost doesn’t matter what kind of food you’re in the mood for – flax compliments nearly anything.
Here are some tips for including ground flaxseed, flaxseed meal, or flaxseed oil to your diet:
1. Add up to 3 tablespoons of ground flax or 1 tablespoon flaxseed oil to your morning smoothie.
2. Mix a tablespoon in with goat yogurt.
3. Bake ground flax (aka flaxseed meal) into your Lectin-free Cranberry Orange Muffins or Spicy Ginger Cookies.
4. You can actually even mix ground flaxseed with water and use it to make non-egg omelets and scrambles.
5. Finally, you can throw a few teaspoons of ground flaxseed into almost any recipe. Flaxseed is great for giving your soups a little texture, your salads a bit of crunch, and it even adds some texture to crusted, wild-caught fish or pastured chicken dishes.
A Final Flax-Friendly Reminder …
The best way to get your flaxseed is ground. The human body needs help accessing the nutrients in flaxseeds. If you eat them whole, your body will usually pass them undigested. So, make sure you get ground flax, or flax meal, so you can access all of the healthy nutrients flax has to offer.
If you only have the seeds, you can grind them up yourself by using a coffee grinder. You want to grind them as soon as you purchase them, and store them ground, too. And since flaxseed is so rich in dietary fiber, the fiber can bind water to itself (believe it or not). So, make sure you drink plenty of water when adding flax to your diet.