Recent studies have shown that flaxseed, known to the world for thousands of years, may aid in lowering cholesterol, stabilizing blood sugar, reducing bone loss, promoting weight loss, increasing immunity, and fighting cancer, says clinical nutritionist Stella Metsovas of Laguna Beach, Calif.
I’m in. Pam and I went to the health food store in Columbus last week and split a big bottle of the stuff. We’ve been putting it in our home-made salad dressings and sprinkling it in our scrambled eggs in the morning. (We do that after we gargle with olive oil for 20 minutes – but that’s a whole ‘nother story.)
Okay, So we are game for anything that will help us stay alive and vital into our senior years. I hope it’s not too late.
Here’s what we learned about flaxseed:
Flaxseed is high in B vitamins, magnesium, manganese, fiber, antioxidants and Omega 3 fatty acids – the key to fighting inflammation (That’s what I call arthritis!).
And best of all, Flaxseed is a mega-source of the plant version of omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Flaxseed oil is about 50 percent ALA — five times more than walnut oil or canola oil, which are the next highest sources of ALA.
- Lower blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels. The soluble fiber in flaxseed has been shown to lower cholesterol, helping to prevent the buildup of plaque, which can clog arteries and lead to high blood pressure, stroke, or heart attack. Fiber is also believed to lower blood sugar levels, which is important for people who have type 2 diabetes.
- Reduce bone loss. A study of diabetic rats showed a delay in bone loss after they were fed flaxseed, thanks to its concentration of fatty acids.
- Help with weight management. Flax expands when ingested, making you feel fuller. You might want to take flax 30 minutes before meals to control your appetite.
- Improve digestive health. The fiber in flaxseed can help relieve constipation and make you more regular.
- Increase immunity. ALA has been shown to decrease inflammation, which allows your immune system to function better. Preliminary research suggests that flaxseed can help relieve autoimmune and inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and lupus.
- Fight cancer. Studies show that flaxseed may have a role in fighting cancer, particularly colon and breast cancer. The benefit is based on its high concentration of lignans, which are believed to inhibit tumor growth.
How to Get More Flaxseed in Your Diet
Flaxseed has a light, nutty taste. Here are some ways to add it to the foods you already eat and enjoy:
- Sprinkle flaxseed on your cold cereal or hot oatmeal at breakfast.
- Add a teaspoon of ground flaxseed to the mustard or mayonnaise that you spread on your sandwich at lunch.
- Blend flaxseed into juice or smoothies.
- Sprinkle on salads or in soups.
- Mix a tablespoon of ground flaxseed into your yogurt.
- Add flax to tomato sauces or to casseroles.
- Add flaxseed to meatballs or meatloaf.
Flaxseed is a great way to get fiber and important nutrients into your diet. Experiment with it in your favorite recipes to boost their nutrition profile.