Flax starts out as a beautiful field of flowers full of purple blooms. What it becomes when it hits the health food store is a little bag of brown seed. It doesn’t look particularly appetizing. It looks more like something you would feed to the birds. Don’t put it in the bird feeder just yet. Flax has become a nutritional superstar full of healing powers. It should become an essential part of your diet for healthy living.
Inside of the tiny seeds are two important compounds. These compounds are lignans and alpha-linolenic acid. These are known to help us fight against heart attacks, breast and colon cancers, arthritis, severe menstrual cramps, and even depression. The little flaxseed has more of these two compounds than any other food.
Lignans can shrink existing breast and colon cancer tumors and can stop new ones from getting a start. Many plant foods contain lignans, but flaxseed has at least 75 times more than any other. Alpha-linolenic acid is the plant version of omega-3. We know that omega-3 helps us fight off fatal heart attacks, autoimmune diseases, severe menstrual cramps, and maybe depression. We are commonly deficient in consuming omega-3s. Flaxseed is a mega-source of omega-3. Although the animal version of omega-3 fat found in fish oil gives you the most benefit, alpha-linolenic acid gives benefits too. If you are a vegetarian or you don’t eat fish regularly flaxseed is a great option.
Look for flaxseed in natural food stores. Look for pre-ground flaxseed. It looks like cornmeal. It will contain vitamins C and E to stabilize it against oxidation. To get the best out of eating flaxseed look for products that deliver the entire seed. If you buy whole flaxseed it should be ground in a coffee grinder or food processor. Any whole seeds not crushed during your chewing process will pass through your body undigested. Always use freshly ground flaxseed promptly. You can use flaxseed but not flaxseed oil for baking. Under sustained heat, flaxseed oil oxidizes and should not be consumed.
Flaxseed has a pleasantly nutty flavor. Start off with a sprinkle a day. A few people are highly allergic to flax so you should start by using less than 1/4 teaspoon a day and increase gradually if you have no reaction. Sprinkle one or more tablespoons in hot or cold cereal, yogurt, soup, or fruit juice. Once a package of pre-ground flaxseed is opened, keep it in the refrigerator and try to use it up within six months.
The little brown flaxseed may not be as beautiful as it starts out in its field of purple blooms, but it is beautiful for our insides. Eat flax regularly and your health will bloom.