Omega 3 fats are quintessential for our brains to function properly and most American diets are lacking in it. Just 3 tablespoons of flax seed meal contains as much omega 3 as a pound of fish. This is one of a myriad of reasons to add flax seed meal to your diet. Flax seed aids memory, prevents mood swings and helps communication between the brain cells. Because it is so good for the brain, it helps prevent Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Additionally, omega 3 reduces depression, helps with insomnia and sleep disturbances and has been known to help children with ADHD to focus.
Flax seed is not just good for our mental health, it is super heart smart. The seeds’ high content of omega 3, fiber and lignans helps to heal the arteries and push the bad cholesterol out of the body. In addition, these tiny seeds help to strengthen the walls of the heart by aiding in elasticity. To further benefit the cardiovascular system, flax seed can help with losing weight. The omega 3 fatty acid tells the brain that you are full and the protein and fiber take longer to digest so you feel full for a longer period of time than eating less fiber and protein rich foods. Regular use of flax seed also helps with blood sugar control. Diabetics can take flax seed as long as they account for the carbs.
Let’s talk lignans. In 3 tablespoons of flax seed there are 800 times the lignans than any other food in the world. Why should you care about lignans? They are powerful binders that prevent colon cancer, prostate cancer and breast cancer by binding to the unhealthy cells and ushering them out of the body.
Phytoestrogens are another benefit of flax seeds. Phytoestrogens differ from estrogen in that they do not stimulate the growth of cancerous cells. They do however effectively ease some of the symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, anxiety and irritability.
Flax seeds aid the digestive system as well. This super food is so incredible that it can help both constipation and diarrhea. The fiber quality of these seeds acts as a stool softener. Be sure to drink plenty of water because flax seed absorbs 10 to 14 times its weight in water. For diarrhea, less water means that the husks absorb the watery stool and add substance to the stool. The fiber also helps to soothe and heal Crohn’s disease, IBS, diverticulosis and diverticulitis.
To reap all of the best benefits of flax seed, you want to take flax seed meal (ground flax seed). You can purchase it already ground into meal. Be aware that once it is ground and exposed to air it will lose its potency rather quickly. Once opened, it will last a few days in the refrigerator or up to a month in the freezer. The whole flax seed will stay fresh and potent for about a year at room temperature. In air tight containers it may last even longer. You can turn it into flax seed meal with a coffee bean grinder.
You can add flax seed meal to anything that you like. It has a mild nutty flavor. Here are some suggestions: yogurt, fruit smoothies, applesauce, cottage cheese, peanut butter, cereal, tuna salad, egg salad or hummus. As a rule of thumb, flax seed should be shiny and plump. A really good flax seed is called Omega and was developed in 1989 by North Dakota State University. There are flax seed dealers on line that usually sell in quantity or if you want it packaged you will find it at Foods for Living, Horrock’s and Kroger.
Please note that the flax seed super hero powers are claims of their benefits. My research did not yield enough human trials to support nor deny the effectiveness of this food source. Some of the above listed medical conditions are very serious. If you have one of these conditions or any other medical concerns, please consult a physician.