Every week, I learn something new about nutrition. Not about supplements, or pills that will cure all diseases. But about the magical benefits of simple plants. These magical plants are not superfoods from the Amazon jungle. They are foods that you’ve probably heard of but never considered consuming every single day. And today, we are talking about flax seeds.
Flax seeds are a true superfood. They contain mega doses of nutrition, and also antioxidants called Lignans. Flax seeds have more Lignans than any other food, which is what accounts for their unique ability to reduce the risk of so many health issues: heart disease, stroke, diabetes, digestive issues, inflammation, and even menopausal symptoms. And often, they do this better than leading drugs.
But, they have 1 downside. SLIME. When you grind flax seeds, which you should do to get the most out of them, they turn into a slimy gooey concoction. Yuck. However, please do not despair. If you have been around here before, you know that my specialty happens to be turning mega-healthy foods into mega-flavorful.
I have come up with 3 extremely easy and flavorful ways to eat flax seeds every single day. These are ways I use myself to get this superfood into my diet. They are quick, budget-friendly, delicious, and very easy. All you need is 1 tablespoon of flax seeds daily.
I’m going to start by telling you some facts, like how to purchase, store, and eat them, and then I’ll tell you some more about how amazing they are for you. Lastly, I will give you my 3 delicious ways of incorporating them daily.
5 Flax Seeds Facts to Know: How to Purchase, Store, and Consume Flax Seeds
- Brown and golden flax seed are the same nutritionally – pick the ones you like; I personally prefer the flavor of the golden flax seed, so that’s the one I purchase.
- Make sure to purchase the whole seeds, and store them in an air-tight container in the fridge or freezer to preserve all of their nutrients
- Make sure not to consume whole flax seeds, unless you are prepared to chew really well. Grind your flax seeds in a small cup blender or a coffee grinder right before you are going to use them. It’s better not to pre-grind a huge batch, but to grind them right before use.
- Whole flax seeds with last for several months in the fridge or freezer.
- Lastly, when flax seeds are turned into flaxseed oil, most of their nutrients and health benefits are lost. Make sure to buy only whole flax seeds.
9 Health Benefits of Flax Seeds
- Nutrient dense: Flax seeds have great amounts of: ALA (omega-3), iron, zinc, copper, calcium, protein, folate, fiber, potassium, boron (for bone health), which we get only in the whole flax seeds, rather than the flaxseed oil.
- Just 1 tablespoon of flax seeds has:
- 1.9 grams of fiber – great for digestion, and weight loss because it helps you feel fuller longer
- 1,594 mg of omega 3 fatty acids – amazing for healthy skin and hair as well as reducing heart disease and aiding weight loss
- 1.3 grams of protein
- Plenty of other vitamins and nutrients as mentioned above
- Just 1 tablespoon of flax seeds has:
- Brest cancer risk reduction: Eating just 1 tablespoon of ground flax a day lowers estrogen (therefore, decreasing risk for breast cancer)
- Packed with Lignans: Flax seeds have 800 times more Lignans (anti-oxidants) than any other food; why are Lignans important, you may ask? They have been shown to:
- Reduce the risk of hormone-associated cancers like breast, uterine, ovarian, and prostate
- Lower the risk for heart disease, as well as improve cholesterol, blood sugar, and control blood pressure
- Increase bone mineral density, which is great against osteoporosis
- Cancer cell death in prostate cancer: Flax seeds have also been shown to trigger significantly higher rates of cancer cell deaths in just a few weeks in prostate cancer patients; in fact, they have been found to work just as well as leading prostate cancer drugs!
- Healthier than chia seeds: Compared to chia seeds, flax seeds are better at raising omega 3’s, decreasing inflammation, and have way more lignans
- Improve insulin sensitivity: Flax seeds blunt sugar spikes following a meal, even for diabetics (this is thought to be due to their antioxidant content, and as a result, anti-inflammatory powers)
- Reduce constipation and improve digestive health: the ALA in flax seeds helps protect the lining of the digestive tract and reduce inflammation, which is critical for Crohn’s diseases sufferers. Because that contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, and plenty of magnesium – they feed your gut bacteria, and, well, make you poop!
- Blood pressure + the most potent anti-hypertension effects ever achieved by food alone: ok, so this one had to be mentioned separately just because of this one amazing study (double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized). Plus, having an SBP (systolic blood pressure) over 115 is the single most important determinant of death in the world today!
