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One of our favorite health tips for this year was the suggestion at our Vegetarian Club monthly pot-luck dinner to download “Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen” app onto our phones. It’s easy to find at the app store and includes a quick list to check off each day. In addition, whether you’re into whole-food plant-based eating or not, the short articles and videos are fascinating! Reading or listening to just one of these short videos or articles each day is excellent motivation to eat well for both immediate and long-term health. Hippocrates says “Let food be thy medicine” and this app makes that extremely easy.
The importance of getting some flax seeds every day has been one of the most important changes we’ve made since downloading this app. We all might think of flax as a fiber used for making fabric, but of course, as Heavenly Father always does, this is another magical plant that serves His children so well in so many ways!
Since learning about the mighty powers of teeny little flax seeds, we’ve just been adding it to our daily oatmeal, but there are many ways to include it.
IMPORTANT: The whole flax seed is very tiny — so tiny that it will probably pass through your system unopened, with all its powers still locked inside. We want to be eating ground flax seed!
For simplicity, I’ve adapted his facts and my research into 10 easy facts on flax. So just the facts, ma’am, (remember Dragnet??) on flax!
1. Flax Seeds Are Loaded With Nutrients.
Grown since the earliest days of civilization, the plant fibers from flax are used for spinning into cloth, and the seeds and oil are used for a very nutritious food. A typical serving is 1 Tablespoon, about 35 calories. Their benefits come mainly from the top-notch omega-3 fatty acids, lignans and fiber.
- Polyunsaturated fat: 2.0 grams
- Omega-3 fatty acids: 1,597 mg
- Vitamin B1: 8% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 2% of the RDI
- Folate: 2% of the RDI
- Calcium: 2% of the RDI
- Iron: 2% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 7% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 4% of the RDI
- Potassium: 2% of the RDI
2. Flax Seeds Are High in Omega-3 Fats
If you are a vegetarian or don’t eat fish, flax seeds can be your best source of omega-3 fats. They are a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a mostly plant-based omega-3 fatty acid. ALA is one of the two essential fatty acids that you have to obtain from the food you eat, as your body doesn’t produce them.
3. Flax Seeds Are a Rich Source of Lignans, Which May Reduce
Lignans. have powerful antioxidant and estrogen properties. They may help in preventing breast and prostate cancer, as well as other types of cancer.
4. Flax Seeds Are Rich in Dietary Fiber
Just one tablespoon of flax seeds contains 3 grams of fiber, which is 8–12% of the daily recommended intake for men and women, respectively
5. Flax Seeds May Improve Cholesterol
In one study in people with high cholesterol, consuming 3 tablespoons (30 grams) of flaxseed powder daily for three months lowered total cholesterol by 17% and “bad” LDL cholesterol by almost 20% (19).
Another study of people with diabetes found that taking 1 tablespoon (10 grams) of flaxseed powder daily for one month resulted in a 12% increase in “good” HDL cholesterol.
6. Flax Seeds May Lower Blood Pressure
Studies on flax seeds have also focused on its natural ability to lower blood pressure.
7. They Contain
Flax seeds are a great source of plant-based protein and there’s growing interest in flaxseed protein and its health benefits. Flaxseed protein is rich in the amino acids arginine, aspartic acid and glutamic acid.
Numerous lab and animal studies have shown that flaxseed protein helped improve immune function, lowered cholesterol, prevented tumors and had anti-fungal properties.
8. Flax Seeds May Help Control Blood Sugar
This blood sugar-lowering effect is notably due to flax seeds’ insoluble fiber content. Research has found that insoluble fiber slows down the release of sugar into the blood and reduces blood sugar/
9. Flax Seeds Keep Hunger at Bay, Which May Aid Weight Control
One study found that adding 2.5 grams of ground flax fiber extract to a beverage reduced feelings of hunger and overall appetite. The feelings of reduced hunger were likely due to the soluble fiber content of flax seeds. It slows digestion in the stomach, which triggers a host of hormones that control appetite and provide a feeling of fullness.
10. Flax Seeds Are Delicious and Versatile
Flax seeds, ground flaxseed or flaxseed oil can be added to many common foods. As mentioned above, ground flaxseed is the most beneficial in releasing all its many nutrients as the whole very tiny whole seeds may pass through your system unopened. Try the following:
- Adding them to water and drinking it as part of your daily fluid intake
- Drizzling flaxseed oil as a dressing on salad
- Sprinkling ground flax seeds over your hot or cold breakfast cereal
- Mixing them into your favorite yogurt
- Adding them into cookie, muffin, bread or other batters
- Mixing them into smoothies to thicken up the consistency
- Adding them to water as an egg substitute
- Incorporating them into meat patties
Carolyn Allen is the Author of 60 Seconds to Weight Loss Success, One Minute Inspirations to Change Your Thinking, Your Weight and Your Life. She has been providing mental and spiritual approaches for weight loss success both online and in the Washington, DC community since 1999 presenting for Weight Watchers, First Class, Fairfax County Adult Education and other community groups.
She and her husband, Bob, are the parents of five children and grandparents to a growing number of darling grandchildren. They are now happy empty nesters in Jackson, Tennessee, close to Memphis, where they center their online business for an amazing herbal detox, much loved by many Meridian readers: CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE