Just the Flax Jack!

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I'm going to make this short and sweet because when it comes to flax there's no need to sugar coat the truth (pardon the pun). It's true, I'm wild about flax. Flax has been around for centuries, but it's only been within the past few years that I discovered what a true nutritional powerhouse this is. Why? Flax is one of the best plant sources of the essential Omega-3 fatty acid ALA (alpha-linoleic acid)...the healthy fat. Essential because our bodies do not produce it, and important because of the biological role it plays towards optimal health by helping to maintain many of our body's functions. As a result, adding Omega-3s to our diets, especially ALA, has been shown to be beneficial in our fight to prevent certain diseases like heart disease, diabetes, inflammation and certain cancers. Flaxseed (but not the oil) is also the richest source of lignans, a plant compound that has estrogenic and anti-estrogenic properties, which is a key nutrient especially in dealing with women's health issues such as breast cancer and bone health.

You can buy flax as whole seed, ground or oil forms. While whole flaxseeds have a longer shelf life, ground flaxseed is usually more convenient, as you don't have to go through the trouble to grind the seeds yourself. Regardless, it's important to keep flax stored in an air-tight, sealed container in the refrigerator or freezer or it will spoil. Flaxseed oil should also be stored in the refrigerator. But this is one oil that should NOT be used for cooking since heat will destroy the omega-3s (best to add to your food after). One tablespoon of ground flax is less than 40 calories,and is very low in sodium and 0mg of cholesterol. Flax is a great source of dietary fiber (2g/tbsp) as well as the essential vitamins and minerals manganese, magnesium, thiamin (B-vitamin), copper and phosphorus. Best of all it tastes delicious and adds a nutty flavor to your food. Because of all the nutritional benefits in just one tablespoon, including flax into your daily diet is a great weapon to have to help you towards your weight loss goals.

If you haven't tried it before, here are 5 easy ways to get flax into your diet:

  • Top your cold cereal or oatmeal with 1-2 tbsps of ground flax.
  • Add some crunch to your yogurt or morning smoothie (the oil works well for smoothies too).
  • Sprinkle it on your salads or vegetables. Or make your own salad dressing using the oil.
  • Include it in your favorite muffin, bread or cake recipes.
  • Make it even easier and look for foods that include Flax in the title. Kashi, Van's, Nature's Path, Arrowhead, and Aunt Millie's are a few companies that have delicious flax products (i.e breads, cereals and waffles).

Think about it: only 1-2 tablespoons a day and you are on your way to reaping the life-long benefits of this nutrient packed food. Could it be any easier?

* Like most oils, 1 tbsp of flaxseed oil = 119 calories and 14g of fat so use accordingly.


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Dean said:

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This page contains a single entry by alphabitesnyc published on February 2, 2009 8:50 AM.

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