SIMPLY ESSENTIAL: flaxseeds

Registered Dietitian Ellie Kempton outlines why flax seeds are a source of fiber and can help promote sleep, regularity and satiety. Registered Dietitian Ellie Kempton outlines why flax seeds are a source of fiber and can help promote sleep, regularity and satiety.History and Why We Love Them

Tiny as they might be, flaxseeds pack a punch. In general, seeds tend to be rich in nutrients and many have their own unique health benefits. However, flax also provide us with additional distinctive nutritional benefits that aren’t found among other seeds. Just [ONE ounce] of flax contains [8 grams of fiber], 6g of protein, and enough omega-3s to reach well above your daily recommended intake [think upwards of 140% of your daily value]!

Three of these interesting and beneficial qualities are:

First: Flax is a wonderful source of fiber. Just one ounce of fiber clocks in at a whopping 8 grams of fiber making it easy to bump up your fiber consumption by doing nothing more than blending into a smoothie or sprinkling onto a salad.
Second: Flax is the richest source of plant-based omega-3s which play a vital role in fighting inflammation. In fact, flax has been ranked as one of the top anti-inflammatory foods.
Third: Flax is considered the #1 source of lignans in human diets. This is exciting because lignans have been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men by optimizing the metabolism of estrogens. The metabolism of estrogen has also been shown to normalize the menstrual cycle and reduce hot flashes in menopausal women.
Between the fiber, omega-3s, and estrogen balancing lignans, flax’s functional appeal is hard to resist.

Description

Flax is mostly found in [2 varieties]:
  1. brown flax
  2. golden flax (sometimes called yellow flax)
In their raw form flaxseeds generally range from amber/yellow/gold to tan/brown/red in color. When your searching for flax in your grocery store, head first to the bulk bin aisle for a low cost option to purchase this power packing seed. If your grocery store doesn’t sell items in bulk, these seeds can generally be found in prepackaged containers with other nuts and seeds.

How to Select and Store

As mentioned above, flax can be found in many forms in the grocery store. From bulk bins to prepackaged containers, from whole seeds to ground seeds. Don’t know what to look for…? We can help!
If whole flaxseeds sound ideal, consider freshness when choosing between bulk bins and prepackaged products.
  • Bulk bins are often less expensive and can be purchased in quantities that suit your individual needs. However, make sure the bulk bins you’re choosing from are covered and have a good turnover rate to consider maximum freshness.
  • Prepackaged products may end up having a longer shelf life if the package is resealable. If you don’t plan to use flax often, this may be the better route to choose.
Either way: Before purchasing make sure there is [NO] sign of moisture. Once you get home store your whole flaxseeds in an airtight container in a dark, dry, cool place. You can also place that airtight container in the refrigerator to extend shelf life a bit longer. Expect your whole flax to be [shelf stable] and wonderfully nutritious for [6 to 12 months].
On the other than, ground flaxseeds can be sold and purchased as either refrigerated or non-refrigerated.
  • Non-refrigerated ground flax may be easier to find in most grocery stores. However, when purchasing non-refrigerated ground flax, it’s important to make sure the package has been vacuum sealed to ensure freshness and highest quality.
  • Refrigerated ground flaxseeds do NOT need to be purchased in a vacuum sealed container, however, it may still improve the quality or freshness.
Either way: Store ground flax in an airtight container in the refrigerator because once flaxseeds are ground they are much more prone to spoilage.

Uses

While we recommend purchasing flax in any form, we recommend consuming flax in the ground form. This can be accomplished by either purchasing ground flax OR by purchasing whole flax and grinding it yourself [think coffee grinder].
Flaxseeds are best consumed in the ground form because this is the form from which our body can digest and absorb nutrients. Flax’s tough outer shell is not only hard to chew, but also does not allow the body to access the nutrients housed inside which means many nutrients will pass through undigested.
Flax is a fantastic way to increase your fiber consumption. We recommend adding ground flax to smoothies, salads, oatmeal, muffin or bread recipes, or even cooked veggies!

Practice Mindful Eating

We encourage you to practice mindful eating when incorporating flax into your menu selections. If using whole flaxseeds, enjoy the texture and sound of the pleasant crunch as you chew. Flax has a delicate, nutty flavor that will enhance any food it is added to. Allow yourself to notice and enjoy this flavor as you savor your meal.
More information on flax: View Here.

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