Mmm, flax.

According to the back of my Bob’s Red Mill Flax Seed package, King Charlemagne insisted that his subjects included flaxseed in their diets because he was sold on their benefits early on.

Seriously, this is a good read.

Flax comes from Canada, the U.S., and China, and can be consumed as a seed, ground, or in extracted oil form. Including flaxseed regularly (in any of its forms) does amazing things for your heart health and may slow down cancer growth (studies aren’t conclusive yet though).

I love adding flaxseeds or ground flax into smoothies, in a yogurt bowl with fruit, or in some of my baking (one of my favorite recipes for potlucks- apple strawberry crisp- adds flax into the topping). Sometimes, if I want to make scrambled eggs more interesting, I’ll throw in a little ground flax for a different texture and a nutrient boost. And for vegan bakers, flax and water is often used as a substitute for eggs. Flaxseed is also fairly inexpensive (especially when compared to chia or hemp seeds).

One thing that I’d never really thought about before- if you do buy the seed version, most will recommend that you grind them somehow before eating, otherwise you won’t get the benefits. It turns out our bodies do not digest the shells so it will just go in one end and out the other…and you’ll miss out on these things below:

Health Benefits

Omega-3. Help with important blood issues, such as blood pressure and clotting prevention, cholesterol management, and it’s great for your skin and hair. Specifically, flaxseed has the fatty acid ALA, which is not produced in our bodies. ALAs act as antioxidants, help with your metabolism and blood sugar, help your eyes, and can help prevent Alzheimer’s (more on ALA here).

Fiber. Flax has a surprising amount of fiber, which can help with blood sugar regulation (which also translates into diminishing hunger/sugar cravings). All that fiber also means helps with…yanno, keeping you regular. Which is awesome news for pregnant women or people who may need a little help getting things moving generally.

Protein. I was actually surprised to find out how much protein flaxseeds have in them, more than chia seeds per serving. But the catch is that flaxseeds are not considered a “complete protein,” meaning they don’t have all 9 of the essential amino acids necessary to make up a whole protein. (from Chia Seeds vs. Flaxseeds: The Super Seed Throwdown)

Lignans. If you have no idea what these are, I’m not surprised, because I wasn’t aware until fairly recently. Lignans are basically the female plant hormone, and in the human body they work many wonders such as decreasing inflammation, acting as an antioxidant, and are linked to slowing the growth of certain cancers (namely ones related to hormones, like breast cancer and prostate cancer). (From Authority Nutrition)

Recipes

Superseed Crackers from The Healthy Maven

No Bake Chocolate Banana Energy Balls from Julie’s Eats and Treats

Low Carb Pizza from Delighted Momma

Flax Egg from My Whole Food Life

Flaxseed Crusted Chicken Tenders from Inspiralized

Spiced Pumpkin Donuts from The Fed Up Foodie (also has wheat germ!)

Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies from Kristine’s Kitchen

Baked Spaghetti Squash and Kale Cakes from The Confused Bawarchis

And just because. Baking dogs can really be a nuisance.

What’s your favorite flaxseed recipe?

Any baking dogs in your life?

 

Ingredient of the Week: Flaxseeds
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