The flax seed superfood

By | February 28, 2015


golden flax seedIn the quest for health, superfoods are a common subject. One superfood I have come across is flax seed. This apparently unassuming seed is a superhero of valuable nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, magnesium, and much more.


As I have previously mentioned, this blog is not to present detailed information about the health tips – thee is no need for this, since so many others have done such a great job. The purpose here is to expose you to new ideas and possibilities that you might want to explore. If you want more information, I found the following article very interesting on the benefits of flax seed:

http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/whattoeat/a/flaxinfo.htm

Be aware that you cannot eat the seeds straight because the outer layer of the shell cannot be digested, so they need to be ground. You can grind them yourself, using a coffee grinder, or you can buy them already ground. For me, I have decided to go with the easier already ground route. I have also heard that it is ideal to have the flax seed cold rolled. Cold rolling preserves as much of the benefits of the flax seed as possible, which are lost if the seeds are heated up too much. And finally, I choose organic for any additional benefits available, such as more nutrients and less contaminants. Be aware that ground flax seed goes rancid a lot faster than I would hope. Some say it is good for a few months. If you store it in the freezer, you can go a year. Others say you can go about twice as long. Regardless, rancid flax seed can have toxic properties, so be aware.

I am still exploring places I can use the flax seed. For now,  I add some to my oatmeal. I double the amount of water I normally use and add a tablespoon of flax seed. With just this little effort, I get lots of omega-3 fatty acids, which means I don’t need to eat as much salmon. I like having an alternative and natural way to get more omega-3s. It allows me to switch back and forth. I also add a small amount to my yogurt. It makes it a bit more crunchy, but otherwise is not that noticeable.

Besides the omegas-3s, I like that flax seed gives me a large amount of magnesium, which is often hard to get in this world of depleted soil. I am not sure if the seeds suffer from soil depletion problems, but every little bit of magnesium I can get is a plus. It is also great to get fiber and lots of other good vitamins and minerals, and there are tons of them. Going back to omega-3s, they are supposed to be balanced with our omega-6 consumption. However, in today’s diets of processed foods, most people get huge, orders of magnitude, more omega-ss than omega-3s, so health experts recommend we take omega-3 supplements to balance this ration, along with eating a lot less processed food.

Finally, in the article referenced at the start of this post, some warnings are mentioned about eating flax seed. As with any food, it is good to know what you are getting into and I recommend you do your research before jumping in.

Also, one possible catch is the difference between getting omega-3s from flax seed vs. fish or fish oil. There are different types of omega-3s, namely DHA, EPA, and ALA. DHA and EPA both come from fish. Flax seed has ALA, which must be converted to DHA and EPA by the body to be really beneficial, and the conversation rate is often ten percent or less, so some experts recommend skipping flax seed and using fish oil to get the right omega-3s that do not require conversion. Just something else you will want to look into.

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