- Flax seeds helped drop the study participants’ SBP by 10 points, and DBP by 7 points, cutting stroke risk by 46% and heart disease 29%
- So these little golden seeds basically achieved an antihypertension effect that is one of the greatest ever shown to be caused by food, and comparable to many drugs (but without the side effects)
- Decrease menopausal symptoms in women: this study found that flax seeds worked better than Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) in decreasing menopausal symptoms and even reducing risk of osteoporosis, and also help maintain cycle regularity for women still getting their period
3 Uses of Flax Seeds: 3 Vegan, Delicious, and Easy Flax Seed Recipes
It’s very easy to incorporate a single tablespoon of ground flax daily using these 3 delicious and vegan ways. As I mentioned, when flax is mixed with other liquids, it becomes very slimy, so if you are new to flax consumption I encourage you to start with small amounts (1/2 tablespoon) and build up to find the point where the texture of the meal is perfect for you.
Also, because flax is sensitive to heat, I made sure to use it in raw recipes.
Easy, Delicious Use of Flax Seeds #1: Smoothies
A single tablespoon of ground flax seeds can easily be consumed via your morning or lunch smoothie. I add 1 tablespoon right to my Vitamix blender, and I don’t taste them at all. If you’re new to eating flax, start with 1/2 tablespoon. Also, if you’re not using a powerful blender that can break down the seeds, make sure to pre-grind them in a coffee grinder and then add them to your smoothie.
You can add your tablespoon of flax seeds to any of these smoothies, placing them at the bottom of the blender so that they don’t fly all over the place:
Or to any smoothie bowl. This is my favorite option because you get to eat your smoothie with a spoon, and the flax makes it a bit thicker, which is perfect for a smoothie bowl. I publish a ton of smoothie bowl recipes on my Instagram weekly.
Easy, Delicious Use of Flax Seeds #2: Bliss Balls
Bliss balls are small balls of sweetness made by processing a few ingredients in the food processor, then rolling them in your hands and making balls – they are similar to energy balls. This recipe is my favorite version, and it’s very simple!
- 20 dates (small, such as Deglet Nour)
- 1/2 cup dried mulberries (you can also use oats instead)
- A splash of pure alcohol-free vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp whole flax seeds
- Start by grinding your flax seeds in a coffee grinder or Magic Bullet blender
- Then, place your dates in the food processor and break them down
- Add your mulberries and vanilla to the dates, and process further, until the mixture starts to stick together
- Add the flax seeds and process further
- To form balls, take small amounts of the mixture between the palms of your hands, and roll is between your palms
- Peppermint flavor: A drop of pure peppermint extract
- Orange flavor: A 1/2 teaspoon of fresh orange zest
- Cinnamon flavor: A large pinch of cinnamon
Easy, Delicious Use of Flax Seeds #3: Raw Vegan Pates & Dressings
You can also include flax seeds in any raw vegan salad dressings, sauces, or pates. Just like in smoothies, you won’t feel them unless you include too much. Start with a small amount and build your way up to 1 tablespoon. The point is to love your food, not suffer!
This walnut pate is absolutely delicious, and I love putting it in my salads in place of dressing, putting it in sushi rolls, collard wraps, and anywhere savory really!
You can also add flax seeds in any of these: my 3 top favorite vegan sauces. If the recipe contains chia seeds, simply replace the chia with flax. If it does not, just add the ground flax seeds to the recipe. Delicious!
- 1 cup walnuts, soaked in filtered water overnight
- 2.5 cups chopped bell pepper (any color but green)
- 1 jalapeno (to decrease the spice level, remove all seeds and white pith)
- 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon coconut vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon tamari soy sauce
- 1/2 ccup sundried tomatoes (oil-free, dry in a package; if they ar eextremely dry place them in a bowl with the tamari, coconut and apple cider vinegar and let soak for about 1 hour)
- 1 tablespoon flax seeds
- Start by grinding the flax seeds in a coffee grinder
- Place the peppers and jalapeno in a food processor, and pulse a few times
- Remove the soaking water from the walnuts, and add them to the food processor, and then pulse a few times
- Add all other ingredients besides the flax and pulse again
- Finally, add the ground flax seeds and pulse one last time
- Use this recipe inside of any kind of wrap: lettuce wraps, collard wraps, and even sushi rolls.
Additional studies on Flax Seeds:
Studies on Flax Seeds, Summarized by Dr. Michael Greger:
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